Government appeal rejected in Biloela case

'There can be no keener revelation of a 
society's soul than the way in which it 
treats its children' - Mandela

A Tamil family who call the Queensland town of Biloela home have had another win in their battle to return to their community.

Priya and Nades Murugappan and their Australian-born daughters Kopika and Tharunicaa, aged five and three, have been in detention on Christmas Island since August 2019 after an urgent injunction put a hold on their deportation.

On Tuesday morning the full bench of the Federal Court rejected an appeal by the federal government over an earlier ruling made by Justice Mark Mochinsky, which found Tharunicaa was denied procedural fairness in making a protection visa application that would have allowed her to remain in Australia.

Justice Mochinsky’s ruling included an order that the federal government cover more than $200,000 in legal costs, after he determined then Immigration Minister David Coleman had lifted a bar to consider a visa application.

Justice Richard White handed down the full bench’s ruling on the appeal on Tuesday morning, dismissing the federal government’s case.

He also rejected a cross-appeal by the family to a second ground which was rejected by Justice Mochinsky.

Each of the hearings has prompted a gathering of the family’s supporters outside court, singing the children’s favourite songs.

Victoria’s lockdown meant that wasn’t allowed on Tuesday.

There is no automatic right of appeal to the High Court from the full bench of the Federal Court.

That means if either party wishes to appeal the case further they must first seek special leave from the High Court.

Australian Associated Press