Tag Archives: Tamily family

Lies about children not in detention centres

Who are the Tamil family from Biloela and why are they being deported? -  ABC News

By Spencer Gear PhD

As a person who is actively interested in Australian politics, I was shocked by what seemed to be a lie perpetrated in the leaders’ debate on 8 May 2019 with a potential audience of millions.

In his opening reply to a question from the moderator, Sabra Lane, Scott Morrison discussed the unpopular turn-back-the-boats policy that was eventually successful and saved many lives. Then he added, “We’ve got every child out of detention”.

Later he repeated it: “Ultimately, we’ve got every child out of detention”. That is fake news. What is the truth about children in detention?
If you read the change.org petition link, “Our PM knows these kids are suffering” at
https://www.change.org/p/peter-dutton-bring-priya-back-to-biloela/u/24530228 of 9 May 2019 you’ll discover that there are still children in detention in Australia

This link begins with what Scott Morrison said at the 3rd leaders’ debate. “Ultimately, we’ve got every child out of detention. Ultimately, we’ve got every child out of detention. Ultimately, we’ve got every child out of detention. Ultimately, we’ve got every child out of detention. Ultimately, we’ve got every child out of detention, etc.”

He repeated this slogan over and over in 2019. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ypddAEAQFI&feature=youtu.be. However, these two little Sri Lankan children have been in detention for 15 months. Their father has been evicted from Australia and been returned to Sri Lanka. His wife and children may never see him again.

The Scriptures exhort Australia and individuals, “Whoever gives to the poor will have plenty. Whoever refuses to help them will get nothing but curses” (Proverbs 28:27).

This is a callous government that splits up families against the UNHCR’s pleading and legal representation. Where are the mercy and compassion of the people (including the Minister of Immigration) in this department to devastate a family this way?
As I watched the debate, I shouted to myself, ‘That is not the case. That is not the case. He’s lying’.

I was thinking of Priya, Nades (Thileepan) and their two beautiful children (born in Biloela Qld), Kopika and Tharunicaa who are Sri Lankan Tamil refugees who were wonderfully assimilated into the small central Qld town of Biloela.

That was until they were reefed out of their Biloela house in the early hours of the morning and whisked away to be eventually placed in a detention centre 15 months ago.

The change.org petition has been signed by 184,000 people. From this petition, I learned that after months of severe vitamin deficiencies and dental problems little Tharunicaa’s mouth hurt so much she couldn’t eat solid food.

Because we need sunlight to receive vitamin D to strengthen teeth and bones, the children have suffered from this deficiency. In addition they need fresh and healthy food and access to proper medical care.

These children ‘have been locked indoors for most of the last 15 months. Fresh food is restricted and visitors are banned from bringing it with them. And when Priya begs for her kids to see a doctor, she is fobbed off with Panadol’.

They have been refused visas to stay in Australia by the Department of Home Affairs and right now the family is in home detention in Perth. To say that ‘ultimately, we’ve got every child out of detention’ is a whopper!
Sadly, it seems that Scott Morrison lied over and over with his repeated statement. The children and parent in this family are still locked away in detention. The Coalition does not deserve to be in government when it treats people like this and tells this kind of lie.

Have they forgotten that ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’? Giving a comfortable and peaceful life to Mum, Dad and the two children should be a top priority for this government.

According to The Guardian Australia, in July 2018 the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR), Andrej Mahecic, said from Geneva, that Nades’ expulsion from Australia contravened ‘the basic right of family unity, as well as the fundamental principle of the best interests of the child’.

In spite of the UNHCR trying to gain assurances from the Coalition government that Nades ‘would not be removed from Australia and be allowed to remain with his family’, there were multiple requests lodged by legal representatives for intervention by the Minister for Home Affairs, but ‘collective representations were unsuccessful’.

I attempted to obtain an update on this situation from the UNHCR in the ACT by asking two questions: “Are mother and two children being allowed to remain in Australia permanently?”

Secondly, “What is the situation for the husband Thileepan who has been returned to Sri Lanka by the Australian government? Has any progress been made by the UNHCR in its further negotiations with the Australian Department of Home Affairs/Immigration for him to be reunited with his family?”

Unfortunately, I was unable to progress this inquiry because of the UNHCR’s response: “For reasons of confidentiality and protection, UNHCR does not comment on individual refugee cases”.

In the final week of this election campaign, the LNP can live up to its promises of no children in detention and release this family from the Melbourne detention centre and bring the father back from Sri Lanka.

Then, I urge the Coalition to apologise to this family for the trauma it has unnecessarily inflicted on them. It is a priority to grant them permanent residency and pay for their return fares to the Biloela community in Qld.

Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 21 September 2021.

Scott Morrison needs to ‘obey God’s message’

2 Oct 2019, 5:35pm

Family sit against a fence holding a sign that reads: "Thanks you Biloela and people around Australia. You give us hope".

ABC News, 2 October 2019, Photo: The family had been living in the central Queensland town of Biloela. (Supplied: @HometoBilo)

By Spencer D Gear PhD

This article was first published in On Line Opinion, 4 September 2019.

What will it take for ScoMo to practise what he preaches? I’ve seen the pictures of him with raised hands in worship in his church on Sunday. I applaud him for worshipping the Lord God Almighty and allowing the mass media cameras to see a demonstration of his faith.

His faith needs more than lifting hands in praise. Australians need to see him practise his Christian faith with Priya, her husband Nadesalingam (Nades), with daughters Kopika, 4, and Tharunicaa, 2.

They have become household names as they challenge the deportation orders to return them to Sri Lanka.

The small regional town of Biloela, Qld, wants them to stay. They have integrated well into that region and Nades has been employed in the meat works.

Morrison resists: ‘I do understand the real feeling about this and the desire for there to be an exception but I know what the consequences are of allowing those exceptions’ (The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 September 2019). Based on the 10 Daily report in September 2019,

(Australian Border Force officials) have told the family they need to learn to adjust to what they’re got on Christmas Island because they’re not going to be brought back to the mainland,” Tamil Refugee Council spokesman Aran Mylvaganam told AAP after speaking to the family….

“Priya, she is saying that she came from the war zone and regardless of how difficult it is, she’s able to put up with it.

“But it’s the children that she’s worried about, who were born here”….

It’s expected to be months before a trial decides whether Tharunicaa’s (the youngest child) bid for a protection visa should be accepted by the Australian government. Her parents and sibling have already been denied refugee status (10 Daily).

This is not about ‘real feeling’ towards this family but about a demonstration of real Christianity by Morrison and his Christian colleagues in government.

Both Morrison and I are evangelical Christians. We have this divine responsibility,

‘Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Help people who are in trouble. Stand up for what you know is right, and judge all people fairly. Protect the rights of the poor and those who need help’ (Proverbs 31:8-9).

This is a special time when ScoMo can act for this family that does not have the political voice, clout or the emotional strength to stand up to the assertions of Peter Dutton that they are not owed protection’ because they ‘are not refugees’.

Morrison claimed ‘they didn’t come to the country in the appropriate way. They have not been found to have an asylum claim’.

Neither would I if I were fleeing persecution. It was reported in the Liverpool City Champion (Narellan, NSW) that ‘Priya told AAP she saw her fiancé and five other men from her village burned alive before she fled. Her entire family now live as refugees in India’.

Prime Minister, it’s time to step up and demonstrate your genuine Christian convictions.

‘Someone might argue, “Some people have faith, and others have good works.” My answer would be that you can’t show me your faith if you don’t do anything. But I will show you my faith by the good I do’ (James 2:18).

Your Bible-based Christian faith will live up to this requirement, ‘’If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord—and he will repay you’ (Proverbs 19:17).

The two children of asylum seekers Nadesalingam and Priya.

Photo: The two girls were born in Australia but are not Australian citizens. (Supplied: Tamil Refugee Council)

Morrison’s heartless comment was, ‘They can return to Sri Lanka and they can make an application to come to Australia under the same processes as everyone else, anywhere else in the world. And I would hope they do. I would hope they do’ (SMH).

Sending people on meagre wages back to Sri Lanka and hoping they’ll make application to come to Australia as everyone else does is not practising Christianity’s Golden Rule: ‘In everything, do to others what you would want them to do to you’.

Is that how you want to be treated, Mr Morrison? Do you want this harshness inflicted on you? ‘The prime minister says he cannot “in good conscience” allow a Tamil couple and their Australian-born children facing deportation to stay in Australia’.

That’s not a ‘Christian conscience’ based on the Golden Rule’ and God’s care for the needy.

Now Ray Hadley joins with the Honourable Peter Dutton, Minister for Home Affairs, in choofing the family back to Sri Lanka. Why?

“It’s very simple… they lied,” says Ray (on 2GB, 3 September 2019).

“The woman came from Chennai, which is in India. That’s where she set sail from and she’d been living there for an extended period.

“The now-husband had travelled from Sri Lanka to the Middle East on three separate occasions and had returned on three separate occasions”.

ABC News confirmed, ‘He frequently travelled between Sri Lanka, Kuwait and Qatar between 2004 and 2010 for work, during the civil war that ended in 2009’.

Ray: Why was Niya in Chennai? She has made it clear her persecuted family in Sri Lanka had sought asylum in India. The Guardian reported, ‘She initially fled to India, not a refugee convention country and which does not offer protection, with family members’.

Contrary to Ray Hadley’s statement, she was not lying about her circumstances when she left the Indian city of Chennai to seek asylum in Australia. She had fled Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2000 to India, which is not a signatory of the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).

The UNHCR stated although India was not party to the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol, India’s national refugee protection framework ‘continues to grant asylum to a large number of refugees from neighbouring States and respects UNHCR’s mandate for other nationals’.

In 2018, Mr Dutton intervened to prevent two European nannies (au pairs) from being deported from Australia.

‘”It’s quite clear if you look at the ministerial intervention guidelines, this case [of the Tamil family] meets those guidelines more clearly than the two au pair cases in which the minister [Mr Dutton] acted within hours,” said Abul Rizvi, former deputy secretary of the Immigration Department’ (ABC News).

Mr Rizvi was more compassionate towards this family than Morrison, Dutton or Hadley. He told the ABC, ‘We have a clear contest between human decency and appropriate use of the ministerial intervention powers and the minister’s ego’.

Some will be shouting: Keep religion out of politics. That’s impossible to do because all people see life thorough their world views. A world view is like lenses through which we look at reality. Our beliefs about all aspects of life colour our perspective of what happens in the universe.

A Christian world view includes: ‘We must obey God rather than human beings!’ The Scriptures I’ve quoted in this essay demonstrate how the Christian ScoMo, as our national leader, ought to be treating this Tamil family. Instead, his government has put the family through 18 months of trauma, which is hardly a demonstration of Christian kindness.

Glen Campbell’s song comes to mind as I consider what the Coalition government should be doing to the Tamil family,

If you see your brother standing by the road
With a heavy load from the seeds he’s sowed
And if you see your sister falling by the way
Just stop and say, you’re going the wrong way

You got to try a little kindness
Yes show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness
Then you’ll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets

(composers: Curt Sapaugh and Bobby Austin)

This is what we need from the government led by a Christian Prime Minister.

The Tamil family is in our country so we can act christianly towards them. Prime Minister Morrison, you are a Christian. This is how you can demonstrate your Christianity to this family: ‘God has chosen you and made you his holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient’ (Colossians 3:12).

Please intervene immediately. What could be more pointed than this call to you Mr Morrison?

‘Do what God’s teaching says; don’t just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves…. But when you look into God’s perfect law that sets people free, pay attention to it. If you do what it says, you will have God’s blessing. Never just listen to his teaching and forget what you heard’ (James 2:22, 25).

Copyright © 2020 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 19 January 2020.

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