Day of reckoning approaches for youngest Tamil family member
Judgement day is approaching for the youngest and most vulnerable member of the Tamil family trapped in detention on Christmas Island.
At 9.30am Tuesday, February 16, the Full Federal Court hands down a decision involving three-year-old Tharnicaa
Ten months on from when the Tamil’s were first detained on the island, court documents have revealed the family’s fate could have been very different.
The Department of Home affairs recommended in the documents filed and referred to in the Federal Court Decision in April 2020, the Tamil’s should have been granted substantive visas and remained in Australia.
According to the judgment by the Federal Court on, May 24, 2019, the Department of Home Affairs made a series of recommendations to the then-Immigration Minister David Coleman.
Those recommendations included the Immigration Minister should exercise a number of powers to allow Tharnicaa, 3, to “Apply for a [Bridging visa E]”, as well as to “Allow the family to apply for a [Temporary Protection Visa/Safe Haven Enterprise Visa]” and significantly, “that he agree to consider exercising s 195A to grant the applicant and her family a substantive visa to remain in Australia”.
Despite the recommendations from Home Affairs to the Minister, on August 29, 2019 the family was nearly deported in a Skytraders plane out of Melbourne Airport.
A last-minute injunction prevented them from being sent to Sri Lanka, and they have been held on Christmas Island ever since.
Carina Ford, the Tamil family’s lawyer, said things did not add up.
“It does not make sense that in May 2019 the family were recommended to be considered for a visa, but nearly two years later they remain in detention,” she said.
“There are several ministers who have always had the discretion within the immigration portfolio to release this family into the community while their legal matters are resolved.
“That was the case in 2018, 2019 and 2020. It remains the case now, too. The family should be released immediately from detention and we hope that as of Tuesday this will occur.”