Biloela tamil family asylum seekers
Protesters at a Brisbane rally in support of the Biloela family (Image: AAP/GLENN HUNT)

BILOELA FIGHT

The case of the Tamil asylum seeker family from Biloela could be undone by the father’s travel history and refugee activism, an immigration lawyer has told the ABC.

Simon Jeans, who has worked with the past 10 immigration ministers and has been following the case closely, said government intervention for the family was unlikely, pointing to the fact that the father, Nadesalingam, had travelled frequently for work between 2004 and 2010, something that would have been difficult if he had links to the Tamil Tigers. Peter Dutton has argued in The Courier-Mail that the family should be returned to Sri Lanka, writing, “They have explained their circumstance to every decision maker and judge … That is that they are not refugees.”

The couple and their Australian-born daughters are due to have their case heard in Melbourne Federal Circuit Court this morning.

VIOLENCE SPIKE

The weekend saw a spike in violence around the world, with a Saudi-led strike on Yemen and an exchange of fire between Israel and Hezbollah, among other clashes. 

Air strikes from the Saudi-led military coalition hit a prison complex in Dhamar, Yemen, killing more than 100 people and destroying a site storing drones and missiles, the ABC reports. The coalition, which has come under criticism for killing civilians, said it took measures to protect civilians and that the assault complied with international law. Meanwhile Israel’s military “responded with fire” into southern Lebanon following a Hezbollah missile attack against an army base, the Nine papers report. Elsewhere, Riot police and protesters faced off at Hong Kong airport, and the Taliban attacked a second Afghan city

BOAT ‘SURGE’

A fishing boat carrying 13 asylum seekers was ­intercepted by ABF personnel west of Christmas ­Island on August 7 and returned home August 18, part of a “surge of people-smuggling activity from Sri Lanka” ($) The Australian reports.

The boat was reportedly the sixth Sri Lankan venture attempted this year, with Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton telling The Courier-Mail that the “threat is very real” ($). The government plans to force a vote on a Medivac repeal bill when parliament resumes next week, heading off a senate committee report into the laws due in October, The Australian reports.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

We’re working very, very long hours, seven days a week, and sometimes putting ourselves at great risk.

Sue Hickey

The Tasmanian speaker has made a submission to the Tasmanian Industrial Commission arguing the speaker deserves more than $190,000.

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CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Inside the last-minute push to save the Biloela family from deportation

“Of course, none of this matters when the plane — which has a tiny Australian flag printed on the tip — starts just rolling onto the tarmac. The Bileola family is detained on-board. The crowd rallies as close as they can before one man makes a break for the fence hole. The man’s caught and pushed back, quickly, but the crowd continues to swarm and he takes another shot, getting further through this time before being yanked back by police and “de-arrested” by comrades. It’s at this point — when the family is on board but not yet departed — that I get a phone call from Rebekah Holt, who, long-time Crikey readers would know, has been instrumental in reporting on the family’s multiple abuses at MITA. Advocates and lawyers have spent the night frantically making calls to prevent what seems like the inevitable.”


‘There was a reason why my son died … And the reason was Pell.’

Last week, after the appeal was quashed, he made a toast to his son with a glass of Chivas Regal, which was given to him by his son on the Christmas before his death. Going through old mementos of his son, he says he’s undeterred by the prospect of Pell appealing to the High Court, and feels that justice will prevail. ‘I used to look at his photo and think, what a waste of a life. Now I look at it and think it was still a waste of a life, but there was a reason why he died. There was a reason why he couldn’t tell us. And the reason was Pell.’”


Eastbound and down: the West joins the Tele in a race to the bottom

“The brassy tabloid front pages that adorn Anthony De Ceglie’s Twitter feed tell the story of what happened to one of Australia’s most boring newspapers when a bright, ambitious 33-year-old editor was brought in to shake things up. Since De Ceglie took over at the helm at the beginning of the year, he’s wasted no time in transforming the paper into a Daily Telegraph-style tabloid: punny, snappy front pages; celebrities and models in feature pictures on page 3; a more national focus. The recent Sydney CBD stabbing attack was given seven pages of coverage at the front of the paper — the same as the Tele.”

THE COMMENTARIAT

Good reasons why Coleman should use ‘God powers’ to let Tamil family stay – Former Department of Immigration deputy secretary Abul Rizvi (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “It’s worth considering the merits of this family being allowed to stay according to the government’s own priorities. First, Australia’s immigration program has a focus on encouraging new migrants to settle in the regions. Our major cities may be bursting with congestion, but many country towns are desperate for new people, particularly young families. This family already – happily and proudly – call regional Queensland home. Second, the government’s new regional visas will almost certainly be undersubscribed. Rather than spend millions of dollars fighting this case, detaining the family and chartering jets to move them from detention centre to detention centre, the government could have just used four of the unused places for this family without any risk of setting so called “dangerous precedents” or “re-starting the boats”.”

Robo-torment might be state-sanctioned extortion ($) – Bill Shorten (The Australian): Labor supports debt recovery. We even support data matching with proper human oversight. But the robo-debt scheme is malfunctioning. National Disability Insur­ance Scheme and Government Services Minister Stuart Robert admits an error rate of at least one in five. Insiders know it is malfunctioning and are covering it up because the government wants the revenue apparently at any cost. Former debt compliance officers in the “boiler rooms” often run by private contractors tell of raising their concerns and being told to press on. They are told if the victims can prove the debts are wrong they will get their money back. The victims are routinely pressured to pay up or face a worse financial fate.”

Defining Australia’s national identity Kevin Rudd (The Saturday Paper): “Political drift doesn’t offer any substantive response to the “great disruptions” now bearing down on us. It just capitulates to them. That’s why it’s now urgent to re-engineer our national imagination and paint the picture of a different future for our country, and then to choose the type of Australia we wish to become. Australia’s political culture tends to look askance at the idea of a national vision. Our reflex instinct is to lampoon the notion that we might actually want to create a better country than the one we have. My argument is that the business of crafting a national vision for Australia’s future is not so much an exercise in high ideals: it’s a matter of urgent, pragmatic policy necessity. The forces arrayed against us in the world are too formidable for us to entertain the luxury of continuing national drift.”

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WHAT’S ON TODAY

National

  • National Landcare Week will begin, with thousands of groups and volunteers working together to care for the land.

  • Legacy Week — the annual appeal to raise awareness and funds for the families of incapacitated and deceased veterans — will commence in towns and cities around the country.

Sydney

  • ACTU Assistant Secretary Scott Connolly will speak to the media, alongside other speakers, to show support for the general strikes in Hong Kong scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

  • UK Commissioner for Police Cressida Dick, will give a Lowy Lecture on the police “licence to operate” in the Digital Age.

  • Anna Fifield, the Beijing bureau chief for The Washington Post and former Seoul correspondent for The Financial Times, will be in conversation with Richard McGregor, a Lowy Institute Senior Fellow about North Korea.

Melbourne

  • Jaymes Todd, who has confessed to the to murder, rape, attempted rape and sexual assault of comedian Eurydice Dixon, will be sentenced in the Supreme Court.

    If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. 

  • The royal commission into police use of informants will begin a new round running until September 20.

  • The Melbourne Fashion Week Forum will host international retail expert Doug Stephens, Australian model Robyn Lawley and others.

Statewide, Queensland

  • Queensland Child Protection Week will be launched.

Oatlands, Tasmania

  • Public consultation into the Tasmanian local government act review will take place.