A Last-Minute Injunction Has Saved Biloela’s Asylum Seeker Family From Deportation Mid-Flight

Snap rallies are scheduled for Sydney and Melbourne this morning.

Biloela Tamil family

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A last-minute injunction from a federal judge has temporarily saved a Tamil asylum seeker family from deportation just hours after they were forced onto a late-night plane to Sri Lanka.

Priya, Nades and their two young daughters Kopika and Tharunicaa were bundled onto a non-commercial flight at Melbourne airport late on Thursday night, only to be removed from the plane in Darwin after lawyers secured an interim injunction preventing their removal until midday today. A hearing is scheduled for the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne at 10am.

“They’re pretty traumatised, as you can imagine, but also very relieved to be still here,” one of the family’s supporters told the Australian Associated Press.

Priya and Nades arrived in Australia separately by boat in 2012 and 2013. Both their daughters were born in Australia. They’ve been held in immigration detention since March last year following a dawn raid on their home in Biloela, Queensland by Border Force officers the day after their bridging visa expired.

Earlier this year the family lost their bid to have their case reviewed by the High Court. Advocates have been calling on Immigration Minister David Coleman to personally intervene in the case, but his boss, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, told Channel Nine this morning that the family was “not owed protection by our country” — despite the fact that the family fears they will be persecuted if they return to Sri Lanka.

The Biloela community has been campaigning tireless on behalf of the family, with around 50 supporters rallying at Melbourne airport last night in an attempt to prevent the plane to Sri Lanka from taking off. There are snap rallies scheduled for 10am this morning outside David Coleman’s office in Sydney and Flagstaff Gardens in Melbourne. Social media has also been flooded with support for the family, with #hometobilo, #Biloela and #letthemstay all trending on Twitter.