News

PM urged to help keep girls here

The girls' mum (left) meets with Federal MP Alex Somlyay.
The girls' mum (left) meets with Federal MP Alex Somlyay. Brett Wortman

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has been asked to intervene and help the four missing Sunshine Coast girls fighting to stay in Australia.

Federal MP Alex Somlyay's has written to Ms Gillard early this morning requesting her involvement in the ongoing saga.

The girl's mother and their two aunts were in Mr Somlyay's office when he sent the letter to Ms Gillard's office.

"We are asking for her intervention as soon as possible," one aunt said.

 In his letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Somlyay said he believed "there are more questions than answers with regard to the court process".

"Laura was at the mercy of the courts when her legal team didn't turn up and because they were representing her on a pro bono basis and on the day in question, she was told that paid work would have to take priority."

He asked Ms Gillard to intervene "as a matter of urgency" and put a stop on the childrens' passport while this matter "can be examined by suitably qualified legal representatives of the Commonwealth Government".

Mr Somlyay said this was the "most unjust situation I have seen in my 23 years in Federal Parliament".

He said he would send a copy of the correspondence to Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott and Shadow Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop.

A warrant has been issued for the four children who are facing deportation to Italy.

The children, aged from nine to 15, were taken by their aunt from their Maroochydore schools around 11am yesterday.

The alert was raised when the children were not handed over to a scheduled meeting with the Department of Communities in Chermside at 3pm.

The mother of the children told the Daily last night she had "no idea" where her children were.

She went with another aunt to Federal MP Alex Somlyay's office last night in an 11th hour bid to stop the deportation of her four children to their father in Italy.

The aunt said the family had been forced into "desperate measures" in a bid to keep the children in Australia.

The mother was informed at 11am she would have to hand over her children to the Department of Communities at 3pm, 32 hours ahead of their original deadline.

"They told me they had brought it forward because of all the media attention," she said.

The mother was initially advised by her Brisbane lawyer she could refuse to hand the children over.

This changed when she received a phone call from her lawyer saying the Department of Communities had obtained a warrant.

The mother said she was told the "full force of the police is now looking for my children".

It was understood late last night the children were still missing, but were now in the care of their great-grandmother, Caryl Highton.

Mr Somlyay said the move would be unlikely to prevent the father - who is understood to be in Australia - from taking the children back to Italy with him.

"It is hard to fight the court decision at this stage," he said.

A catholic priest has called for the overhaul of the Family Court system so children get to have a fair say.

Father Joe Duffy of Maroochydore's Stella Maris Parish said if the court had listened to the four children at the centre of an international custody dispute, they would not be forced to return to Italy.

Two of the children attend Stella Maris Catholic School.

Father Duffy searched online and found the Family Court judgement which dismissed the mother's appeal for the children to stay in Australia.

Topics:  alex somlyay, child custody, deportation, italy, julia gillard, police, warrant



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