The Foreign Minister says the government is not looking at resettling the “Biloela family” in Australia, hours after the mother made a plea to return to central Queensland from her daughter’s hospital bed in Perth.
- The government is considering resettling the family in New Zealand or the United States
- The family’s mother has made a plea for them to return to Biloela in central Queensland
- She thanked supporters for their “love and good wishes”
Speaking on Nine Radio this afternoon, Marise Payne said Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews’s office was considering where to resettle the family, who have been held in immigration detention on Christmas Island since August 2019.
“I understand that there are two options that are being looked at,” she said.
“I understand the United States is the first of those and that New Zealand is also an option.”
But Senator Payne refused to provide any further detail.
“I wouldn’t want to speculate I don’t think that’s appropriate in another minister’s portfolio but I do know the Minister for Home Affairs has indicated there’s two options there,” she said.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Ms Andrews said potential resettlement in either of the two countries applied “to all those in detention waiting for resettlement”.
“Minister Andrews has said the details of the NZ offer are still being worked through and that the US resettlement options are the priority at the moment,” they said.
Tharnicaa was transferred off Christmas Island to receive medical attention in Perth.(Supplied: Change.org
The Foreign Minister’s comments came hours after the mother of three-year-old Tharnicaa Murugappan, Priya, made an emotional plea for help to return to their Queensland home in Biloela.
Tharnicaa Murugappan was flown to Perth Children’s Hospital last night after experiencing vomiting, diarrhoea and dizziness for several days.
Family friend Angela Fredericks said she had been diagnosed with sepsis and pneumonia.
Ms Murugappan released a short video of herself in hospital holding Tharnicaa in her arms as she reads from a statement.
I want to thank everybody for their love and good wishes,” she said.
I hope that Tharnicaa can get the help she needs now. Please, help us to get her out of detention and home to Biloela.”
Pneumonia left untreated
Earlier on Tuesday, legal representatives said Priya, and Tharnicaa’s father Nadesalingam, also known as Nades, had lobbied for the whole family to go to hospital with their Australian-born daughter as she was evacuated but the request was denied.
Ms Fredericks said she remained concerned for Tharnicaa’s wellbeing.
A three-year-old girl should not be developing pneumonia,” Ms Fredericks said.
Tharnicaa is being treated for sepsis and pneumonia, a family friend says.(Supplied
“Priya and Nades have been telling detention centre staff since 2019 that the Christmas Island facilities are not suitable.
“Now, Tharni has developed pneumonia. To make matters worse, the condition was left untreated as they begged for proper medical care.
Hospital stay may be lengthy: McGowan
Premier Mark McGowan said Tharnicaa may have to remain in hospital “for a considerable period”.
As we know, this illness is very dangerous.
She’ll receive all of the medical attention that she needs to get her better and I dont know how long that will take.
It may take days, it may take weeks.”
Asked what could be done to help the family, Mr McGowan said it was not in his power.
In terms of the arrangements beyond that, that is not something that is within our control, that’s within the Commonwealth control,” he told journalists.
I just urge them to resolve the issues regarding this family as soon as possible.”
The family have been at the centre of a long-running legal stoush with the federal government over their deportation to Sri Lanka.
Tharnicaa and her older sister Kopika were both born in Australia.
Their parents came to Australia separately by boat in 2012 and 2013.
In 2018, Australian Border Force officials took the family from their home in Biloela in central Queensland and placed them in custody after their visas expired.