Three members of the Murugappan family — father, Nades, mother, Priya and their oldest daughter, Kopika – have been granted a 12 month extension to temporary visas, enabling them to remain in Western Australia while they continue their pursuit for permanent asylum.
In a cruel twist however, the family’s youngest daughter Tharnicaa was not granted a visa, prohibiting the family from traveling back to visit their beloved community in Biloela, Queensland.
“It means that she’s under the community determination order, which effectively means that unless that changes they remain in [Western Australia] at the address designated,” The family’s lawyer, Carina Ford told ABC.
The family was likewise placed into community detention for two hours yesterday after their temporary bridging visas expired. During this time, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke could have intervened in the outcome.
The Biloela community who have lobbied for years to have the Nadesalingam family returned issued a statement saying they were “surprised” by Hawke’s decision.
“Australian law gives Minister Hawke the power to bring this sorry saga to a close with the stroke of a pen, by issuing the same visa to four-year-old Tharni that he has granted to her mum, dad and sister,” the statement said.
“Just like her sister Kopika, Tharnicaa was born in Queensland and that’s where she and her family belong,” family friend Angela Fredericks said.
However, Ford said she felt relieved that the visas were reinstated ahead of Christmas.
“I was concerned about the visas expiring just before Christmas, particularly for my clients, the concept of having to deal with that just before Christmas is very daunting,” she said.
“There’s no doubt today brings a sense of relief for us all who have worked on the campaign.
“It doesn’t mean that it’s over but it’s at least a promising sign that consideration is at least being given to their case that’s before the minister now.”
Nades and Priya Murugappan still have two cases being reviewed by the court regarding permanent visas and citizenship for their two daughters.
The campaign to bring the family home to Bioela continues. You can lobby relevant MPs through the Home to Bilo website or donate to the family’s petition.