A Tamil family facing deportation who had been living at Biloela in Queensland has lost a bid to have their case reviewed by the High Court.
The parents, and their two young children have been in immigration detention in Melbourne since March last year.
They have been fighting the case on the basis they have a fear of persecution if they return to Sri Lanka because of past family links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
That was rejected by authorities and the Federal Court dismissed the assertion their case had not been given adequate consideration.
On Tuesday, the High Court dismissed their application for it to review the case.
Supporters of the family fear they could be deported within days.
Biloela local and family friend Angela Fredericks said she’s “absolutely gutted” by the decision.
“I’m just absolutely sick at the moment,” she said.
“I didn’t have lots of faith in our justice system because again they’re not hearing the content of their case. This is a case where we need ministerial intervention.
“I plea to [Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Minister] David Coleman to have a heart, have some compassion, use a level head and know that pretty much this family’s safety and their future is directly in the palm of his hands.”
Ms Fredericks said she wasn’t surprised by the decision.
“Right from the start we’ve know that the whole asylum seeker process has been stacked against people who have arrived by boat. These people they’re fleeing war zones, they’re fleeing persecution, they want to be safe and the fact that we would actually penalise people who are fighting for their lives, to me that’s criminal.
“They’re going back to a place they haven’t been … for 10 plus years. They’re starting with nothing.
“It comes down to the politicians, it comes down to them stepping up like they have done in numerous other cases and stepping up and saying ‘you know what, this family has a whole community behind them we know they’re making a go of it in Australia’. Just let them stay.
“I know we’ve got an election coming up. However, I would just ask people to put politics, put popularity, put everything aside and just see this for what it is. It’s for individual lives who we need to protect.”
Nades and Priya arrived in Australia separately by boat in 2012 and 2013 and had been living and working in Biloela for around three years.
They married and had two daughters in Australia – four-year-old Kopika and 23-month-old Tharunicaa.
The family was removed from their home in Biloela in March 2018, when Priya’s bridging visa expired.
Biloela residents have rallied around the Sri Lankan family, campaigning for their return to the community.