A government of monsters

By August 31, 2019Australian Politics, Society

Priya and her husband Nadesalingam (known as Nades) came to Australia separately by boat in 2012 and 2013, and their friends and support groups say they fled Sri Lanka because of the persecution of Tamils. After coming to Australia, Priya and Nades met, married and settled in the central Queensland town of Biloela where they lived and worked for about four years. They had two daughters, both born in Australia; the eldest Kopika is now 4, while the youngest, Tharunicaa is now 21.

After their bridging visas expired the previous day, at 5am on the 5th of March, 2018, blackshirted Border Force and Serco guards raided the family home in Biloela, and the family were given 10 minutes to pack their belongings before they were taken away, and driven to a nearby airport before being flown over 1500 km to Melbourne where they have been held in detention ever since. As if this was not enough, when they were driven to the airport, the two little girls travelled in the same van as their mother, Priya, but were not allowed to sit with her; just another little instance of added unnecessary cruelty. While in detention, the youngest daughter, Tharunicaa, took her first steps, and Kopika turned 4 and was not allowed to have a cake2,3.

The federal government said that the family’s status had been under investigation for ‘many years’ and was ultimately found to ‘not to meet Australia’s protection obligations’ and that ‘foreign nationals who do not hold a valid visa and who have exhausted all outstanding avenues to remain in Australia are expected to depart voluntarily to their country of citizenship’. If they do not depart voluntarily, they ‘will be subject to detention and removal from Australia’3.

The family had an appeal against their proposed deportation rejected by the Federal Circuit Court in June 2018, and the judge noted that Nades had travelled to Sri Lanka on three occasions and there was no evidence to suggest his family in Sri Lanka was at risk of persecution. However, it has been stated by an advocate for the family that all their family are either dead, killed or have left Sri Lanka as refugees and are in other countries. An application to appeal to the High Court was denied3.

On Thursday last (August 29), just after 8.00pm the ‘Home to Bilo’ advocacy group tweeted that the family were being deported and were taken to Melbourne Airport without any warning. Even this time the two little girls were put in one van while their mother travelled in a different van; yet another added gratuitous bit of cruelty. The plane, with the family on board departed just before 11.00pm. However, an interim injunction was granted over the phone, to prevent them leaving the country. The plane landed in Darwin shortly before 3.00am on Friday, and the family were taken from it and were held in a hotel at the airport. On Friday morning, the Federal Court ruled that the youngest daughter, Tharunicaa, could not be deported until 4.00pm on Wednesday, 4th of September1.

On Friday, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said he wanted the family to accept they were not refugees and wouldn’t be able to stay in Australia. As the family’s lawyer Carina Ford said, “it’s now up to the Government to decide if they will proceed with the removal of other family members” and that “it would be pretty inhumane to separate the family at this time”. So what did the government do? It moved them all to Christmas Island detention centre5. This was to keep them out of the view of their supporters; just another vindictive action.

Why would the Morrison government do this? Why would they send a small family, including their young children, to a country they have never known, away from a town in which they have integrated and obtained employment? Is it because they are not white people? Is it because they are not Christians? Is it because they are not au-pairs for their mates?5

The Oxford English Dictionary has, as one of the definitions of the word ‘monster’ as: “A person of repulsively unnatural character, or exhibiting such extreme cruelty or wickedness as to appear inhuman”6. In this case it seems to perfectly describe the people who are party to this inhuman treatment of this family. We have a government of monsters.

Even worse, is that the members of the government cover their disgusting behaviour with a façade of Christian piety. It is no wonder that people are leaving the churches in droves, because many of them are people with empathy and compassion (qualities so alien to Dutton and Morrison), and can readily spot a money-grubbing, power hungry fraud. As Timothy Egan from the New York Times says, these church leavers come to “hate religion because, at a moment to stand up and be counted on the right side of history, religion is used as moral cover for despicable behaviour7,8. Amen.


  1. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-30/who-are-tamil-family-from-biloela-why-are-they-being-deported/11463276
  2. https://chuffed.org/project/kopika
  3. https://www.sbs.com.au/news/sri-lankan-asylum-seeker-family-given-10-minutes-to-leave-in-border-force-raid
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/aug/31/biloela-tamil-asylum-seeker-family-moved-to-christmas-island
  5. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-19/emails-show-role-peter-dutton-played-in-au-pair-visas/10282822
  6. https://www.oed.com/viewdictionaryentry/Entry/121738
  7. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/30/opinion/trump-religion.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
  8. https://www.rawstory.com/2019/08/mike-pence-scorched-as-a-prime-example-of-why-people-hate-religion/#.XWmvXAQUxxA.twitter


  • Jon says:

    Hard to know which of our recent “Christian” con leaders is the biggest hypocrite. For my money there’s not a struck match between Morrison and the Mad Monk. What I think of Dutton is unprintable.

    Where is the outrage from Church leaders? What has the Australian Christian Lobby had to say? No doubt they’re both too busy to take an interest in such trifles. Shoring up your freedom to discriminate and ignore civil laws, and taking an unnatural interest in the sex lives of others are very time consuming pastimes. Anything from Julian Porteous or has he lost his tongue like most “Christian” leaders in this country?

    • admin says:

      I have asked a few church leaders (indirectly) online, but have hear nothing except references to Father Bob Maguire and Rod Bower (both of whom I follow). They seem to be among the very few christians these days who actually follow the supposed teachings of JC. The others are only concerned about power and money.

  • Mark Dougall says:

    This family have been used as pawns in a cynical political exercise. Everything the government has done, and is doing, is designed to give this maximum exposure. The issue is seen as a vote winner, and in the past this has proven to be the case. Contrast this with recent cases of people who have been allowed to stay in Australia, thanks to the discretion of the Minister, or an arrangement by the government, even when they have breached visa conditions, or where there are serious questions about refugee status, and even possible criminality, including mass murder. These approvals, and almost certainly many others we are not aware of, are done quietly, sneakily. This family could have been allowed to stay and no-one would even have known, or cared. Everything about this case has been orchestrated for maximum publicity. They knew people would be outraged, particularly as small children are involved. They knew what the response would be, and they welcomed it. The message is not for people smugglers. It is for the “quiet Australians” who, Morrison and Dutton think, will applaud them for their “tough and principled” approach. It also is a distraction from the increasingly negative economic outlook. It is cynical, nasty gutter politics.

  • Russell says:

    Mark D is right onto the ugly reality behind this pathetic action by Adolf Nutton. But are the so-called “quiet Australians” just a phantom, not really there in the sense that the LNP feds didn’t have such a fabulous win this year that they can afford too much negative policy. I know harshness, letter-of-law nastiness etc works better for them on immigration and their pet refugee / illegals rants, but they had better get smarter on issues like Indigenous constitutional acknowledgment, on climate change, on universities and on China issues. A lot of people still want full discussion and progressive policy in those areas. And the economy isn’t exactly roaring despite the beat-up of any miniscule positive sign. Trouble is, the press and conservative TV outlets don’t highlight those other voter millions – the “realist, concerned Australians”. What we get fed and what some less critical, thinking folk lap up and then reflect back into social life, is the far right’s capitalist corporate world view and warped ethics, the crudity and denialism of many in the LNP. “Quiet Aussies” is an interesting term: its real meaning is “those who accept getting spoken down to with black-or-white cliched notions of moral matters, think loud macho stances by the PM and Dutton mean strength in policy, and who watch sad simpletons like Bolt and schlock-horror churnalism in The Deathly Terrorgraph etc.”

    • admin says:

      I sometimes think that the ‘quiet Australians’ are in fact the people that One Notion dragged away from the Liberals and Nationals. The Liberals are in a terminal quandary in that they realise that the Australian populace is becoming more progressive, less religious and fed up with neoliberal economics. Their ideology will not allow them to jettison the last of these, nor the first. And the middle one scares the bejesus out of them (excuse pun).

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