Supporters thankful for Biloela family's last-minute relief
FRIENDS of the Tamil family facing deportation are holding onto hope they can return to Biloela, after two-year-old Tharunicaa was granted a last minute injunction today.
The injunction notice delays the deportation of Tharunicaa until Wednesday, however it is uncertain what this means for her parents Priya and Nades and four-year-old sister Kopika.
Last night the family was loaded onto a plane in Melbourne, bound for Sri Lanka, but the plane was forced to land in Darwin after the injunction was granted by Federal Circuit Judge Heather Riley.
The family has been in a Melbourne detention centre since March 2018, after being taken from their homei n Biloela, in Queensland, during a pre-dawn raid, one day after Priya's bridging visa expired.
Family friend and Biloela resident Angela Fredericks said now the family could have their case "fully heard".
"Today we've been given a reprieve, which is amazing," Ms Fredericks said.
"This gives the lawyers time to put together the case to see if we can get through to court again.
"More though it gives us time as a nation to actually make our voices heard and make it known that we want this family to stay."
Marie Austin of Biloela who has known the family for a few years said she still found it hard to believe the ordeal had gone on for so long.
"As a friend I was devastated (in March last year) but I never thought in a million years that 18 months later that we'd still be in this position of fighting for this family when so easily it could be brought to an end," Ms Austin said.
"But we have to put hope in a legal system that may listen to the story properly.
"This is the chance to have it all laid out on the table, have their case looked at properly and hopefully somebody out there is going to give them a chance."
Ms Fredericks said they were uncertain of what the injunction meant for the rest of the family, given the document only contains Tharunicaa's name.
"We would hope that our government wouldn't separate a two-year-old from her family, however just the barbaric nature of what I've witnessed last night, it scares me not knowing what this government is capable of," Ms Fredericks said.
Ms Fredericks said the lawyers would present information not considered by the courts in the family's previous asylum applications.
"Tharunicaa in her own right has an asylum claim," Ms Fredericks said.
"So just the fact that her parents are Tamil's, her father did have ties in the civil war and the fact that since this case has been heard this family has become the face for Sri Lankan asylum seekers.
"So they're now seen as the enemy over there."
Ms Fredericks urged the public to pick up the phone and make their voices heard.
She said supporters should call the offices of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Immigration Minister David Coleman and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.
"They're being inundated and I can tell you it makes a difference," Ms Fredericks said.