STILL DETAINED: Nades Murugappan, wife Priya and children Kopika and Tharunicaa have had a small win in court today, but it doesn’t appear they’ll be coming home any time soon. Photo: File
STILL DETAINED: Nades Murugappan, wife Priya and children Kopika and Tharunicaa have had a small win in court today, but it doesn’t appear they’ll be coming home any time soon. Photo: File

Tamil family “one step closer” to coming home

A BILOELA family fighting to stay in Australia has had a small win in court today, but it doesn't appear they'll be coming home any time soon.

Priya and Nades Murugappan and their Biloela-born daughters Kopika and Tharunicaa, nearly five and nearly three, have spent more than two years in detention fighting their deportation to Sri Lanka.

Family friend and campaigner Angela Fredericks said today's news was a massive victory for the family who were feeling "tremendous relief" after the decision.

Federal Court Justice Mark Moshinsky today ruled Immigration Minister David Coleman took procedural steps that required them to make a decision on granting a visa to the youngest child.

The court ruled the family was not given procedural fairness in making a visa application.

The family has been on Christmas Island since August 2019 after an order halted their deportation to Sri Lanka.

They and their supporters have been waiting for Justice Moshinsky to hand down his decision following a two-day hearing in February.

"This has been quite a massive victory, the fact that it's been recognised that there has been injustice, it's great," Ms Fredericks told the Central Telegraph today.

"It brings the family a bit closer to Biloela, where they belong."

Kopika (right) and Tharunicaa, the daughters of the Biloela Tamil family at the detention centre on Christmas Island. Photo: File
Kopika (right) and Tharunicaa, the daughters of the Biloela Tamil family at the detention centre on Christmas Island. Photo: File

Despite the small win, Ms Fredericks said the family had been doing it especially tough since the onset of coronavirus, which forced them into their rooms.

"The girls used to be allowed to go to the recreation centre, but they don't get that outing anymore," she said.

"You can hear the flatness in their tones, they are struggling but they continue to fight."

Lawyers now have seven days to tell the Federal Court what should happen next and the family will stay in detention on Christmas Island while the process plays out.

Tamil Refugee Council spokesman Aran Mylvaganam said the decision was a significant win for the family, and meant they were one step further from deportation.

"At this point for this family it's a small victory, it gives them hope," he said.

"They're very hopeful they'll go back to Biloela."

Tharunicaa, who turns three next month, would have spent more than two thirds of her life in detention.

"It's not good for their mental health," Mr Mylvaganam said.

"So many Australians want this family to stay.

"We hope the Prime Minister makes the decision to let this family stay here.

"It's in their hands at the moment and they can make this really easy by letting them out into the community."

He said the situation for Tamils in Sri Lanka had also become worse with the election of a new president.



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