Supporters of a Tamil asylum-seeker family plan to corner federal Immigration Minister David Coleman in the dying days of the election campaign in a desperate final bid to keep them in Australia.
Family friend Angela Fredericks is among those who will travel from the tiny town of Biloela, in central Queensland – where the family had been living before their bridging visa expired in 2018 – to the minister’s marginal Sydney electorate to ask for him to intervene.
“We’re really fearful they could be deported any moment … so we’re just praying that if we’re in his seat of Banks and we create enough buzz he can’t ignore us,” Ms Fredericks told AAP on Wednesday.
The family – Priya, her husband, Nadesalingam, and their Australian-born daughters Kopika and Tharunicaa – is facing imminent deportation after the High Court on Tuesday denied their final legal bid to stay in Australia.
Ms Fredericks said supporters began phoning Mr Coleman’s office on Tuesday but had not been able to speak to the minister to present their plea.
Mr Coleman, whose office told AAP on Wednesday they would not comment on specific cases, holds the seat in southwest Sydney by a slim 1.4 per cent margin.
He wrested it from Labor in 2013, who had held it for 64 years prior.
“Banks is a very multicultural area,” Ms Fredericks said.
“How can (people) knowingly vote for a government that is going to destroy these people’s lives?”
Ms Fredericks is also hoping Banks local and former Socceroo Craig Foster, who campaigned to free refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi from prison in Thailand, will lend his weight to help to save the family from deportation.
“I don’t want this to become political because we’re talking about a family, who are beautiful souls, but I want people to know they have the power to make their lives better,” Ms Fredericks said.
The family was taken into custody by Australian Border Force officials during a dawn raid last year after their bridging visa expired and have spent the past 14 months in a Melbourne detention centre.
© AAP 2019