The federal government is under increasing pressure to allow a Tamil family being held on Christmas Island to return to Biloela.
The family has been given another reprieve, with a court preventing their deportation to Sri Lanka.
However, their fate remains in the hands of the Immigration Minister, who holds the power to grant them protection visas.
Labor senator Kristina Keneally said the “sorry saga” should come to an end, with taxpayers spending $50 million to keep the family in detention.
Senator Keneally said the years behind bars were also taking a mental and emotional toll on Priya and Nades Murugappan and their Australian-born daughters, five-year-old Kopika and three-year-old Tharnicaa.
They were removed from their home in Biolela, in central Queensland, and have been in detention on Christmas Island since August 2019 after an urgent injunction put a hold on their deportation.
“The Biloela community has always wanted them to come home,” she told ABC radio on Wednesday.
“Labor has been consistent in making clear that the Minister, with his powers, should intervene. Allow this family to come home and afford due process to their claims for protection.”
The Morrison government is adamant the family will stay in detention on Christmas Island, saying their claims for protection have been comprehensively assessed by multiple courts.
Senator Keneally hoped the relatively new Immigration Minister, Alex Hawke, would view the situation “with fresh eyes”.
She said she was desperate to see the two Australian-born children and their parents return to their adopted regional Queensland home after more than 1000 days in detention.
“And that we don’t spend any more taxpayer money keeping a family of four who pose no risk to the community in immigration detention on Christmas Island,” Senator Keneally said.