If any resettlement were offered for Biloela’s Tamil family to the United States or New Zealand, it could take up to two years to resolve, during which time they could be detained on Christmas Island, according to the family’s lawyer.
While government ministers have publicly probed these two options, the Murugappan family has not received communication from the federal government about the possibility of moving to the US or New Zealand.
The family’s attorney, Carina Ford, said Wednesday that Tuesday’s public comments were the first the family had heard of them, but said the family was open to discussions about alternative options to detention, although it was not. ideal.
“We have always been open to discussions about alternative options to detention… I personally believe that transferring this family to another country to have to resettle them is not ideal. And I don’t necessarily think that’s what the Australian public is asking for either, “Ford told ABC.
Ford said the resettlement process could take years, during which time the family could be detained, unless alternative arrangements are made.
“It is not a route that is fixed overnight … we are waiting a year, maybe two years, for that to happen,” he said. “Honestly, one of our key drivers right now is getting the family out of detention. How much longer should two children be detained? So maybe he will look at where we are going in terms of alternative plans. “
It comes as the family’s youngest son, Tharnicaa, who will turn four next week, is being treated at Perth Children’s Hospital for sepsis, which was apparently caused by untreated pneumonia.
Tharnicaaa and her mother, Priya, were medically evacuated from Christmas Island to Perth on Monday after the little girl had been ill for 10 days. Priya said it had been days after she and her husband, Nades, raised the alarm about the state of Tharnicaa to take her to hospital.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the Australian government was looking at resettlement options for the family and that “the United States and New Zealand are in the frame.”
“I understand that there are two options that are being explored,” Payne told 2GB radio in Sydney on Tuesday. “I understand that the United States is the first of them and that New Zealand is also an option.”
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews told reporters Tuesday that her department was “investigating a number of resettlement options in relation to a number of different circumstances here in Australia.”
“I cannot comment publicly on that at this time because I do not want to interrupt those negotiations,” Andrews said.
Payne said she was unaware of reports that Priya’s initial requests for antibiotics and hospital care for her daughter were denied, but that health services on Christmas Island were “broadly comparable” to those available in the community. Australian.
“So I think, in terms of those details, she would have to seek more advice, but our first priority in terms of her medical care and her health support has been to transport her to Perth to that higher level of support now, and certainly our thoughts and best wishes are with her and her family, ”he said.
Supporters of the family reported Wednesday that Tharnicaa’s temperature had improved and that he had seen an infectious disease expert. They said there were still no answers on how he contracted pneumonia, which led to a blood infection.
Doctors are awaiting blood tests, and then Priya said that she expected to be returned to Christmas Island with Tharnicaa, however, the Australian Border Force had not confirmed this to them.
Following comments from Foreign Minister Marise Payne on Tuesday that the family could be resettled to New Zealand or the United States, the family’s attorney, Carina Ford, said they have not yet been contacted about it, and the Family friend Angela Fredericks said she couldn’t tell if it was a serious offer:
“We have lost count of how many times Priya and Nades’ hearts have been broken by speculation like this, or the like, in the past. Hope is all they have, and speculative discussions like this can damage their state of mind and well-being.
“We have a perfectly good resettlement option here in Biloela. We continue to urge Minister Karen Andrews to use ministerial discretion and let our friends return home to Bilo, where they will be safe and loved. “
The Murugappan family, Priya, Nades and their two Australian-born children, Kopika and Tharunicca, were taken from the Queensland regional town of Biloela and detained by immigrants almost three years ago. They have been detained on Christmas Island since late 2019 while defying the Australian government’s attempt to send them to Sri Lanka.
They won a full appeal in federal court in February, and the court held that the government’s handling of Tharnicca’s visa application had negated his procedural fairness. That decision has not been appealed by the government, but there are now cases before the immigration minister: one to raise the bar that prevents Tharnicca from submitting a visa application and the other to release the family in community detention.
Those legal processes would take precedence over any resettlement process, Payne said.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism