- DEMI LYNCH -
Do you remember your child’s first day of school?
Did you take photos of them in their brand new uniform carrying their backpack and lunchbox?
Did you cry when you dropped them off at the school gate?
Priya Tamil is a mother of two and her eldest will start preschool this Monday.
But she won’t get to be there on her daughter’s big day.
Her 4 year old daughter, Kopika, has to be escorted by armed guards on her first day of preschool because her family is detained on Christmas Island.
Family friend Amanda Fredericks told the media Kopika is very excited about seeing her friends at school but the mother is experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions.
“I know Priya is starting to feel some fear, while at the same time she is really excited to see her little girl start at a safe school,” Amanda said.
Kopika's father, Nadesalingam, will be with her and the armed guards on Monday as authorities have only allowed one parent to come with her on her first day of school.
The Tamil family have been in detention for almost two years and have been detained on Christmas Island since August last year.
They are the only people detained at the $26.8 m Christmas Island Detention Centre.
The family for 4 are forced to sleep altogether on a queen size bed while 109 staff maintain the centre.
Priya and her husband Nadesalingam are both asylum seekers that came to Australia by boat in 2012 and 2013 as Sri Lanka was experiencing a civil war.
Since arriving in Australia the couple started a family and had two girls, Tharunicaa and Kopika.
For four years they raised their daughters in the Central Queensland town Biloela until Priya's bridging visa ran out in March 2018.
The government rejected their claims for a refugee status and tried to deport the family to Sri Lanka but was blocked by the courts.
But things could be getting worse for the Tamil family.
Thousands of international travellers are trapped in China as the country is experiencing a coronavirus outbreak.
132 people have been killed by the virus in China and nearly 6,000 people have been infected.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced today more than 600 Australians are trapped in Wuhan, China (the city hardest hit by the virus).
He told the press they will be evacuated from the city and kept in quarantine for 14 days on Christmas Island.
However, there has been no mention of how this will affect the Tamil family.
Could they now be at risk of being infected by the deadly virus?
The family's lawyer Carina Ford has expressed her concern for the wellbeing of the Tamil family and believes they should be transferred before the evacuees arrive on Christmas Island.
"It's not appropriate for them to remain on Christmas Island if you're [Scott Morrison] quarantining people near them for the purpose of keeping them away from everyone else," she said, "There are two children and it's quite well-publicised that such viruses can have a bigger impact on children and the elderly."
Neither the Prime Minister nor the Department of Home Affairs have commented on the circumstances surrounding the Tamil family.
Announcer & Producer of 'The Nasty Woman Club Podcast'
Co-Producer & Co-Announcer of Radio 4EB program 'Fair Comment'