Immigration

Tense wait for Biloela Tamil family ahead of 'full and final' deportation hearing

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A Tamil family desperate to remain in Australia won't be kicked out of the country for now, after the Federal Court gave them more time for their legal fight.

A Tamil family fighting to stay in Australia have woken up in the nation again, after the Federal Court ruled they could stay at least another 12 days.

The family, who settled in the Queensland town of Biloela before being taken into detention, could have been deported on Friday afternoon, but an injunction now prevents that until 18 September.

Priya and Nadesalingam and their two children were happily living in Biloela in central Queensland.
Priya and Nadesalingam and their two children were happily living in Biloela in central Queensland.
Supplied

Justice Mordy Bromberg made a ruling in Melbourne on Friday restraining the government from forcibly removing the family - who are detained on Christmas Island - until an interlocutory hearing.

The family could remain in detention for months if the matter goes to a "full and final hearing" after 18 September, for which a date has not yet been set.

Their legal case hinges on two-year-old Tharunicaa Murugappan and her right to apply for a protection visa, amid claims she would be subjected to "serious harm" in Sri Lanka.

Supporter's of the Biloela Tamil asylum seeker family gather outside of the Federal Court in Melbourne, Wednesday, September 4,
Supporter's of the Biloela Tamil asylum seeker family gather outside of the Federal Court in Melbourne, Wednesday, September 4, 2019.
AAP

Despite being Australian-born, Tharunicaa has been deemed an "unauthorised maritime arrival" under the Migration Act, which stipulates children of asylum seekers who arrive in the country by boat cannot apply for a visa.

A succession of courts have ruled her parents Priya and Nades and four-year-old sister Kopika are not refugees and do not qualify for Australia's protection.

Speaking outside court, the family's lawyer Carina Ford said there was still hope an agreement could be reached, preferably without the family being sent back to Sri Lanka to apply for visas.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has ruled out using his discretionary powers to allow the family to stay, claiming "the boats will restart" if he does.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.
AAP

His government this week revealed the boats never stopped coming, with six fleeing Sri Lanka in recent months.

Labor Senator Kristina Keneally says Mr Dutton has used his discretionary powers more than 4000 times.

"This government doesn't hesitate to use its discretion ... when it suits them," she said.

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