DIGEST

The Informer: Biloela Tamil family receives backing from Australian Government MPs

Protesters urging the federal government to allow an asylum seeking family to return to Biloela in rural Queensland. Picture: Getty Images
Protesters urging the federal government to allow an asylum seeking family to return to Biloela in rural Queensland. Picture: Getty Images

Two federal government MPs have voiced support for a Tamil family detained on Christmas Island after the Australian Border Force removed them from the rural Queensland town of Biloela in 2018, saying it's time they were brought back to the mainland.

Indicating a possible shift inside government on the fate of the Murugappan family, North Sydney MP Trent Zimmerman has said that while the case was "very complicated", support for them in the Australian community was "overwhelming".

Immigration minister Alex Hawke will consider an application in the coming weeks to use his powers to give an exemption to the Tamil family, he told ABC News on Saturday.

LNP Queensland MP Ken O'Dowd, whose seat takes in Biloela, has reportedly also spoken out in favour of bringing the family back to mainland Australia.

The support comes following recent media coverage of Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews' hardline stance about the family's situation.

In police news, the largest criminal intelligence-gathering and illicit drug-busting operation in the history of the Australian Federal Police has put the kingpins of the established drug importation business on the back foot.

Operation Ironside, which began nearly three years ago, made major inroads this week with more than 250 alleged offenders across the nation charged, 971kg of illicit drugs uncovered and $16.8m in cash seized.

It comes as wastewater analysis last year revealed Australians collectively consumed a staggering 11.1 tonnes of methamphetamine, 5.6 tonnes of cocaine and 2.6 tonnes of ecstasy.

In Covid news, Australian Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said the key message to regional and rural Australians who think there is no hurry to getting vaccinations was that things could change any time.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said even regional and rural areas shouldn't wait to get vaccinated. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said even regional and rural areas shouldn't wait to get vaccinated. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

In an exclusive interview as part of ACM's Vax the Nation campaign, Professor Kelly said it was understandable many Australians might not feel a sense of urgency around vaccination, but the threat from the virus wasn't going away.

"A month ago, we had gone through 13 days of zero cases in Australia. And then there were a few cases in Melbourne that popped and and we've made that link with an escape from hotel quarantine," he said.

Sticking with Victoria, the state recorded one new community case of COVID-19 overnight, which is likely connected to the larger Kappa strain outbreak responsible for Melbourne's recent two-week lockdown.

ACM has launched a campaign titled Vax The Nation. Cartoon: David Pope

ACM has launched a campaign titled Vax The Nation. Cartoon: David Pope

Testing commander Jeroen Weimar said that for now, it remained a "mystery case" that involves a young father in central Melbourne who did everything right.

Mr Weimar said the man got tested as soon as he noticed symptoms. is three family members were tested on Saturday morning and are awaiting results.

In sport, community groups in NSW will soon be able to access $150 million in funding to help them build high-performance training facilities.

The fund is aimed at boosting participation in grassroots sport and providing better professional development opportunities for local athletes.

Did you know you can receive this daily digest by email? Sign up here

*This edition of The Informer was written by Canberra Times reporter Toby Vue. If you'd like to show your support for the team behind The Informer, why not forward us to a friend?

THE NEWS YOU NEED TO KNOW:

This story 'Overwhelming' support to bring Tamil family back, MPs say first appeared on The Canberra Times.