Biloela family

8 December 2020

Senator GRIFF (South Australia) (17:14): I inform the chamber that Senators McKim, Keneally and McCarthy will also sponsor this motion. I, and also on behalf of Senators McKim, Keneally and McCarthy, move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) asylum seekers Priya and Nades and their Australian-born daughters Kopika and Tharunicaa were forcibly removed from their community in Biloela, in regional Queensland, in March 2018,

(ii) the family was initially placed in detention in Melbourne but was flown to Christmas Island in August 2019 after moves to deport them to Sri Lanka were interrupted by a last-minute injunction,

(iii) despite continued calls from members of the Biloela community for the family to be returned to the regional town, Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram told Estimates in October 2020 that the family was being held on Christmas island for their 'safety, welfare and wellbeing',

(iv) three of the Tamil family have had their claims for asylum denied, and the family is awaiting the outcome for their three year old daughter Tharunicaa's protection claim, and

(v) the family has spent more than 1000 days in detention, including two Christmases on Christmas Island, separated from their supporters and their friends in Biloela; and

(b) calls on the Government to return the family to Biloela for Christmas, a place where they have consistent and committed community support and can live among friends while Tharunicaa's case is finalised.

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