FINAL PITCH: Airlines urged not to fly family to Sri Lanka
WITH the deportation of a Biloela family looking imminent, supporters have made a plea to the international aviation industry to be "courageous" and refuse to fly Nades, Priya, Kopika and Tharunicaa from Australia.
Qantas, Virgin, Sri Lankan Airlines and other airlines have been urged to not fly the family back to Sri Lanka, where Tamils Priya and Nades left in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
The family, who was taken from the Biloela home in a dawn raid in March 2018, faces imminent deportation after exhausting their final legal avenue.
An application for assessment of the dangers that two-year-old Tharunicaa may face if she was sent to Sri Lanka was refused by the Department of Home Affairs.
Family friend Angela Fredericks is now urging airlines to refuse to participate in the family's deportation.
"We are calling on the whole aviation industry - from those responsible for the management of the airlines, down to the pilots, ground crew and cabin crew, to show moral leadership and refuse to fly Nades, Priya, Kopika and Tharunicaa from Australia to an uncertain fate in Sri Lanka," she said.
"This family do not consent to their removal; they have grave fears about their future if they are forced back to Sri Lanka. Furthermore, more than 200 000 Australians stand with them to demand their return to Biloela, Queensland.
"An act of courageous leadership would be for airlines to commit to only flying this family home to safety in Biloela.
"When our political leaders fail to show moral fortitude, it becomes the responsibility of industry leaders, companies and civilians, to take the high road and demonstrate what Australia stands for, which is mateship and a fair go for all."
A Department of Home Affairs spokesperson said the family's case has been assessed over many years by the department and other review bodies.
"These decisions have also been the subject of judicial review applications in the courts," they said.
They said they would not make any further comment on the family's case.
The issue has made national headlines, with supporters and Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd speaking about the family on The Project on Friday night.