A two-year-old girl born in Australia to Tamil asylum-seeker parents was “not afforded procedural fairness” in her asylum bid, the Federal Court has ruled.
However, the court said the girl’s application could not be automatically assessed,
Justice Mark Moshinsky delivered the judgment in Melbourne on Friday. Lawyers for the family received the decision over the phone.
Priya, Nades and their daughters, four-year-old Kopika and Tharunicaa, two, lived in Biloela in central Queensland, until immigration officials transferred them to a Melbourne detention centre in 2018.
They remain in detention on Christmas Island after a last-minute injunction on an attempt to deport them to Sri Lanka.
“The applicant was not notified that the August 2019 assessment was being conducted and was not invited to comment in relation to any aspect of the assessment,” Justice Moshinsky said.
The Tamil family has fought and lost numerous court battles to remain in Australia. They fear persecution if they are returned to Sri Lanka.
The federal government has maintained the status of Tharunicaa is linked to that of the rest of her family, whose bids for protection visas were denied in 2017.
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Tharunicaa’s lawyers argued she had not had her claim for asylum properly assessed.
Hearings in the case were held in February.
On Friday, Justice Moshinsky found that the officer in the immigration department who carried out the assessment of Tharunicaa’s application had not given the young girl, or her lawyers, the opportunity to comment and failed to follow the requirements of procedural fairness.
Lawyers now have seven days to tell the Federal Court what should happen next.
The family – who have been backed by a vocal Biloela-based supporter group, Home To Bilo, led by friend Angela Fredericks – will remain on Christmas Island until a decision on what should happen next is made.