Tearful Reunion For Biloela Family With Friend On Christmas Island
The first images of the Sri Lankan family in detention on Christmas Island have emerged, as a friend from their hometown of Biloela flew to the remote location to support them.
The Federal Court in Melbourne on Wednesday extended an injunction preventing the government from deporting Priya, Nadesalingam and their two Australian-born daughters Kopika, 4, and Tharunicaa, 2, until 4pm on Friday.
It was the second bit of good news the family, from Biloela in Queensland, received on Wednesday. Their friend Angela Fredericks flew from Australia to Christmas Island, where the family are now being held pending further legal action, to meet them and offer her support.
10 News First was on hand to capture the tearful reunion, as Fredericks and Priya embraced. Fredericks may have been the first friendly face the family have seen since they were bundled onto a plane late last Thursday.
"You are a wonderful friend," Priya told Fredericks.
The family are grateful that their case has been kept alive, but were overjoyed to see their friend so far from home.
Fredericks spent more than $3000 of her own money to get to the isolated Christmas Island, far closer to Indonesia than it is to Australia.
Speaking to 10 News First through friend Fredericks, Priya explained that the family is isolated and alone, with no other detainees with them and have "six to eight guards" watching their every move.
"All of the people saying prayers and giving blessings, I thank you so much," Priya said of the protests nationwide in support of their legal fight.
"There is so much love, we're very lucky."
"They work, they contribute and we want them there," Fredricks said of the family she hopes to see back in Biloela.
"We just want our friends back."
Lawyers for the family argued that Tharunicaa had never been considered for a visa. On Wednesday, the court heard the government had referred her case to Immigration Minister David Coleman, and that the girl failed a protection assessment on Tuesday night.
The court ruled that lawyers for the family should be given time to consider the surprise development.
"We're still in uncertain territory but the fight is not over here," lawyer Carina Ford said outside court.
"Decisions can be made quickly. It doesn't necessarily mean that the case is over. It just means potentially it's got to be run in a different way."
The family is being held on Christmas Island where they are expected to remain until the next court hearing.