Home to Biloela - 16/03/2021

16 March 2021



Since the parliament last met, we have marked a devastating milestone. It is three years that Priya, Nades, Tharunicaa and Kopika have been in immigration detention. It is three years during which they have been robbed not only of their present but of their future—isolated, in unhealthy conditions and denied their basic rights. Five-year-old Tharunicaa has had four teeth surgically removed because of the lack of decent food in detention. These are baby teeth, and she will have to wait for her adult teeth to come through. Kopika was eight months old when this government put her and her family in detention. All she knows is detention. All she knows is her parents desperately trying to make things okay for their little girls, when nothing in their world is okay.

This government could end this with the stroke of a pen. But this is a cruel government that has made an example of this family, with two little girls remaining in detention when they said no children would be in detention by the end of 2019. If we are to be an egalitarian country and if we are to be a country that upholds human rights, as so many of us want us to be, our policies need to change. I am ashamed, as an Australian, that this family is in detention, and I and my Labor colleagues will not stop fighting for them to be sent home to Biloela.