The Murugappan family’s legal woes are set to continue although they have finally been allowed to return to their Queensland home.
The Murugappan family’s legal woes are far from over although they have finally been allowed to return to their former Queensland home in Biloela after more than four years in limbo.
Priya and Nades Murugappan and their two Australian-born daughters were granted temporary bridging visas this week that allow them to leave community detention in Perth.
However, the family still do not have a permanent home, which means their fight to stay in Australia will continue.
Asylum Seeker Resource Center founder Kon Karapanagiotidis said the latest visa approval was just the next step in the family’s aim to stay in Australia permanently.
“In this scenario, they’ll get Medicare…but it’s a temporary visa,” he said in a video statement.
“At the moment, the government says we have to wait and see what happens with the court cases.
“Let’s hope that happens next, that the government is proactive – the family has been in limbo for long enough.
It comes after Acting Home Secretary Jim Chalmers confirmed he had used his ministerial powers to intervene in the family’s case to allow them to return to the central Queensland town where they lived until March 2018.
Dr Chalmers said he had spoken to the family and wished them well on their return.
“This decision will allow them to return ‘home to Bilo’, a big-hearted and welcoming Queensland town that has embraced this beautiful family,” he said.
Dr Chalmers said the Albanian Labor government remained committed to Operation Sovereign Borders and deterring smugglers.
Priya and Nades Murugappan are two Tamil asylum seekers who came to Australia by ship from Sri Lanka during the civil war a decade ago and settled in Biloela after being granted bridging visas.
They lived and worked in the city until their visas expired and they were expelled from their homes.
They were eventually sent to Christmas Island in August 2019 with their two Australian-born daughters, Kopika and Tharnicaa, becoming the sole residents of the detention center there.
The Murugappans were later moved to Perth after three-year-old Tharnicaa suffered a blood infection.
They have remained in limbo ever since, despite concerted efforts by Biloela residents and other supporters to “bring them home”.
Mr Albanese, speaking to Perth radio 6PR on Thursday, said his own view of the family’s case had not changed since 2019.
“I went to Biloela, I met the community there. It’s a community that wants this family home,” he said.
“We are a strong enough society to say that you shouldn’t mistreat people to send a message to others. And I don’t understand how it lasted so long at a huge cost.
The Morrison government has taken a hardline approach to the family’s case, with former prime minister Scott Morrison and former immigration minister Alex Hawke indicating they believe the family’s fate should be decided by the courts .
Mr Albanese promised before the election that a Labor government would grant visas to the Murugappan family to allow them to return to Biloela.
Originally published as The Murugappan family’s legal troubles are far from over as they prepare to leave Perth