National News

Tamil family feeling isolated, friend says

A Tamil couple and their children are feeling stressed and isolated as they await the next step in their battle to stay in Australia, a supporter says.

Priya, Nades and their Australian-born daughters remain in detention on Christmas Island as the federal government resists calls not to deport the family to Sri Lanka.

About 5000km away in Melbourne, the Federal Court will hold yet another hearing on Wednesday after the government was earlier restrained from ejecting the family until at least 4pm on September 18.

It's unclear what the outcome of the hearing will be.

But supporters including Angela Fredericks hope the court will order a full and final test of the youngest child's case for legal protection.

She says the family must be returned to Melbourne if that happens because the couple will need access to their lawyers, and their girls Tharunicaa Murugappan, 2, and Kopika, 4, are suffering the effects of social isolation.

"This family is just so isolated on Christmas Island. I'm seeing the impact on the girls more than ever," she told AAP on Tuesday.

"When they were in detention in Melbourne at least there were a couple of other kids in the centre, and they'd get visits from children. Now, they have no children around them whatsoever."

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has said it could be months before the case is resolved because lawyers will use delaying tactics to try to force the government to change its mind.

He has accused the family of dragging their children through the legal system even though a succession of courts has found the couple and their oldest child are not refugees.

The government argues it cannot make an exception because the couple came to Australia by boat and letting them stay could restart the people smuggling trade.

But there is widespread community support for the family, who fled Sri Lanka after the civil war and say they are at risk of persecution if they go back.

The family lived in the Queensland town of Biloela before they wound up in an immigration detention in Melbourne and the community has fought hard for their return.

A GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the family has attracted almost $104,000 since it was launched two weeks ago. And an online petition supporting a return to Biloela has more than 250,000 signatures.

© AAP 2019