Australia

Call to airlines to keep Qld family in Aus

Supporters of the Tamil family organised a rally after deportation notices were issued. Source: SBS News

A petition is calling on Australian airline Qantas and 11 others to not fly two Tamils and their two Australian-born children to Sri Lanka.

Australian airline Qantas and 11 other carriers are being petitioned to refuse to take two Tamils and their Australian-born children to their homeland in Sri Lanka.

Biloela resident and family friend Angela Fredricks has created an online petition for the flying kangaroo to refuse to take baby Tharunicaa, toddler Kopika and their Tamil parents Priya and Nadesalingam to Sri Lanka.

It comes as the federal government has ordered the family be deported.

"This week, the world was shocked by stories of children taken from their parents and flown far away. But President Trump backed down after major US airlines refused to participate in this terrible cruelty," Ms Fredricks says in the petition created on Sunday.

"Just like Qantas, three-year-old Kopika and one-year-old Tharunicaa are Queensland-born and bred. If (Home Affairs Minister Peter) Dutton will not listen to our little town, maybe Qantas and other airlines will."

The message was reiterated at a small candlelight rally held at Lions Park in Biloela on Sunday night, with Ms Fredricks saying it was likely they would be deported on Tuesday.

Tamils Priya and Nadesalingam and their two Australian-born children lost a bid to stop their deportation at the Federal Circuit Court on Thursday, but have 21 days to appeal.

The family was issued deportation notices on Friday - less than two days into the appeal period - and has been moved to a Melbourne immigration detention centre.

About 100 people had also gathered in Melbourne on Sunday afternoon in support of the family.

Home to Bilo campaign spokeswoman Simone Cameron told the Victorian crowd an urgent hearing was expected to be held on Monday and they hoped an injunction would be successful.

"If this injunction is successful it will stop the deportation of Priya and the girls. But Nades is still at risk," she said on Sunday in Melbourne.

"This is the story of a family and a town that loves them and wants them back.

"There is just one person who can write these wrongs, Minister Peter Dutton."

The couple came to Australia separately by boat in 2012 and 2013 and settled in Biloela, Queensland, before having their two children.

Nadesalingam was getting ready for work and the children were in bed when Australian Border Force officials came to the house at dawn on March 5, and gave them 10 minutes to pack.

A week later the family was taken to Perth Airport and put on a plane to deport them to Sri Lanka before a last-minute legal intervention saw them being taken off.

Another petition containing about 100,000 signatures calling for their right to stay was delivered in May to Mr Dutton.

Mr Dutton's office and Qantas have been contacted for comment.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch