Click on subject of interest shown on the right under the heading "labels" to see all relevant posts

To look at letters (and some replies) sent to politicians and newspapers, scroll down the index on the right hand side and select the appropriate heading.

Note the blog allows multiple labelling and all letters to politicians are under "letters to pollies".

If you scroll down and cannot go further, look out for icon "Older Posts". Click on that to continue


Reply from Senator Kenneally re the Murugappan family


From: Keneally, Kristina (Senator) <>

Sent: Friday, September 10, 

Subject: Thank you for emailing me about the Biloela family


Good morning


Thank you for contacting me regarding the ‘Biloela family’ - Priya, Nades and their two Australian-born daughters, Kopika and Tharunicaa Murugappan. 


I apologise for the time it has taken me to get back to you.


As you would be aware, for a long time I have been advocating that the Murugappan family be allowed to go home to Biloela, a town that loves them and wants them back.  In fact, this has been Labor’s position for some time.


Labor Leader Anthony Albanese has asked questions in the House of Representatives about the family’s circumstances and urged the Morrison Government to allow them to return to Biloela. 


I was very fortunate to travel to Christmas Island earlier this year to meet this lovely family. But, I was saddened to see effect of detention on Kopika and Tharunicaa.  


These two Australian-born children have now spent most of their lives living in detention, all while Mr Morrison has been claiming that he “got all children out of detention here in Australia” – a claim that is simply untrue.  


Labor welcomes the recent decision from Minister for Immigration, Alex Hawke, to personally intervene in the family’s case, granting bridging visas for Nades, Priya and Kopika.  


Importantly, the Minister’s decision means Nades, Priya and Kopika are no longer in detention and are free to work, access services and support, and travel without significant restriction.   


It is disappointing that the Minister declined to use his personal discretionary power to grant a bridging visa to Tharunicaa. This little 4-year-old girl, born in Australia, remains in immigration detention in the community.   


While it is essential that Tharni continues to receive the medical treatment she needs following her serious illnesses, including pneumonia and sepsis, we understand the family is hopeful the government will allow her to access this treatment in Queensland.   We urge the Minister to take into account the advice of Tharni’s doctors. 


Many Australians will be concerned that the Minister has only granted the three family members a three-month bridging visa, and we share those concerns.  We are hopeful that the Minister has set a three-month period with a view to allow him the time required to consider the materials before him and make a decision to return the family to their home in Biloela.  


There is now considerable support from both sides of politics for the release of this family – including former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, broadcaster Alan Jones, and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.  


As it has been the case all along, Mr Morrison and Ministers Andrews and Hawke can grant the Biloela family permanent protection and bring them home to Queensland with a stroke of a pen.   Immigration ministers - including Ministers Dutton and Hawke - have made thousands of discretionary decisions each year to grant visas in circumstances like these, including on compassionate grounds. 


It is past time for the Morrison Government to bring this sorry saga to an end and allow the family to come home to Biloela.  


It is also time to stop the waste of taxpayer dollars:  The Morrison Government has spent at least $50 million of taxpayer funds in detaining and attempting to deport the family. 


We encourage you to show your support for the Murugappan family by signing Labor’s petition to bring them home to Biloela. 


The integrity of Australia’s immigration system is an important matter, but the system also allows compassion and support for families and children in our community. 


It is time for Priya, Nades, Kopika and Tharunicaa to return home to the Queensland community that they love, and that loves them in return.  


Thank you taking the time to contact me about this issue.  



Sign Labor’s petition to bring them home to Biloela. 


Kristina Keneally
Deputy Labor Leader in the Senate
Shadow Minister for Home Affairs
Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship
Senator for New South Wales

No comments: