Former Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce has called out the Federal Government for its treatment of Australian-born Bileola Tamil young girls, Tharnicaa and Kopika Murugappan. And look, coming from the man who once threatened to imprison Johnny Depp for ten years just for sneaking his dogs into the country, this says A Lot.
Speaking to Channel 7, via The Australian, Joyce said that the girls, who were born in Queensland but have been detained by the government in a detention facility on Christmas Island, have “some sort of right to stay here.”
But, more interestingly, he called out the government for its hypocrisy, saying: “Tharnicaa and Kopika were born in Australia. Now, maybe if their names were Jane and Sally and they were playing in their local netball side, we’d think twice about sending them back to another country which they’re not from.
“Tharnicaa and Kopika didn’t buy this ticket and I think it’s incumbent upon us, despite what the allegations may be against their parents, who actually work here, who actually had a job.
“In regional Australia, we need people who have jobs. These people should be staying here.”
In case you missed it, Priya and Nades Murugappan fled Sri Lanka in fear of being persecuted during the Civil War, where ethnic Tamil people were being harrassed and detained by Sri Lankan authorities. That led them here to Australia, where they set up a family and had two children, Tharnicaa and Kopika.
But, after their temporary visa expired in 2018 and their request to seek asylum was rejected (twice), despite y’know seeking legitimate asylum for risk of being persecuted, Homes Affair Minister and egghead Peter Dutton decided to detain them in a detention facility.
Instead of being free from oppression, Priya, Nades, Tharnicaa, and Kopika have been separated from Australian society and proper medical facilities. Last week, Tharnicaa, who is three years old, was rushed to a Perth hospital after feeling severely unwell for ten whole days.
Like Joyce, Liberal MPs Katie Allen, Trent Zimmerman, Jason Falinski, Bridget Archer, and Nationals MP Ken O’Dowd have all called for the government to reconsider their treatment of the Biloela family. Again, if a bunch of Liberals are saying this, you know shit is bad.
In response to the resounding call to “bring them home”, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the Federal Government is looking into options for the family, although it is unclear whether that means allowing them to permanently resettle in Australia.