Biloela family: an open letter from the Uniting Church

Uniting Church of Australia Queensland Moderator (state leader), Andrew Gunton, calls on the Australian Government to show compassion to the Biloela family seeking asylum.

We call on the Australian Government to show compassion to the Nadesalingam family and allow them all to permanently return to their home in Biloela.

Biloela is one of our regional Queensland centres which has epitomised Australian hospitality and welcomed the Nadesalingam family with open arms. The family is a real, valued part of that community.

The Uniting Church in Australia Queensland Synod’s position is that people seeking asylum should have their human rights upheld. As people of faith, we believe that every person must be treated with humanity, decency, and with respect for their dignity. We call on the Australian Government to support this family, with compassion, fairness and justice.

We must also ensure that the best interests of the child are a primary consideration in all decisions relating to asylum-seeking children within Australia. The two children of this family were born in Australia, yet a significant part of their lives has been spent in indefinite detention. Separation from their home and community in Biloela will already have had negative consequences on the children’s development and well-being. Any continuation of detention is unjust and unnecessarily punitive.

I urge you to show compassion and end the continued appeals engaged in by the Australian Government in order to deny this family a home in a regional community in Queensland that has welcomed and accepted them. I ask that you urgently allow the Nadesalingam family to reapply for temporary protection visas, and enable them to return to their real home, to contribute to and participate in their local community.

Yours sincerely,

Reverend Andrew Gunton
Uniting Church in Australia, Queensland Synod


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

Continue to pray for a good and just outcome for the Biloela family and our nation.