A Tamil asylum seeker family taken from their central Queensland home have a better chance of being allowed to stay in the country if Labor wins the election, their supporters say.
Priya and Nadesalingam and their two small daughters were taken into custody during a raid on their Biloela home more than a year ago, after the couple’s bridging visa expired.
They remain in detention while fighting to stop their deportation, but Tamil Council of Australia’s Aran Mylvaganam says he is hopeful they will be allowed to stay if federal Labor wins the poll next month.
“The government is determined to send the family back to Sri Lanka when they have exhausted legal avenues, they have made that very clear,” Mr Mylvaganam told AAP on Sunday.
“It’s not looking promising if we get another Liberal government … we’re hoping that a change in government will change the mindset of the department to let this family stay here.”
Mr Mylvaganam says there has been no solid indications from either of the major parties supporting the family being allowed to stay, but federal Labor leader Bill Shorten has previously praised the Biloela community for its support.
“Obviously they’ve seen something in this person who they’re standing up for, and their family, so at the very least I can see what can be done,” Mr Shorten said last year.
“But it’s got to be done within the law.”
The family’s story is not unique, with many others sent back to Sri Lanka after making a home in Australia.
But Mr Mylvaganam says it captured the heart of the small town and individuals across the country who could empathise with the family’s fears of being torn apart.
He insists they will be in danger if they are sent back.
Nadesalingam faces potential persecution if sent back to Sri Lanka because of his history with the militant organisation the Tamil Tigers.
He was a valued employee at the local abattoir and Priya used to take her home-made curries to the doctors at Biloela Hospital.
More than 180,000 people have signed a petition demanding the family be returned to the Queensland community where they had become much-loved residents.
The couple arrived in Australia separately by boat in 2012 and 2013 after Sri Lanka’s civil war. (Courtesy AAP)