It has been only two months since the Biloela family were granted only three bridging visas, but their chance to live and work safely in Australia is set to expire, ripping freedom away from them as soon as next month.
In their first ever interview, Priya and Nades Murugappan sat down with Waleed Aly for The Project to discuss their fears for the fate of their family, and what will happen to their daughters if they are sent back to Sri Lanka.
As a reminder, Priya and Nades separately fled to Australia by boat in 2012 and 2013, before meeting, marrying and settling down in the regional Queensland town of Biloela. Come March 2018, the couple were put on a flight back to Sri Lanka. However, halfway through their journey, an interim injunction was granted by a judge, which prevented the family from leaving the country.
Since then, they were sent to live in detention on Christmas Island as lengthy and complicated court proceedings have ensued based around daughter Tharnicaa’s visa eligibility, as well as the tireless efforts by their town of Biloela to ensure the family’s return to their Queensland community.
Despite being granted bridging visas, the Murugappan family were only given three: one for Nades, one for Priya and another for Kopika. These new permissions allowed Nades and Priya to head back to work and support their family, while Kopika was allowed to attend school, all while Tharnicaa’s fate was left unknown as she received ongoing medical treatment.
As for their first interview, it began by showing Kopika and Tharnicaa, sweetly playing in a park and calling out to each other. Prior to speaking to Priya and Nades, Waleed chose spoke to the sisters, asking them: “
“I’m not worried about the two of us. We have lived,” Nades tragically admitted, adding, “We beg the minister to consider our children’s future, and let us live safely.”
Closing out the interview, The Project co-host, Lisa Wilkinson, summarised the horrific ordeals that the Biloela family have endured perfectly, saying: “