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Deportation Of Tamil Family Delayed Until Next Wednesday

A Tamil family in Australia facing imminent deportation to Sri Lanka have been granted a reprieve until next Wednesday.

Priya, her husband Nades and their two Australian-born daughters Kopika, 4, and Tharunicaa, 2, had their deportation halted in mid-air on Thursday night after a Melbourne judge granted a last-minute injunction.

Their plane was forced to land in Darwin ahead of a Federal Circuit Court hearing.

Angel Aleksov, who represents the family, asked Justice Mordecai Bromberg on Friday to extend the injunction so they could make a further application to stay.

It was granted, allowing the Tamil family to stay in Australia until at least September 4 -- next Wednesday.

The injunction only applies to two-year-old Tharunicaa, meaning her parents and older sister could technically be deported at any time. However, advocates are confident the federal government won't force the other family members out of the country without her.

Large crowds gathered at the airport in Victoria last night, calling for the family not to be deported, while demonstrators have gathered in Melbourne, Sydney and Darwin following the Judge's decision.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the family needs to "accept that they are not refugees, they're not owed protection by our country."

Speaking to Nine's Today program, Dutton add: "They came here by boat and we've been very clear that they wouldn't stay."

However, key Labor and Greens figures are urging for the government to"show compassion" and allow the family to stay.

Shadow Home Affairs minister Kristina Keneally appealed to Prime Minister Scott Morrison's religion.

"The Prime Minister is a father and I appeal to him as a parent and as a Christian to look into his heart and decide what the generous Christian response here is," Keneally told reports on Friday morning.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said it was "well past time for Scott Morrison to show some compassion and decency" towards the family.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young urged the PM to "offer compassion and grace" to the family.

"He can save them from being deported," she said on Twitter. "The two children must be so scared. It does not harm to allow them [to] stay so they can get on with school and being young healthy kids."

The family was reportedly separated on the flight from Melbourne to Darwin on Thursday night, despite their two-year-old child Tharunicaa being highly distressed. It is also being reported that Priya was injured when being put on to the flight.

Both Nades and Priya fled from Sri Lanka in the civil war and arrived in Australia by boat, separately in 2012 and 2013. The couple later married in Australia and had two children, now aged four and two.

Photo: Bring Priya, Nades and their girls home to Biloela via Facebook

The family moved to Biloela, central Queensland for several years but were bundled up in a pre-dawn raid in March 2018 after Priya's bridging visa expired, and were transported to Melbourne.

They have been in detention ever since, despite the Biloela community pleading with the government to let them stay, and in May their High Court bid to avoid being deported failed.

The family is currently reunited in Darwin, said to be traumatised but relieved to still be in the country. They await their fate, handed down next Wednesday.

Contact the author: kahill@networkten.com.au