Home to Bilo campaign organiser Angela Fredericks.
Home to Bilo campaign organiser Angela Fredericks. Mike Richards GLA190119PRST

‘Obscene’: Bilo family friend visits Christmas Island centre

"OBSCENE" was how Angela Fredericks described the Christmas Island detention centre, where her friends Priya and Nades and their two daughters have been held for the past six months.

Ms Fredericks flew to Christmas Island on Tuesday to be with the family during the final day of the court hearing which will determine if their future is in Biloela, or Sri Lanka.

No date has been set for Justice Mark Moshinsky's decision, but it's believed it could take one to three months. When Ms Fredericks arrived at the centre on Tuesday Priya was at a physio appointment, receiving treatment for injuries she said were caused when the family was taken to Christmas Island.

The Biloela family has been in detention since March 2018, and up until six months ago they were at Broadmeadows Detention Centre in Melbourne before they were relocated to Christmas Island.

"The whole setting (at Christmas Island) is pretty surreal," Ms Fredericks said.

"It's different to when I visited in Melbourne, there were lots of detainees so it justified the staff.

"This is just obscene, the staff are just sitting there guarding this one family.

"We were inside with the girls who were pretending to pour us tea, we were playing make believe and the guards are just there."

The family's Federal Court challenge hinges on their youngest daughter Tharunicaa's right to apply for a protection visa. During the hearing on Tuesday Immigration Minister David Coleman's senior advisor Ross McDonald repeatedly said he could not recall seeing a briefing, or having discussions about the family's case.

Ms Fredericks said she was frustrated by the advisor's evidence.

"I find it quite upsetting because this is something that is of such significance to this family … it's life or death."


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