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The Biloela family: Letter to Minister Karen Andrews

Dear Minister Andrews,

We have read innumerable accounts about the plight of the Sri Lankan family from Biloela in recent years, and we have written to Government and Opposition leaders about their detention on several occasions.

Today, we read the article in BBC News Sydney by Frances Mao, which reduced us to tears. Tears of anger, frustration and utter dismay.

It seems incomprehensible to us that any government in an advanced democracy could continue to punish this family with such complete disregard for their welfare, in pursuit of a political objective. The idea that, by releasing this family from detention would “open the floodgates” simply beggars belief. We have an armada of ships, and numerous aircraft, patrolling the seas to our north, which have prevented any  asylum seekers reaching our shores by boat  for the past seven years. Allowing the family to return to Biloela changes none of that.

You have the power, as the relevant minister, to set this family free at the stroke of a pen. Doing so would demonstrate that you are capable of listening to the voices of the community, that you understand that granting the family their freedom poses no threat to the government’s asylum policy, and, finally, that you are prepared to put principle and compassion ahead of ideology and intransigence.

We urge you to do the right thing, and to allow the family to return to Biloela, where the community will welcome them with open arms.

It is time to put an end to this chapter of shame.

Yours sincerely,

Mike and Marlene G

Valla Beach, NSW 2448.

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