The family have been detained since March 2018.
The family have been detained since March 2018.

Tamil family deportation decision delayed

A DECISION on whether to deport a Tamil family to Sri Lanka has been delayed until Friday.

It comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison backed the federal government's call to deport the family of four.

AFP officers were sent to Christmas Island, about 2000km from Perth in the Indian Ocean, where the family is awaiting its fate.

Priya and Nades and their two Australian-born daughters Kopika and Tharunicaa were awaiting a decision from the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne today.

The court will decide on a last ditch legal effort on behalf of the youngest child for Australia's protection, put in train after an injunction stopped the government from deporting the family last Thursday.

Nades Murugappan with wife Priya and children Kopika and Tharunicaa will learn their fate today. Picture: Supplied
Nades Murugappan with wife Priya and children Kopika and Tharunicaa will learn their fate today. Picture: Supplied

Mr Morrison told reporters: "It's about doing the right thing by the national interest.

"It's not about chasing public sentiment. Border protection, national security, is not about chasing Twitter public sentiment or anyone else. It's about doing the right thing.

"You must be consistent. You must be consistent. Otherwise, you just send out the invitations.

"I understand absolutely the motivation and the compassion that Australians have expressed in relation to this case. I understand that.

"But I also know from bitter experience that if you make the wrong calls on these issues, then you invite tragedy and you invite chaos.

Earlier, Anthony Albanese has travelled to Biloela in central Queensland to join supporters of the Tamil family, as federal police officers prepare for their speedy deportation.

Biloela is where the family lived until they were removed in a pre-dawn raid last year.

The Labor leader is calling on the immigration minister to exercise discretion and let them stay.

"There is a case of a four-year-old and a two-year-old who belong here in Australia," he told the Seven Network.

"Their parents are making a contribution and they are in regional Queensland, supported by their local community."

 

 

Senior minister Mathias Cormann said the Tamil family was in the same position as 1500 people sent back to Sri Lanka.

Senator Cormann said their pleas for protection had been comprehensively assessed by the government and the courts.

"At every step on the way, those assessments have confirmed they do not qualify to come to Australia as asylum seekers," he told the ABC.

"This is about making sure we don't send a signal to people smugglers who are out there waiting to see a weakening in the resolve of the Australian government in protecting our borders.

Hundreds of people across Australia have rallied in support of letting the family stay. Picture: AAP
Hundreds of people across Australia have rallied in support of letting the family stay. Picture: AAP

"We have to apply the law of the land and we have to make sure that we focus on the broader national interest."

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has launched a counter-attack against Labor, accusing the opposition of hypocrisy.

Immigration numbers given to The Australian show previous Labor governments removed 2631 Sri Lankans in the three years to 2013.

"People-smugglers would be partying long into the night if Labor wins the next election because (home affairs spokeswoman) Kristina Keneally and Albanese have now adopted an effective open-border policy," Mr Dutton said.