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Peter Dutton Believes Showing Compassion To Biloela Family Sends A ‘Bad Message’

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Peter Dutton Believes Showing Compassion To Biloela Family Sends A ‘Bad Message’

Australia's Defence Minister has cautioned efforts to show compassion to the Tamil family that has been in immigration detention for more than 1,200 days.

The Murugappan family was moved to Christmas Island in August 2019 after they were taken from their Queensland home in Biloela.

The removal was the result of unsuccessful asylum claims for the three oldest family members.

They had been stationed on the island ever since and despite repeated attempts by the federal government to send them back to their native Sri Lanka, a series of court orders has delayed their departure.

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Credit: HomeToBilo
Credit: HomeToBilo

Last week, Tharnicaa, the youngest member of the family at just four years old, was medically evacuated to Perth for treatment. She had been running a fever and suffering various symptoms for 10 days before she was sent to Western Australia with her mother.

Her father and older sister have since been granted approval to fly to Perth and be with them too, however they have not yet been granted permanent visas to stay.

Campaigners have been advocating for them to have their immigration claims fast-tracked due to overwhelming community support, however Peter Dutton believes that could spark a worrying chain reaction.

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He has long argued the family should be sent back to their native Sri Lanka and believes their lives won't be threatened if they do.

Mr Dutton is also concerned that letting them stay in Australia could send a 'bad message' to people smugglers.

"It's been a frustrating case because every court, every tribunal, every decision-maker has been very clear to this family that they are not refugees," the Defence Minister said.

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"This family has not ever been found to be owed protection. We've got to be very careful."

While he hopes Tharnicaa gets well soon, he added to 2GB that Australia needs to maintain its international reputation for being tough on people smugglers.

"This is a situation that is of their own making, it is ridiculous, it is unfair on their children, and it sends a very bad message to other people who think they can rort the system as well," he said.

But Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan believes the Defence Minister should relax a little.

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He told reporters this week that it was 'preposterous' that people smugglers would be watching the Murugappan family's case and pounce if there is any lenience granted to the.

The Premier said: "They should just let them go back there and live out their lives. This is a family of a meat worker, his wife and two Australian-born kids from a regional town in Queensland."

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Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Australia

Stewart Perrie
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