Airline urged to halt removal of all refugees
A SUPPORTER of a refugee Tamil family from Biloela has pleaded with Qantas shareholders to stop forced removals of refugees.
Angela Fredericks joined shareholders yesterday for their Annual General Meeting in Brisbane..
They voted on whether to review the flag carrier's participation in forced transportation of asylum seekers and refugees.
The deportation of Priya, Nades and their two Australian-born children was stopped after emergency legal action saw them removed from a flight at Perth Airport earlier this year..
The family remains in a Melbourne detention centre.
Ms Fredricks, a personal friend of the family, explained how airlines are involved in deportations and forced transportation.
"Border Force used a charter airline to force this family from Central central Queensland to Melbourne, Melbourne to Perth and then back to a Melbourne detention centre,” Ms Fredericks said.
"But we know that Border Force also uses Qantas and other commercial airlines to transport asylum seekers like Priya and Nades against their will.”
Ms Fredericks said the two children, Kopika and Tharunicca, were separated from their parents during a forced flight from Gladstone to Melbourne.
"Any parent who has flown with an infant would understand the terror this toddler and baby must have experienced during those first four hours in the air,” Ms Fredericks said.
An online petition calling on Qantas, and other airlines, to refuse to fly the family against that will has garnered over 15,000 signatures.
Priya and Nades arrived in Australia by boat separately in 2012 and 2013, and settled in Biloela.
The Department of Home Affairs told The Observer in June the family did not meet Australia's protection obligations, leading to their unsuccessful deportation.