A Sri Lankan family has been granted an injunction against deportation by the Federal Court, allowing them to stay in Australia pending an appeal.
Tamils Priya and Nadesalingam, who have two Australian-born children, were served with a deportation notice on Friday after losing a court bid to stay in the country.
The notice would have required the family to leave the country as early as Tuesday, despite having 21 days to appeal the Federal Circuit Court decision.
However, the court has now granted an injunction to allow the family to remain in Australia long enough for the court to hear an appeal against last week’s decision.
A legal representative for the family, Kajaliny Ranjith, said today’s injunction relates to mother, Priya, and three-year-old Kopika. Father, Nadesalingam, and one-year-old Tharunicaa were not part of the application.
She said the legal team were hoping for the case to be expedited through the Federal Court.
“The family has been in detention for quite some time now, so we do want to get them out as soon as possible, and just to get them some closure as well.”
“I would really like to thank the department as well, for agreeing and consenting to today’s orders.”
Supporters from the family’s hometown of Biloela in Queensland have been campaigning to stop their deportation since authorities took the husband and wife and their small children, aged one and three, into custody in March.
Simone Cameron, a family friend and advocate from the Home to Bilo campaign, said the family had been deeply traumatised by the recent events.
“We feel that it was a really sneaky thing to serve them with deportation papers so late on Friday, which made it very difficult to arrange legal matters,” she said.
Biloela residents have appealed to Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to intervene in the case, but Mr Dutton’s office said last week their application for asylum had already been thoroughly assessed.
The injunction follows a petition asking Qantas and 11 other airlines to refuse to fly the family.
Ms Cameron said Biloela residents are still trying to persuade Mr Dutton not to deport them.
“The citizens have designed the new petition and that’s calling on the airlines to refuse to deport this family, so we’re hoping that’s going to get some traction.”
“He [Mr Dutton] still has that immense power to step in and save the family and bring them back to Biloela and that’s all we’re all asking.”
Biloela resident and family friend Angela Fredricks wrote in the petition: “Just like Qantas, three-year-old Kopika and one-year-old Tharunicaa are Queensland-born and bred. If (Home Affairs Minister Peter) Dutton will not listen to our little town, maybe Qantas and other airlines will.”
Ms Fredricks told AAP on Sunday that all airline staff could play a role in keeping the family-of-four in the country, by refusing to drive the cars or load their luggage.
A candlelight vigil was held in Biloela on Sunday night for the family with a 100-strong rally held in Melbourne hours earlier.
Ms Cameron says the community support has been welcomed by the family.
“It is really heart-warming and I think it is that support that’s really sustaining the family through this incredibly difficult time.”
The Tamil family is being held in a Melbourne immigration detention centre.