The Tamil asylum-seeking family of four, who had made Biloela in Queensland their home, has been given immediate release from Christmas Island detention and will be granted full Australian citizenship and can live the rest of their lives in Biloela if that is their wish.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton made public the decisions in an emotion-charged media conference in the forecourt of Parliament house at 8am this morning.
Priya, Nades and their daughters , Kopika 4 and Tharunicaa 2, had been living in Biloela in central Queensland, but in 2018 immigration officials transferred them to a Melbourne detention centre. They have been in detention on Christmas Island for quite some time at great expense to the public purse as legal battles raged over the government’s plans to deport them.
Both ministers were clearly emotional as they made the announcement, and hugged each other virtually several times as their media call progressed.
PM Morrison told media: “My government remains resolute and strong on border protection, but we are also resolute and strong on compassion as an essential and vital part of what makes us all kind and caring Australians.”
Frequently wiping away tears, the PM continued: “People smugglers would be well advised not to read anything into this morning’s decision to show decency and compassion for a family whose fight to stay here has gone on far too long and is, to be honest, costing them and this nation far too much both financially and emotionally.
‘The recent court decision [the Federal Court ruled that Tharunicaa who is an Australian by birth had not been afforded procedural fairness in her asylum bid, meaning the family cannot be immediately deported] tells us: Enough is enough.”
Likening the family’s plight to the “mercy rule” that stops one-sided sporting contests, Mr Morrison said simply: “It’s time to put an end to this disturbing and sordid saga. This unnecessary cruelty ends now.”
He repeated the “ends now” slowly in that deliberate, statesmanlike manner he has adopted as the nation’s wartime coronavirus leader.
“Australia has to show the humanity and decency we are renowned for the world over.”
“T h e W o r l d O v e r.”
Mr Dutton backed up his leader, saying simply: “Justice delayed is justice denied.
“But our warning to the people smugglers remains clear. Take nothing from this decision in what is a rare and unusual case.
“If illegal immigrants want to come to Australia, they must do it in the accepted method via international air travel, once such services resume, of course.”
Mr Dutton said the Morrison government remained extremely proud that no boat had ever made its way to an Australian port to put at risk “our people’s very existence and their nation’s sovereignty”.
Sadly, as one of the most decent and compassionate decisions ever taken by the Morrison government was unfolding below, an incident involving a drift of a half-dozen flying pigs that had been moving across the Parliament House at about 1500 metres brought the whole proceedings to a tragic ending.
Just as Mr Dutton was answering an unrelated media question about what happened to his eyebrows, one of the flying pigs, a mature Large White, lost the use of its left wing, causing it to dip suddenly and collide with two almost fully grown juvenile Birkshire sows flying nearby.
All three crashed to earth, killing the Prime Minister and Mr Dutton instantly but not before the PM glanced skywards and shouted: “Sara sama sacka wacka anna cama coocha catcha cama tosa nosa nera tosa camma wacky brown. Goo goo g’joob g’goo goo g’joob. Mau mau mau mau. Um mau mau mau mau. Um mau mau mau mau.”
The Bug has had his final words translated from the Tongue and Mr Morrison was actually saying: “Why now, Jesus Christ my Lord? Just as I’d made the transition from Daggy Dad to much-loved Father of my Nation?”
The Australian Federal Police will not be releasing any names until the next of kin of the three not-so-little dead pigs have been notified.