As Victoria’s peak body for child and family services, representing community service organisations working directly with vulnerable children and families, the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare understands the profound and lifelong damage that trauma experienced by children in the early years can have on their adult lives.
For this reason, we urge the Federal Government to support the re-entry of the Murugappan family into the community of Biloela, where they have made such strong and productive connections, so that these children can be safe and thrive.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child includes the right to be protected from any activities that could harm a child’s development.
In their short lives, Tharnicaa and Kopica, aged 4 and 6 respectively, have been systematically exposed to isolation and deprivation. They have had little contact with other children their age and few opportunities to learn and grow strong alongside their peers.
Their future as happy, healthy, well-adjusted adults who are able to contribute meaningfully to society, hangs in the balance. As a nation that prides itself on giving people a ‘fair go’, we need to act before the damage being done to these children becomes irreversible.
Enabling the family to re-unite in Perth is a very small step toward a pragmatic and humane solution to their situation but they remain in a nightmarish limbo of eventual deportation if they lose their latest legal battle.
We call on all politicians in our national parliament to place these children’s rights, safety and wellbeing above politics. We call on the Federal Government to let this family return to Biloela to resume their lives in a community that has shown such generosity of spirit and compassion.
To do otherwise, diminishes all of us.