OBSTINATE autism is not national security. Like most, I’ve paid only occasional attention to the predicament of the Murugappan family – Nades, Priya and their daughters, Tharnicaa, 4, and Kopika, 6 – since the exhaustion of their legal claims. The highest courts in the land have found unambiguously that the couple are not entitled to asylum and cannot stay in Australia. The August 2019 mid-air injunction that stopped their deportation and landed them in Darwin became a phase-two tilt at securing a return to Biloela. What the Federal Court wouldn’t allow – permanent residency – the family’s supporters hoped to win via political lobbying. The new dilemma – Tharnicaa’s medical evacuation from Christmas Island to Perth earlier this month – makes the case impossible for the Federal government to administratively shoo.
After seven years, it’s time for the government to call it a day and let them stay.
No, they’re not genuine refugees and, yes, leap-frogging the law-abiding was no trivial offence. But I do think they’re genuine human beings with two genuine Australian children. Tharnicaa and Kopika are not Sri Lankans and shouldn’t be punished for what their parents did. They are clearly well-regarded in a CQ town that isn’t exactly fighting off newcomers.
To the classic sovereign borders argument made today in Parliament by Michael McCormack (and by others many times before), there is no respectable rebuttal. You only have to look at how quickly America’s southern border has once again become a chaotic turnstile under Joe Biden to know that. But reality is messy. A great country should forgive and make prudent exceptions. The behaviour of our governments over the past year has threatened my liberty more than the Murugappans ever will.