A family of Tamil asylum seekers marked for deportation has secured a significant legal victory, with a Federal Court judge finding the Government did not act with “procedural fairness” regarding their youngest daughter’s plea for asylum.
ABC reports Federal Court Justice Mark Moshinsky today partially ruled in favour of parents Nades and Priya, along with their young daughters Kopika and Tharunicaa, whose deportation to Sri Lanka was put on hold by the court proceedings.
It’s a boost for the family, who arrived to Australia by boat and came to call the Queensland town of Biloela their new home.
But it’s not the end of the story for the family, who remain in detention on Christmas Island after the Government’s stalled deportation attempt.
The case played out like this: after the Federal Government found Nades, Priya, and Kopika were ineligble for protection by Australia, the family’s lawyers argued authorities didn’t properly handle two-year-old Tharunicaa’s claim.
Justice Moshinsky struck down the argument that Tharunicaa technically had the right to apply for a visa in 2019.
But he found that Immigration Minister David Coleman had ordered a departmental brief on the family’s case — a brief which included the option for Coleman to utilise ministerial powers “to enable them to apply for protection visas” anyway.
Coleman did not make a decision regarding that option. Justice Moshinsky said that whole process “affected the applicant’s interests” and that Tharunicaa “was not afforded procedural fairness” when that option was being considered.
Both parties have a week to come to an agreement that Tharunicaa’s case wasn’t afforded procedural fairness, or 14 days to file submissions if they can’t come to an agreement.
The injunction on the family’s deportation will continue until final orders are rubber-stamped.
It’s not a guarantee that the family will be permitted a return to Biloela by any means, but supporters of the family, including Shadow Home Affairs Minister Kristina Keneally, have called on Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to use his ministerial powers to let them stay.