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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Briefing of the Biloela family for the new Minister of the Interior | UKTN

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Australia’s new border minister is keeping an open mind on the fate of a Biloela Tamil family held on Christmas Island.

Karen Andrews was elevated to the Home Affairs portfolio as part of a federal cabinet reshuffle.

She is preparing to receive a briefing on the Biloela family, who have spent more than three years in detention.

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The government’s efforts to deport them to Sri Lanka have so far cost more than $ 6 million.

Members of the community have campaigned tirelessly for Priya, Nades and their two young daughters to return to their adopted home in Biloela, central Queensland.

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“I understand all the problems in the community, I understand that there is a series of legal issues that still need to be resolved,” Ms Andrews told UKTN Radio on Tuesday.

“I will be informed of this particular case in more detail, probably tomorrow morning.”

Ms Andrews said there was a “significant number of issues” involved.

“It would be very reckless and inappropriate of me to comment on this particular case or any other case until I am fully informed of all matters,” she said.

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Last month, the family got another reprieve with a court preventing their deportation to Sri Lanka.

Ms Andrews and Alex Hawke, who was recently promoted to immigration minister, hold the authority to grant family protection visas.

Labor Senator Kristina Keneally said the ‘sad saga’ is set to end with taxpayers spending more than $ 50 million to keep the family in custody.

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Senator Keneally said the years behind bars also had a mental and emotional impact.

She desperately needs to see Australia-born two children, Kopika and Tharunicaa, and their parents return to their adopted regional home in Queensland after more than 1,000 days in detention.

The government has so far insisted the family will remain in detention on Christmas Island, saying their protection claims have been thoroughly assessed by several courts.


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