Baptists of Biloela, and around Australia say 'Let the Nadesalingam family stay'

Baptists around Australia have sent a letter to the PM, the Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke and Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews and the new deputy PM Barnaby Joyce saying “Let the Nadesalingam family stay in Australia.”

The letter organised by Baptist Minister Rev Megan Powell du Toit, co-host of the With All Due Respect podcast and  Director of The WADR Project, makes the case: “As Baptist leaders and members, we ask for you to provide safety and security for Nades and Priya and their daughters, Kopika and Tharnicaa, by giving them a permanent visa for Australia. This will enable them to return to Biloela, a community in which they have developed close ties and been loved and welcome members.

“We thank you for the compassionate decision to allow them to stay in community detention in Perth while Tharnicaa is in hospital. However, this still leaves them with an uncertain future. Returning to Sri Lanka would put them at significant risk, given the continuing torture and mistreatment of Tamils there.”

The letter is signed by members of the Baptist Church in Biloela where the Nadesalingam family used to live, as well as senior Baptists from around Australia as well as elders, members and attenders of Baptist Churches.

The letter makes the point that the Baptists’ concern for the family rises out of Christian conviction. “The Australian people have been voicing a rightly deep compassion and concern for this family in asking for them to be able to stay and be part of our Australian community. As Christians, we feel our faith compels us to join this large chorus of voices. The Christian faith asks us to give special consideration to the most vulnerable in our world. To children. To people who find themselves homeless because of fleeing danger.”

The signatories include:

  • ‘Rev Daniel Gardiner, President, Baptist Churches of South Australia,
  • Rev Melissa Lipsett, acting CEO, Baptist World Aid Australia
  • Rev Ian Altman, State Director, Scripture Union NSW, minister, Baptist Churches of NSW & ACT
  • Dr Karen Walker, Immediate Past President, Baptist Churches of SA
  • Rev Dr Michael Frost, Lecturer, Morling College, Baptist Churches of NSW & ACT

Eternity incudes this sample of names – only a few of the well-known names – to indicate the letter has gathered strong support within the Baptist movement. The full text and list are here.


This article (and the letter) originally referred to the family as the Murugappan family, but having been made aware of the following update from the Home to Bilo campaign we are retrospectively editing our articles:

“This family’s name is Nadesalingam. Tamil people commonly take the husband/father’s first name as their family name, in preference to surnames which are closely associated with castes.

For many years, the #HometoBilo campaign avoided using Nades, Priya, Kopika and Tharnicaa’s full names, for fear that this would further compromise the family’s safety and security if the former government forced them to danger in Sri Lanka.

We are grateful to journalists and media outlets who are addressing the family using the correct family name, Nadesalingam.”


Some prayer points to help

Pray for a just resolution for the Murugappan family.