CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | CONTACT
It appears that the Albanese Government are about to learn the same lessons that Scott Morrison learnt about the protective mateship of rural Australia, as the city of Launceston rushes to support a local Colombian family facing deportation in the next few days.
Colombian man Cesar Penuela and his wife Claudia Castillo made the journey to Australia 13 years ago, and decided to make Launceston home for the past five.
They have two daughters who are also facing deportation with them, after more than a decade of pinballing through the bureaucratic process of Australia’s incompetent tin-can Immigration Department
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal refused the family’s application for permanent residency last month due to clerical errors on the part of the father’s employer.
It is believed that the people of Launceston are ready to go ‘Full Biloela’ on the Federal Government, as they fight to keep the beloved family on Tasmanian soil.
‘Full Biloela’ is an expression that entered the Australian vernacular in 2018, and is used to describe a small town that unites to take on the Minister For Home Affairs in defence of rural families facing deportation – while also demolishing media stereotypes about ‘racist country hicks’.
This is in reference to the Nadesalingam family who became the public face of Australia’s tough asylum-seeker policies after being detained by Peter Dutton’s Border Force jackboots in 2018 after their claim for protection was rejected due to similar bureacratic showboating from the Government.
Their treatment sparked and outcry and a national campaign for their return to the outback Queensland town of Biloela where they had become . The Tamil family have since been granted visas after Morrison was finally booted.
The similarities between the Tamil family from Biloela and the Colombians in Launceston are strikingly similar, with rural Tasmanians now rallying behind the family.
Launceston’s Northern Rangers Football Club set up fundraisers to help cover legal and immigration costs, and the local St Vinnies is ropeable – as the family has been volunteering at their fFodbank since the pandemic lockdowns.
But the family now only has days left in the country, with nothing but a firey country town in their corner.
A government spokesperson said the minister was unable to comment on individual cases due to privacy reasons, but are likely panicking that they may have awoken a sleeping giant in quiet old Launceston.