Happy Birthday Kopika - 12/05/2020

12 May 2020



I will rise tonight to talk about the global coronavirus pandemic, but first I want to talk about a little girl who is turning five today. Kopika, I want to wish you a very happy fifth birthday, and your family. Sadly, although she was born here in Australia, Kopika, her parents, Priya and Nades and her two-year-old sister, Tharunicaa, are marking this day in immigration detention at Christmas Island. It is the third birthday that Kopika has had in detention. Torn away from the community where they had made their home in Biloela in Queensland, tonight this family remains in limbo with no certainty as to their future or whether they will be deported. They have had the last two years stolen from them by this government. These little girls and their parents have suffered to a level that is hard to fathom. There is no reason for this except that the Morrison government is wanting to make a point at the expense of this family. With the stroke of a pen the government could end this and this family could return to Biloela where their community are lobbying tirelessly for their return.

I again add my voice to Labor's calls on the government to please show compassion and justice to this family, to end their agony and to welcome them back into the Australian community. I add my voice to say that no little girl in Australia should celebrate their birthday in detention, because no little girl should be in detention. No family should be treated like this in this country. To Kopika and your family, I want to let you know that so many Australians care about you and so many people in Canberra write to me about your situation all the time. I want to again wish you a special day on their behalf.