DEPORTATION THREAT: Nades holding Tharunicaa, 1, and Priya with Kopika, 3, want to return to Biloela.
DEPORTATION THREAT: Nades holding Tharunicaa, 1, and Priya with Kopika, 3, want to return to Biloela.

Family's appeal for asylum questions fairness of program

THE fairness of Australia's refugee assessment program is under fire, with the focus on a Biloela family's battle for asylum.

Priya, Nades and their two daughters have begun their latest bid for freedom amid an ongoing visa dispute.

Immigration and human rights lawyer Kajaliny Ranjith has launched an appeal to the recent rejection of the family's application to be spared deportation.

With a court hearing expected late August, Ms Ranjith, owner of Kajaliny Ranjith Legal, said they had an arguable case with claims the Tamil family's bid for protection was not handled correctly in August last year.

She said their appeal will raise questions about the Immigration Assessment Authority's fast-track review, which was introduced in 2014 to process undetermined cases of asylum seekers who arrived in Australia by boat before 2013.

The mother and three-year-old's case was referred to the IAA last year after the Department of Immigration rejected their plea for protection.

"The fast-track system doesn't provide the applicants the time to fix, recall or correct anything they've said or submitted before," Ms Ranjith said.


Sri Lankan family
Sri Lankan family Contributed

"The IAA also is not required to ask for an interview, so they make a decision based on the information before them.

"Then it comes down to interpretation and they may interpret that information completely different to how it was intended."

In April an Iranian man was denied a temporary visa in 2016 after his application was reviewed by the fast-track system.

Lawyers for the man, known to the court as M174, argued he had been denied procedural fairness because he had not been given the opportunity to respond to information gathered by the Department of Border Protection and Immigration, which led to the department rejecting his claim.

The Guardian reported the Federal Court upheld the government's processes, and found the IAA had not failed to comply with the Migration Act 1958 and had not acted unreasonably.

A Department of Home Affairs spokesperson told The Observer last month, years of comprehensive assessment by the Department, tribunals and courts found that the Biloela family consistently did not meet Australia's protection obligations.

Now reaching their fourth month detained at Broadmeadows Detention Centre, Ms Ranjith said the family was growing increasingly frustrated.

Family friend Angela Fredericks, whose petition calling for their release has gained more than 100,000 signatures, said detention had taken its toll on Kopika.

"We're worried about Kopika, she's still asking every day to come back to Biloela and she's getting very upset," she said.