Tamil family's last ditch bid

R. VenuGopal, Bharat Times

Melbourne, 30 September: A Tamil family of Sri Lankan descent – comprising of the husband Nadesalingam, wife priya and their two Australian born daughters, who were being deported back to Sri Lanka – have won a five day stay on their deportation while their lawyers make a fresh application for their stay in Australia.

A duty judge granted the injunction via phone while the family was put on a plane to Sri Lanka from Melbourne airport and the plane was midair.

Another Federal Court judge then heard the lawyers for the family the next morning and granted an extended injunction preventing the deportation of a Tamil family from Darwin to Sri Lanka until after another court hearing in five days’ time.

The lawyer Angel Aleksov, representing the family, asked the Federal court Justice Bromberg to extend the injunction so they could make a further application for Priya, Nades and their Australian-born daughters Kopika, 4 and Tharunicaa, 2, to remain in Australia.

The application to the court was made on behalf of two-year-old Tharunicca. BT understands, the family – who fought all the way to the Australian high court had their applications rejected as being judged as not genuine refugees. But that paperwork did not cover the two year old daughter Tharunicca. Hence the fresh bid for the family to try and stay, now on behalf of two years old Thirunicca.

There has been a request on her behalf to Immigration Minister David Coleman for permission to make a visa application.

“But Mr Aleksov said there has been no assessment by any Australian official about whether she is owed protection by the federal government.

Failure by the department to refer this question to the minister for an answer is “unreasonable in a legal sense”, The New Daily quoted him saying.

Christopher Tran, representing the immigration department and minister David Coleman, did not oppose the extension.

“The application on its face is hopeless,” he said.

Lawyer working with the family, told ABC News Breakfast the team filed the application on behalf of the youngest child.

“The main argument that we have been trying to run is that whilst, yes, the majority of the family have had their claims assessed, the youngest child hasn’t,”  she said.

How different is the case of the youngest daughter from their elder daughter who has had her case assessed as per the family lawyer?

It will be an interesting legal argument to support the protection claim of the younger daughter when they failed to establish that the older daughter deserved protection or had her claim rejected.

Family is pinning their hopes on this last ditch effort by the lawyers. They fear persecution if they return to Sri Lanka, where Tamils are an ethnic minority.

When the family was removed from the plane in Darwin, they were put up in Mercure Hotel outside Darwin but later shifted to Christmas Island.

Holding firm, the Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton told Nine’s Today Show the family must accept they don’t deserve Australia’s protection.

“I would like the family to accept that they are not refugees, they’re not owed protection by our country,” he said.

He confirmed the couple was told before they had children that they’d never be allowed to settle in Australia. No court or tribunal had ever supported their case to stay. Even High Court has rejected their claim of being refugees.

“They came here by boat and we’ve been very clear that they wouldn’t stay.”

Attorney-General Christian Porter accepted the Queensland town of Biloela, where the family lived (before being put in immigration detention), wanted them to stay but that wasn’t the primary issue.

“The goodness of people is one consideration,” he told Sydney radio 2GB.

“The method of how people come to Australia, and whether they actually meet the criteria for a protection visa, is another one and a more complicated matter.

The case is coming up in the Federal Court next week.

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