Tamil family cleared to return home to Biloela after 1544 days in detention.
A family of Tamil asylum seekers who captured the hearts of Australians has been permitted to return to their home in the regional Queensland town of Biloela on bridging visas.
Nadesalingam and Priya Murugappan fled Sri Lanka after the country's civil war, arriving separately on people-smuggling vessels in 2012 and 2013.
Home Affairs Minister Jim Chalmers said on Friday he had exercised his power under Section 195A of the Migration Act.
"The effect of my intervention enables the family to return to Biloela, where they can reside lawfully in the community on bridging visas while they work towards the resolution of their immigration status, in accordance with Australian law," he said in a statement.
"I have spoken to the family and wished them well for their return."
The couple met in Australia and married in 2014, and both were granted temporary visas settling in Biloela, where they had two daughters, Kopika, 6, and Tharunicaa, 4.
Nades worked at the local meatworks and Priya was a community volunteer.
In March 2018, immigration officers took the family from their Biloela home after Priya's bridging visa expired and Nades' refugee status claim was rejected.
They were taken to a detention centre in Melbourne.
This sparked a national campaign for the family to be allowed to stay in Australia and return to Biloela.
In late August 2019, the coalition government put the family on a plane bound for Sri Lanka.
But their deportation was sensationally halted mid-flight when a Federal Court judge granted a last-minute injunction.
The plane was forced to land in Darwin and the family was moved to the Christmas Island detention centre.
Facing pressure from community groups, lawyers, doctors and politicians, and with Tharunicaa needing medical care, immigration minister Alex Hawke announced in June 2021 the family would live in suburban Perth under a community detention placement while legal action continued.
But he insisted the decision would not create a pathway to a visa.
In September, 12-month bridging visas were granted to Pria, Nades and Kopika, but not to Tharunicaa, which still meant the family could not return to Biloela.
Dr Chalmers said Biloela was a "big-hearted and welcoming Queensland town" that had embraced the family.
Speaking with the Murugappan family about my decision today as interim Home Affairs Minister to enable them to return #HometoBilo, the big-hearted QLD town which has embraced them so warmly #auspol pic.twitter.com/uw6vlZV2co— Jim Chalmers MP (@JEChalmers) May 27, 2022
Pre-empting a response from the coalition, he noted the Labor government remained committed to Operation Sovereign Borders and keeping people smugglers out of business.
"Australian border protection authorities will intercept any vessel seeking to reach Australia illegally, and safely return those on board to their point of departure or country of origin."
Kon Karapanagiotidis, founder and CEO of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, welcomed the decision.
"May this be a turning point for how we treat all refugee families and not just a symbolic act," he said.
The home of the Muragappan family is the beautiful community of Biloela.— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) May 27, 2022
It’s wonderful news that they will be allowed to return to their home, finally.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the cost to the family's health and the economic cost of their detention provided a clear reason to resolve the case.
"You can have strong borders without being weak on humanity," he said on Friday before the decision was announced.
A friend and advocate for the family Bronwyn Dendle says the Biloela community was eagerly awaiting the decision following Labor's announcement during the election campaign to help the family if it won government.
"They've been watching the news just like everybody else to hear what's coming," Ms Dendle told Sky News on Friday.
"They would definitely be welcomed back with open arms and all of Biloela is just relieved that this has come to pass and that they (could be) allowed home.
"We are that town in central Queensland that stands up for their mates and leaves no one behind."
- With AAP
Actor Ray Liotta has died suddenly at 67-year's-old.
US actor Ray Liotta, who is best known for his roles in Goodfellas and Field of Dreams, has died aged 67.
His publicist, Jennifer Allen, said he passed away in his sleep while filming his new movie, Dangerous Waters, in the Dominican Republic.
Tributes have poured in from Hollywood actors including Robert De Niro, Seth Rogen and Alessandro Nivola.
I am utterly shattered to hear this terrible news about my Ray.— Lorraine Bracco (@Lorraine_Bracco) May 26, 2022
I can be anywhere in the world & people will come up & tell me their favorite movie is Goodfellas. Then they always ask what was the best part of making that movie. My response has always been the same…Ray Liotta. pic.twitter.com/3gNjJFTAne
I can’t believe Ray Liotta has passed away. He was such a lovely, talented and hilarious person. Working with him was one of the great joys of my career and we made some of my favorite scenes I ever got to be in. A true legend of immense skill and grace.— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) May 26, 2022
We will never forget the great times we had working with our friend Ray Liotta on Muppets From Space and Muppets Most Wanted. A tough guy on screen, Ray was one of the sweetest, funniest souls we’ve ever known. Rest in Peace, Ray.— The Muppets (@TheMuppets) May 26, 2022
Ray Liotta could play in Good Fellas as a vicious gangster and could play as a lovable character in the Muppets. He was amazing actor, man, and great friend. pic.twitter.com/2hzErLHKO3— Danny Trejo (@officialDannyT) May 26, 2022
Rest In Peace Ray Liotta— Denzel Curry (@denzelcurry) May 26, 2022
Liotta was engaged to be married to Jacy Nittolo, and had one daughter from his previous marriage.
Fresh assault allegation at Parliament House, and all the news you need to know this morning.
Here are the top news stories you need to know this morning, Friday May 27.
Warning: This post deals with domestic violence and assault and may be triggering for some people.
1. Federal parliament at centre of fresh assault allegation.
An investigation has been launched after a woman was allegedly assaulted by her male co-worker at Parliament House in Canberra.
Police confirmed in a statement on Thursday they received a report of a man assaulting a woman in December last year.
The people involved were employed at parliament house at the time but are not politicians or political staff.
An ACT policing spokesman said the incident involved "building support staff" and was reported in March.
"Specialist investigators from the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Team have spoken to the complainant and they have advised they do not wish to proceed with an investigation," he told AAP.
A Department of Parliamentary Services spokeswoman said an investigation into the incident was underway.
The incident occurred within a year of News Corp revealing Brittany Higgins, a former Liberal staffer, was allegedly raped in Linda Reynolds' ministerial office in March 2019.
Meanwhile, Queensland MP Melissa McMahon has opened up about her harrowing childhood of sexual abuse as she takes a leave of absence from parliament.
The Labor member for Macalister in Logan, south of Brisbane, told parliament she was first sexually abused at age five and can "still vividly remember the first, the second time this occurred to me, but mercifully after that it is a blur."
"Most afternoons I was shopped around the neighbourhood to other teenagers and often exchanged for a can of soft drink... I could not tell you how many perpetrators were involved. I could not even quantify how long it lasted."
McMahon said at the age of nine she looked at "the face of pure evil" when placed in the care of a convicted child sex offender through her church.
"My hours after school became a personal hell, but I had been through this before and my survival skills kicked in - don't cry, don't move, don't say a word."
‘I will recover loudly so others don’t die quietly’: Queensland MP recounts horrific abuse https://t.co/G5aFezTfQt— Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus) May 26, 2022
2. Witness says Chris Dawson slammed his wife into a door.
A former babysitter says she saw Chris Dawson being violent, including a time when he allegedly grabbed his wife Lynette and slammed her into a doorframe at their Sydney home.
Giving evidence at Dawson's murder trial yesterday, the witness, referred to as BM, said that in 1980 she saw Dawson grab his wife by the arm and swing her into their daughters' bedroom.
"Lynette was also like a ragdoll because he was a lot bigger and as he grabbed her and swung her, she actually collected the doorframe with her shoulder and possibly her head," BM told the NSW Supreme Court.
Another witness, Roslyn McLoughlin told the court yesterday she allegedly saw Lynette with bruises on her leg and arms during one of their regular tennis sessions just before Christmas 1981.
"She had a large probably grapefruit-sized bruise on her thigh... She had some bruises on her arms," she said.
Lynette was quite distressed and had allegedly begged McLoughlin to return home with her, Justice Ian Harrison was told. McLoughlin said she felt bad about not going back to the Dawsons' home in Bayview, Sydney, at the time.
Dawson has pleaded not guilty to the murder of his wife.
3. Guns to be banned during Donald Trump's speech at the NRA conference.
A convention held by The National Rifle Association in America will go ahead, after a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school killed 19 students and two teachers.
Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to speak at the NRA's Annual Leadership Forum in Texas on Friday. However, audience members won't be able to carry guns during his address.
According to the NRA, the Secret Service will take control of the hall during Trump's speech and will not permit firearms, firearm accessories or knives, among other items.
The NRA released a statement yesterday saying the convention would still go ahead despite the shooting.
"Although an investigation is underway and facts are still emerging, we recognise this was the act of a lone, deranged criminal," the statement read.
"As we gather in Houston, we will reflect on these events, pray for the victims, recognise our patriotic members, and pledge to redouble our commitment to making our schools secure."
4. 18,000 Catholic school teachers in NSW and ACT to strike today.
18,000 teachers and support staff from 540 Catholic diocesan schools in NSW and the ACT are preparing to strike for 24-hours over pay and conditions.
The Independent Education Union says its members will stop work today to march at 10 rallies throughout NSW and the ACT, in the first full-day stoppage by Catholic school teachers in 18 years.
The union wants a pay increase of 10 to 15 per cent over two years, less paperwork, more pupil-free time for planning and an end to staff shortages.
The IEU, which represents 32,000 teachers and support staff throughout NSW and the ACT, will have to wait until next month's NSW budget to see if teachers get a significant pay rise.
Premier Dominic Perrottet has flagged the government will lift its 2.5 per pay cap, in place since 2011, for frontline workers in the June 21 budget.
The pay cap applies to public servants and while Catholic employers are not bound by it, they typically take their cue from it.
5. Kevin Spacey charged with sexual assault.
Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey has been charged with four counts of sexual assault against three men, the UK's Crown Prosecution Service says.
"He has also been charged with causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent. The charges follow a review of the evidence gathered by the Metropolitan Police in its investigation."
BREAKING: UK prosecutors charged Kevin Spacey with 4 counts of sexual assault against 3 men.— AJ+ (@ajplus) May 26, 2022
The actor has faced multiple sexual harassment lawsuits, some from victims alleging abuse when they were 14. A theater in London has received 20+ allegations of misconduct by Spacey. pic.twitter.com/KS9fRFrmz6
In November 2017, London's Old Vic theatre said it had received 20 separate allegations of inappropriate conduct by Spacey from 20 men who came into contact with him at the theatre, or in connection with it, between 1995 and 2013.
Spacey, who was once one of Hollywood's biggest stars, was dropped from the TV show House of Cards and removed from the movie All the Money in the World after the accusations of sexual misconduct came to light.
The 62-year-old has previously denied all accusations of misconduct.
That's all the top news stories you need to know this morning.
If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.
You can also call safe steps 24/7 Family Violence Response Line on 1800 015 188 or visit www.safesteps.org.au for further information.
The Men’s Referral Service is also available on 1300 766 491 or via online chat at www.ntv.org.au.www.ntv.org.au.
- With AAP.
Wagatha Christie: Can you ever forgive a friend who betrays you?
It's been nearly three years since 'WAG' Coleen Rooney kicked off what has been dubbed the 'Wagatha Christie' scandal, after she set a trap for and then outed fellow 'WAG' Rebekah Vardy for allegedly selling fake stories about her to the British tabloids.
Now the case is in the High Court after Rebekah claimed Coleen had defamed her.
The Quicky speaks to one of our own experts on British news and a relationship guru, to find out why this case has dominated headlines around the world, and if and how we can repair our own friendships after someone has really let us down.
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Feature Image: Twitter@McMahonMF_MP/AAP/Getty