Tamil Family Remains In Limbo As Court Extends Injunction Again
A Tamil family have been given another reprieve after their case was again delayed by the Federal Court.
Priya, Nadesalingam and their two Australian-born daughters Kopika, 4, and Tharunicaa, 2, are still no closer to knowing whether they will be deported after the Federal Court extended an injunction preventing the removal of the youngest daughter until September 18.
Lawyers for the family argued that Tharunicaa had never been considered for a visa, but on Wednesday the court heard that the government had referred her case to Immigration Minister David Coleman and that the girl failed a protection assessment on Tuesday night.
On Friday, the case was delayed again so lawyers could prepare and amend their case.
Speaking outside the court, Lawyer Carina Ford said it could take months for the matter to be finalised.
"It is really hard to predict," she said. "This has worked [faster] than most cases in this jurisdiction, so the parties are doing everything that they can but it still does take time".
The family has been held on Christmas Island for a week, pending a decision. It's not known whether they will be brought back to the mainland ahead of the next hearing.
"That is something we need to consider as a legal team," Ford said acknowledging that at the end of the day it is the minister's decision.
Priya briefly spoke to 10 News First in the wake of the delay explaining that she was "so happy" with today's events and would "stay strong," in the lead up to the upcoming court hearing.
"Thank you all of you and everyone back in Biloela," Priya said. "I'm so happy my kid's life is safe."
Priya's reaction was a welcomed relief for family friend Angela Fredericks who is on Christmas Island and has had a chance to spend time with the family.
Earlier in the day, she explained how "heartbroken" and "terrified" they were about the outcome.
"They're very sad, they're very fearful and are absolutely traumatised by everything," Fredericks told 10 News First.
Priya and Nadesalingam arrived by boat separately as asylum seekers in 2012 and 2013. The couple later married in Australia and had two children, now aged four and two.
The family moved to the regional Queensland town of Biloela where they remained for close to four years before they were bundled up in a pre-dawn raid in March 2018 and transported to Melbourne.
Despite the Biloela community pleading with the government to let them stay, the family remained in detention until August 29
They were put on a plane bound for Sri Lanka, but their deportation was halted mid-air after a Melbourne judge granted a last-minute injunction.
Their plane landed in Darwin and within a day the family were quietly moved to Christmas Island where they claim they are isolated and alone, except for six guards who check on them every two to three hours.
A GoFundMe campaign to help support the family if they are sent to Sri Lanka has attracted almost $70,000 in donations in under 24 hours.