Biloela Tamil asylum seekers family returns to town after election results

Supporters of a central Tamil family for asylum seekers in Queensland say they hope the family is just weeks away from returning home.

Labor promised during the campaign that if it won the election, the Nadesalingam family would be allowed to return to Biloela.

Family friend Angela Fredericks said there was “so much relief” among Home2Bilo campaigners after Labor’s victory.

“I honestly don’t think I can find the words to explain it,” said Ms. Fredericks.

“There is so much excitement, so much relief and exuberance. It’s all been worth it.

Just over four years ago, the Nadesalingam family, also known as the Murugappan family, were removed from their home in Biloela by immigration officials after Priya’s visa expired and Nadesalingam’s application for refugee status was rejected by the government.

Priya, Tharnicaa and Kopika are video calling friends in Biloela as the election results came in on Saturday night. Delivered

Priya and Nades came to Australia separately by boat in 2012 and 2013 after fleeing torn Sri Lanka and are considered “irregular maritime arrivals” under the Migration Act.

They were granted temporary protection visas and settled in Biloela, where they married in 2015 and had their first child, Kopika. Their second daughter Tharnicaa was born in 2017.

In 2018 they were taken to immigration detention in Melbourne and in August 2019 a nightly warrant prevented the family from being deported from Australia.

Two little girls watch the election results on a TV.
Kopika and Tharnicaa watch the election coverage.Delivered

They were instead taken to Christmas Island and are now in community detention in Perth.

The family is in a lengthy legal battle to stay in Australia and won a legal victory earlier this year when the Federal Circuit Court’s decision to prevent three members of the family from applying for further bridging visas was “procedurally unfair”. .

A silhouette of a woman wearing pants and a top standing on a path of a suburban street at dusk
Angela Fredericks has led the Home to Biloela campaign to support her friends.Australian Story: Marc Smith

Ms. Fredericks said that Priya was aware of the election results, but Nades worked overnight and not.

“Priya is just so excited,” she said.

“She said earlier in the evening that she was just praying and crying and putting everything into this.

During the campaign, Anthony Albanese said Labor would allow the family to return to Biloela, but the coalition did not.

“No protection is owed,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said last week.

“No refugees have been found. Therefore, Australian rules do not allow permanent visas for people who have not been identified as refugees.”

A man smiles at the camera
Matt Burnett says that because of his party’s victory at the national level, the Nadesalingam family will come home to Biloela. ABC Capricornia: Tobi Loftus

On Saturday night, Labor’s (probably unsuccessful) candidate for Flynn, Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett, used a speech to revelers to tell them that returning the family to Biloela was “the most important” step the new government would make.

He said that even if Labor did not form a majority government, the so-called Teal Independents also supported the family returning to Biloela.

“We’re going to take the Murugappan family to Biloela,” Burnett said.

Hope to return in the coming weeks

Ms. Fredericks said it would be “a dream come true” for the family to be on a plane home next weekend.

“But we understand that we have to be patient before ministers are notified,” she said.

“Knowing that the light we’ve been waiting for is there, we’re all at peace.”

She said she knew exactly what she would do with the family if they returned to Biloela.

“I absolutely promised the girls that we will go to the park,” said Ms. Fredericks.

“That’s going to be one of the priorities. And honestly, it’s going to be a lot of hugging and reconnecting.

“There are a lot of people here who haven’t seen them in four years.”

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Full Victory Speech New Prime Minister Anthony Albanese

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