Thousands turn out across Australia to help the Tamil family
VIGILS were held across the country yesterday in honour of the Biloela family who has been caught up in a refugee battle with the government.
Vigils were held in Biloela, Yeppoon and Tannum Sands and also Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Hobart, Maroochydore, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth, Sydney and Toowoomba.
The Tamil family facing deportation was reportedly taken to Christmas Island on Friday night.
The Biloela family, Priya, Nades and their daughters Tharunicaa, 2 and Kopika, 4, have been in a Melbourne detention centre since March 2018, after they were taken from their home in a pre-dawn raid, one day after Priya's bridging visa expired.
On Friday the family's deportation to Sri Lanka was stopped when a last-minute injunction was granted for lawyers to progress a visa application for the youngest daughter.
The injunction means they cannot be deported until Wednesday afternoon.
But early Saturday morning family supporters said they lost contact with Priya and Nades because the family was flown from Darwin to Christmas Island.
They said the family's phones had been taken from them and contact was lost until about 2am when the family arrived at the Christmas Island detention centre.
Supporters are fearful because they said Priya was not supplied with blood pressure medication which was prescribed on Wednesday.
"This is the second flight in as many days under the cover of darkness, taking this family even further away from the support of the community that loves them,” family friend Rebekah Holt said.
"What were the department hoping to achieve by moving this toddler and her family to literally the furthest landmass that could only loosely be described as falling under Australia's territorial control?
"The department has shown callous disregard for the welfare of this family, as well as contempt for Justice Bromberg's orders.”
Supporters have vowed to maintain contact with the family, no matter how difficult this development makes it.
The family have had no internet at Christmas Island, leaving them unable to carry out their normal routines of video calls with friends.
"First they took our friends 1800km south to a Melbourne detention centre. And now they've moved them 5000km away and added an ocean. But that won't stop us doing everything we can to get this family home to Biloela,” family friend and Biloela resident Angela Fredericks said.
Priya said the events of the last few days have destabilised her family.
"My children have been separated from their world,” she told her friends.
Follow Solidarity With Biloela on Facebook for how you can help.