FIGHT FOR FREEDOM: Bundy locals vigil for Tamil family
More than 30 Bundaberg residents have come together by candlelight, calling for an asylum seeker family with two young Australian-born children to be released from detention.
Friendly protests and vigils were held across Australia on Friday night campaigning to release Priya and Nades Murugappan and their Australian-born daughters Kopika, 5, and Tharunicaa, 3 from a detention centre on Christmas Island.
The Tamil family had been living in Biloela in Central Queensland but were detained by immigration officials in 2018 and have been transferred to various centres ever since.
Alongside members of the Bundaberg community, Karina Anderson participated in the local vigil and thanked everyone for their contributions.
"The heart of Bundaberg shone bright (Friday night) to mark three long years of persecution by the Australian Government to the Tamil family," Ms Anderson said.
"You are welcome to pop in and leave a message on a cockatoo or take one to place in your window, workplace or business.
"As a society we cage children in our detention centres, as a society we jail children and let them sleep on concrete floors - detention is no place for children or any human being.
"Bundaberg we need you to stand up for not only this beautiful family but for human rights for all of us."
Groups of people turned up to write messages of support to the family on paper cockatoos and contribute to the vigil outside of Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt's Bundaberg office.
The Federal MP said he will always respect the right for anyone to protest because that is what it means to live in a democracy.
"However since 2012 the family's claims to engage Australia's protection obligations have been comprehensively assessed on a number of occasions by the Department of Home Affairs and various merits review bodies - the family has consistently been found not to be owed protection," Mr Pitt said.
"Claims that their children are Australian citizens because they were born in Australia are not correct.
"Under the Migration Act children who are born in Australia to parents who are non-Australian citizens, take on the visa status of their parents.
"This is an important provision in the Migration Act as it prevents non-citizens using children as a means to stay in Australia."
Lawyers representing the family continue to fight for their immediate release after the Federal Court upheld a previous ruling last month in relation to the immigration status of their youngest child.