Australia

'The Tamil family are not refugees': Biloela MP says a decision can't come soon enough

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The local Biloela MP, Ken O'Dowd, has weighed in on the pending decision of a Tamil family facing deportation.

A decision on whether a Tamil family will be forced to leave Australia has been delayed until Friday after the Federal Court extended an injunction protecting two-year-old Tharunicaa from deportation

And according to the local MP, Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd, it is "time the final decision be made". 

"This is a very complex issue and the longer this goes on the more it tears the community apart," he said.

"I believe everybody is entitled to a fair hearing and this has gone on for far too long.

The family's fate will be considered at a court hearing in Melbourne on Friday.
The family's fate will be considered at a court hearing in Melbourne on Friday.
Supplied

"The family has been through enough trauma and it is about time the final decision be made.

"The Australian taxpayer has paid millions of dollars for multiple court cases and tribunals and our highest court has ruled that under the Refugee and Humanitarian program, the Tamil family are not refugees."

Priya and Nades and their two Australian-born daughters Kopika, 4, and Tharunicaa, 2, are in detention on Christmas Island while the matter is decided before the court and will not return to Sri Lanka before 4pm on Friday when the injunction runs out.

"I was first contacted by the residents of Biloela regarding the family. I have never been contacted by the family or their legal team," Mr O'Dowd said.

"Over the last few years, I have been making representation to the ministers on behalf of the family, and they are aware of my position on this.

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"I have been receiving many calls to my office regarding the family for years and it has obviously increased in the last few days. There has been a mixed reaction coming from my constituents."

The Melbourne Federal Court ruled on Wednesday that lawyers for the family should have time to consider a surprise development from Immigration Minister David Coleman, who last night determined he would not be exercising his ministerial discretion to allow the two-year-old daughter to remain in Australia.

A succession of courts, including the High Court, have found the parents and the eldest child are not refugees and do not qualify for Australia's protection.

"I have made the views to my constituents very clear to ministers [Dutton and Coleman]," Mr O'Dowd said.

"This is now an operational matter and before the courts, it is difficult for me to comment any further."

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