Court documents reveal Abbott’s support for Biloela family
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack both wrote to the Immigration Minister concerning the Tamil family from Biloela, a Federal Court judgment has revealed.
Last week, the Full Federal Court upheld its earlier decision that QLD-born Tharnicaa, the youngest member of the family, was denied “procedural fairness”.
The latest judgment reveals Mr Abbott and Mr McCormack were among 18 Federal MPs and Senators whose letters to former Immigration Minister David Coleman were cited in an April 2019 Department of Home Affairs submission to the Minister.
The submission recommended the Minister used his discretionary powers to allow a bridging visa application to be made for the youngest family member, Tharnicaa, which would have allowed the family to be released from detention.
Other MPs and Senators who wrote to the Minister regarding the family included former Liberal Party deputy leader Julie Bishop, former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and former “Operation Sovereign Borders” special envoy, Senator Jim Molan.
In May 2019, a subsequent departmental submission recommended the Minister exercise his Migration Act power to allow all family members to apply for temporary protection visas.
The later submission also asked the Minister to consider exercising his power to grant all family members “a substantive visa to remain in Australia”.
Family friend Angela Fredericks said the support the Tamil family had received from prominent politicians reflected the “overwhelming” community view the family belonged in Biloela.
“We are appealing to Scott Morrison - not just as a politician, but as a leader and father - to make a captain’s call and ask his Ministers to take a fresh look at this family’s situation,” Ms Fredericks said.
On March 5, supporters plan to mark the third anniversary of the family’s removal from the Central Queensland town with a “Dawn to Dusk” vigil, beginning in Biloela and spreading around Australia.