Former NSW premier Kristina Keneally. Picture: Adam Yip
Former NSW premier Kristina Keneally. Picture: Adam Yip

PM urged to consider values in Tamil case

THE prime minister must explain how his devotion to Christian principles sits alongside his refusal to help a Tamil family stay in Australia, Labor says.

Labor's home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally, a practising Catholic, says it's fair to bring religion into the debate over the Tamil family's fate.

She says Scott Morrison put his religion front and centre during the election campaign and it's reasonable to seek an explanation in the context of his faith.

"What I'm asking the prime minister to do, is reflect upon the values he put before the Australian people, that he said he holds dear, and explain his position within that context," the Labor senator told ABC radio on Tuesday.

"I'm calling on him to reflect upon the parable of the Good Samaritan, which invited us as Christians to take care of the stranger in our land."

Senator Keneally said the case of the Tamil family involved not only questions of law, but also of values, compassion, and discretion.

Despite protests in capital cities and the family's adopted home of Biloela in Queensland, over the weekend calling for the government to allow them to stay, the coalition government isn't budging.

 

The plane is operated by Skytraders, a private charter flight company. Pic: Refugee Action Collective
The plane is operated by Skytraders, a private charter flight company. Pic: Refugee Action Collective

 

On Monday, the prime minister said he would not save a Tamil family from deportation to Sri Lanka, where they claim they could face persecution.

He said the family had been found not to be refugees and had no legal entitlement to Australia's protection.

He also warned that people smugglers were watching Australia closely and any perceived weakening of the government's stance against illegal boat arrivals could expose the country to a new wave of boat people.

Priya, her husband Nadesalingam and their Australian-born children Kopika, 4, and Tharunicaa, 2, remain on Christmas Island ahead of a court hearing on Wednesday to test the youngest child's case for Australia's protection.

Her parents - who came separately to Australia by boat after Sri Lanka's civil war - and her older sister have already been found not to be refugees.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese says deporting the family would be "un-Australian".

"You can have strong borders without losing our humanity," he told Sydney radio station 2GB on Tuesday.

"That is what the government should recognise and that's why the government should exercise its discretion."