The Murugappan family was denied a visa in 2018 to remain in Australia, before being thrown into immigration detention.
In 2019, they were transferred to Christmas Island – a process which has already cost a total of $6.7 million.
Tharnicaa, four, is currently in a Perth hospital, which she was flown to last week after suffering sepsis caused by untreated pneumonia.
Greens leader Adam Bandt has slammed the federal government’s “cruel” handling of a refugee family’s immigration case, while calling for changes to the nation’s asylum seeker laws.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is facing growing calls to immediately release a Tamil family, who lived in Biloela, from detention and returned to their Queensland home.
Priya and Nades Murugappan – and their two Australian-born children Kopika and Tharnicaa – have sought refuge in Australia since 2012.
Camera IconTharnicaa Murugappan, four, is currently in a Perth hospital. Supplied Credit: News Regional Media
While the Murugappan family has lost their attempts to gain refugee status, the Federal Court ruled earlier this year Tharnicaa had been denied procedural fairness.
Mr Bandt said it highlighted Australia’s flawed asylum seeker policy.
“Generally what this has shown is that Australia’s refugee policy is built on putting four-year-olds in hospital,” he told ABC Insiders on Sunday.
“It is based on systematic cruelty towards people who come here, seeking our help, and the big part of the reason that we are in this situation where this young girl had to be transferred to hospital in a very serious condition is because of offshore detention.
“What this particular case has shown is Australia’s refugee policy … is based on putting people like this in effective prisons.”
Camera IconAdam Bandt appeared on ABC Insiders on Sunday. ABC Credit: News Corp Australia
On Sunday, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) wrote an open letter signed by nine peak medical groups calling for release of the Murugappan family.
RACP acting president and paediatrician, Dr Jacqueline Small released a statement: “We know that Australia’s detention program is harmful to the physical and mental health of those held, especially children,” she said.
“We are extremely concerned that this family has been held in indefinite detention for more than 1000 days.”
Mr Bandt said the family’s case should never have happened because asylum seekers who have children in Australia should be allowed to settle permanently.
“I think you should be able to stay, but we need a broader rethink,” he said.