A young family of Tamil Asylum Seekers have lost their appeal against deportation, prompting supporters to call on home affairs minister Peter Dutton to intervene in their case.
Nadesalingam and Priya, and their Australian-born daughters, a two-year-old and a nine-month-old , have been in a Melbourne Detention Centre for 108 days after they were taken from their home in Biloela in central Queensland.
Nadesalingam’s application for protection had been rejected by Australian authorities, and his appeals extinguished. But the federal circuit court was considering whether Priya’s plea for protection should be reexamined by the immigration assessment authority.
At a hearing in Melbourne on Thursday, Judge Caroline Kirton rejected Priya’s bid to stay and the family now has 21 days to lodge an appeal with the federal court.
Speaking outside the court, family friend Simone Cameron said it was time for Mr Dutton to step in.
“What this family needs right now is some intervention from Mr Dutton,” she said.
“Mr Dutton has immense power that’s given to him under the migration act. He can step in at any time. I reckon today’s a good day for him to step in.”
The family have lived in Biloela for four years and are well regarded by the close-knit community. On 5 March, one day after Priya’s bridging visa expired, Australian Border Force officers visited Bilo and took them 1,500km from Queensland to a detention centre in Melbourne.
Priya arrived in Australia in 2013 and her husband in 2012 and they met and married in Australia. Their daughters have never left the country.
Although Priya’s bridging visa was expiring, she has told advocates she had been in contact with the department about having it renewed, also having been told she would be sent a new visa.
She claimed that her case could not have been assessed properly because the IAA did not have a complete copy of the audio from her interview with immigration authorities. She also claimed that her responses in the interview had not been accurately translated by an interpreter.
Cameron said she had seen the family in detention this week and they were “very nervous, very overwrought with the length of time that they’ve been detained and the negative impacts that’s having on their children”.
A petition in support of the family now has 103,000.
“Outside of the very complicated legal jargon this is actually just a story of a man, his wife and their two Australian-born daughters and a little country town in central Queensland that wants them back .”