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Lawyers, friends vow to fight for Tamil family to return to Biloela

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Friends of a Tamil family who once called Biloela home say they will exhaust every legal option to help them seek asylum in Australia. 

Tamil-born Priya and Nades Murugappan and their Australian-born daughters, five-year-old Kopika and three-year-old Tharunicaa lived in Central Queensland for several years. 

They were moved to a detention centre in Melbourne, in 2018. 

The family was then moved to Christmas Island in 2019 as lawyers for the family began legal action to stop them from being deported while the youngest daughter’s immigration case is ongoing.

They’ve been there ever since. 

Last year, the Federal Court ruled the youngest child was denied "procedural fairness" when applying for an Australian visa. 

The Federal Government appealed that decision, but this week the court upheld the original ruling.

A family friend, Bronwyn Dendle, says the decision gives the family more legal options, and she understands lawyers are considering an appeal.

She, and other friends, are vowing to continue fighting to get the family back to Biloela.  

"It is frustrating because they could be waiting from Bilola, where they can support themselves, instead of all the way over on Christmas Island on the taxpayers’ money because the minister refuses to let them come home and wait," Ms Dendle says. 

In a written statement, a Department of Home Affairs spokesperson says the government is considering the implications of the latest court decision.

It goes on to say anyone who attempts “illegal maritime travel” to Australia will not be settled here.  “The family’s claims to engage Australia’s protection obligations have been comprehensively assessed on a number of occasions by the Department of Home Affairs, various merits review bodies and appealed through multiple courts including the Federal Court to the High Court.

“At no time has any member of the family been found to be owed protection.

"Non-citizens who do not hold a visa and who have exhausted all outstanding avenues to remain in Australian are encouraged to depart voluntarily. 

“Those unwilling to depart voluntarily will be subject to detention and removal from Australia, as has occurred in this case."