Tamil Family Braces For Final Court Decision
A Tamil family due to be deported from Australia by the end of the day are desperately hoping their latest legal bout will help them remain in the country.
The Federal Court will on Friday continue hearing the case of two-year-old Tharunicaa, who is currently detained on Christmas Island with her parents Priya and Nadesalingam and four-year-old sister Kopika.
A succession of courts, including the High Court, have previously found the parents and the eldest child are not refugees and do not qualify for Australia's protection.
The family's legal action is now focused on Tharunicaa's right to apply for a refugee visa, amid claims she will be subjected to "serious harm" if she was sent to Sri Lanka.
Priya and Nadesalingam had settled in the Queensland community of Biloela, where they had their two children, after arriving separately by boat in 2012 and 2013.
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.
Federal Court Justice Mordy Bromberg on Wednesday ordered the federal government not to deport the asylum seekers to Sri Lanka until 4pm on Friday, so it had more time to consider Tharunicaa's case.
The family's lawyer Carina Ford says the judge or minister's lawyers may still want more time on Friday, in which case her team would push for another delay to the deportation.
"It may not be concluded...I guess we wait and see," she told AAP.
A friend of the family, Angela Fredericks, who has gone to Christmas Island to support them, said they are "very apprehensive" about what the day will bring.
At the time of their last hearing on Wednesday, 10 guards showed up prepared to help see the family out of the country and a plane is at the ready, she said. But Priya and Nadesalingam are not giving up hope.
"[They're] just forever hopeful that a miracle might happen," Ms Fredericks told AAP.
The family's supporters are also concerned they will be stung with a heavy financial burden if their bid to stay in Australia falls short, as they would be forced to pay their deportation and court costs.
Ms Fredericks has set up a campaign on crowd-funding platform GoFundMe to raise $300,000, with people donating more than $66,000.
Despite widespread support for the family to be allowed to remain in Australia, the Morrison government has refused to intervene.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday that he would accept the court's decision, but again pointed to previous court rulings that found "there is no asylum claim here".
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said the government should intervene on the basis that Nades worked at the Biloela meatworks - a business that couldn't source enough local workers to operate.
Nades fears his links to Hindu Tamil Tigers insurgents, who battled Sri Lanka's majority Buddhist government during the war, means he could face persecution if he goes back.
But the federal government says Nades has been back to Sri Lanka several times and that undermines his claim he faces a dangerous situation.
The government is fighting Tharunicaa's claim for protection, saying it's "futile".