Biloela family’s bridging visa win in Federal Circuit Court: ‘Procedurally unfair’

Headshot of Sarah Ison
Sarah IsonThe West Australian
The Federal Circuit Court has ruled the Government’s decision to prevent three members of the Biloela family from applying for bridging visas and stay in Australia was procedurally unfair.
Camera IconThe Federal Circuit Court has ruled the Government’s decision to prevent three members of the Biloela family from applying for bridging visas and stay in Australia was procedurally unfair. Credit: Supplied/Angela Fredericks/Angela Fredericks

The Federal Circuit Court has ruled the Government’s decision to prevent three members of the Biloela family from applying for bridging visas and stay in Australia was procedurally unfair.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke in June disallowed the family for applying for bridging visas, which the Biloela family challenged in court.

Mr Hawke has since granted three of the family members 12-month bridging visas after the youngest daughter Tharnicaa became ill and was flown to Perth to recover.

Tharnicaa was not given a visa and so remains in “community detention” in Perth.

The family of four - referred to as the Queensland town of Biloela where they lived for four years – were deported to Christmas Island in 2018.

It followed Nades and Priya Murugappan – both Tamil asylum seekers - meeting in Australia after separately fleeing Sri Lanka by boat in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

After marrying in 2014, the pair welcomed daughters Kopika and Tharnicaa.

The family’s lawyer Carina Ford said today’s win in court would make it more difficult for the Government to take away the family’s bridging visas.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke in June disallowed the family for applying for bridging visas, which the Biloela family challenged in court.
Camera IconImmigration Minister Alex Hawke in June disallowed the family for applying for bridging visas, which the Biloela family challenged in court. Credit: The Project/supplied

But friends of the family said they were concerned the fight to keep the family in Australia was not over.

“This is not the first time that the courts have found that a decision by one of Scott Morrison’s Ministers was made in an unfair way”, family friend Simone Cameron said.

“But the reality is that Australia’s immigration laws have given Mr Morrison’s Ministers almost unlimited power to intervene in people’s lives, by giving or taking away the right to stay in Australia.”

A Home Affairs spokesperson said the Department was “considering the implications of the decision”.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further during the appeal period,” the spokesperson said.

The 12-month visas will expire in September 2022.

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