Minister urged to use discretionary powers to show compassion to Sri Lankan Tamil family

The Government should use the discretionary power allowed within the Migration Act to grant a visa to the Murugappan family, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

“The decision to re-unite this family in Perth is only a small step in the right direction,” said Mr Greg Barns SC, spokesperson for the Australian Lawyers Alliance. “They are still in community detention and far from their home in Queensland. They are stuck in limbo subject to the Minister’s discretion.

“Ministers regularly use their discretionary power to allow visas for people whose circumstances may not fit within the usual parameters of the law. It has been done before and can be done again.

“This discretionary power is available for such circumstances and this certainly seems to be the right time to behave within the spirit of the law and act with humanity.

“The Minister should acknowledge that this family has suffered enough, show them compassion and use his power to grant them a visa to stay in Australia. The Minister has the power right now to allow this family to return to their home in Biloela.

“The hard-line approach being taken by the Government shows no humanity or compassion, and we are concerned that the Government will now take an even harsher approach to asylum seekers just to reinforce their ‘tough on asylum seeker’ public position.

“The treatment of the Murugappan family by the Australian Government is shameful.”

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