Peter Dutton says Tamil family seeking asylum are not 'owed protection'

Peter Dutton claims Tamil family seeking Australian asylum are not ‘owed protection’

A last minute injunction to stop deportation has been granted to a Tamil family seeking asylum in Australia after living in the country for several years. Their fate will now be decided by an urgent court hearing in Melbourne this morning with hundreds of Australians gathering in support of the family.

Priya and her husband Nadesalingam moved to the Queensland town of Biloela four years ago under a temporary bridging visa. The couple worked and were embraced by the close-knit community, giving birth to two Australian-born daughters during their time here.

But in March 2018, the family was forcibly removed from their home and taken to a Melbourne detention centre where they have remained for the past 17 months.

On Thursday evening, following government orders to finalise their deportation, the family was forcefully loaded onto a plane at Tullamarine airport intended to take them back to their native Sri Lanka.

Soon after however, the plane landed in Darwin with the family removed and given accommodation while their trial pends.

“They’re pretty traumatised as you can imagine but also very relieved to be still here,” former Biloela resident and a friend of the family’s Simone Cameron told AAP.

The social media campaign #HomeToBilo has been running for the past two years with supporters encouraging the federal government to grant the family reprieve.

This morning on Channel Nine, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton claimed the family were undeserving of the public outcry, and were not “owed protection” by Australia.

“I would like the family to accept that they are not refugees, they’re not owed protection by our country,” he said.

“They came here by boat and we’ve been very clear that they wouldn’t stay.”

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