Murugappan family win court case on bridging visas

Murugappan family win court case on bridging visas

Is this compassion? The Biloela family reunited in Perth

The Murugappan family from Biloela has won a court challenge against federal Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to bar them from reapplying for bridging visas.

The Federal Circuit Court ruling determined the decision was “procedurally unfair” and means three members of the family will be able to reapply for new bridging visas.

Priya, Nades and daughter Kopika currently have bridging visas that are due to expire later this year, but four-year-old Tharnicaa has not been granted one, meaning the family has remained in detention in Western Australia.

According to the family’s lawyer, Carina Ford, Priya, Nades and Kopika can now reapply for new bridging visas. But an advocacy group in support of the family’s plight, called Home to Bilo, said while “Morrison’s Ministers hold 4-year-old Tharnicaa in ‘community detention’ her family can’t get #hometobilo.”

Last year, Tharnicaa was evacuated from Christmas Island for medical treatment in Western Australia when she suffered a blood infection caused by untreated pneumonia in detention.

Simone Cameron, a friend of the family, said: “This is not the first time that the courts have found that a decision by one of Scott Morrison’s Ministers was made in an unfair way”.

“But the reality is that Australia’s immigration laws have given Mr Morrison’s Ministers almost unlimited power to intervene in people’s lives, by giving or taking away the right to stay in Australia.

“After everything Mr Morrison’s Ministers have put this family through, holding Tharni in ‘community detention’ when her mum, dad and sister are technically free to travel to Biloela is a strange way to exercise those powers.”

Kristina Keneally, Labor’s shadow minister for home affairs, said Labor welcomed the Federal Circuit Court’s ruling.

“As has always been the case, the Immigration Minister could bring this whole sorry saga to an end with the stroke of a pen and allow the family to return #hometobilo,” she tweeted on Monday.

Priya and Nades married in Australia after fleeing civil war in Sri Lanka. The family lived in Biloela in Queensland until 2014. They were detained in 2018 after a dawn raid at their home. Kopika and Tharnicaa were both born in Australia.

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