'It's torture': Biloela family awaits high court decision
ONE hour before a former Biloela family could have been deported to Sri Lanka, they were told they had more time to plea for freedom.
At 4pm Friday afternoon, the court order preventing the deportation of Biloela couple Priya and Nades and their daughters - Kopika, 3, and Tharunicaa, 1 - was due to expire.
The family has been held at a Melbourne detention centre since March 5 after Priya's bridging visa expired.
In December their latest appeal was dismissed in the Federal Court and they were told they could be deported at any time from February 2.
Biloela woman Angela Fredericks said at about 3pm yesterday the Department of Home Affairs said Priya and Kopika would not be removed until their special-leave application for the matter to be heard in the High Court was finalised.
"It's torture. We found out at the last minute," she said.
Ms Fredericks said the announcement gave her and the "hundreds of thousands" of the family's supporters more time to rally for their release.
"Today and last night I was feeling very sick because we just don't know what (the ministers) are thinking," she said.
"I think that's the real scary thing, how much power these men hold."
Ms Fredericks said the application for asylum was for Priya and Kopika because Nades's application had been heard and dismissed in the High Court.
She said when Priya's application was made Tharunicaa was not born and that when the youngest daughter was born there was a bar on applications for asylum.
Nades and Priya fled war in Sri Lankan and arrived in Australia separately by boat in 2012 and 2013.
Here they met, married and had two daughters.
They were two of the 50,000 illegal maritime arrivals in Australia between 2008-2013 who received bridging visas and were released into communities while their applications for protection were heard.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has refused to intervene.
"We're trying to keep them here until at least the election because the family's fate is up to the minister," Ms Fredericks said.