Daily News Roundup

June 15, 2021



A family of Tamil asylum seekers detained on Christmas Island since 2019 will be allowed to live in Perth temporarily, but their long-term future in Australia remains unclear.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said he had used his powers under the Migration Act to allow the Murugappan family to live in Perth while four-year-old Tharnicaa Murugappan underwent treatment in hospital.

“The family will now reside in suburban Perth through a community detention placement, close to schools and support services, while the youngest child receives medical treatment from the nearby Perth Children’s Hospital and as the family pursues ongoing legal matters,” he said in a statement.

“Today’s decision releases the family from held detention and facilitates ongoing treatment, while they pursue ongoing litigation before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Federal Court and High Court.

“Importantly, today’s decision does not create a pathway to a visa.”

Mr Hawke said the decision showed “appropriate compassion” in circumstances involving children in detention.

The Murugappan family were removed from their home in Biloela in 2018 when their visas expired.

The family has been separated for more than a week after Tharnicaa and her mother were flown from Christmas Island to Perth.

WA Health had requested they be reunited while she receives treatment.

The family lived in the regional Queensland community of Biloela prior to being Angela Fredericks, a family friend and organiser of the group Home to Bilo, which is campaigning to get the family back to Biloela, said the Immigration Minister’s announcement was a welcome first step.

But she said it was for Mr Hawke and the Department of Home Affairs, and not the courts, to determine the family’s future in Australia.

“The Minister’s power to grant visas is completely independent from the decisions of any court,” Ms Fredericks said in statement.

“We cannot say what — or who — is preventing Minister Hawke from bringing this family home to Bilo. But it is not this court matter.”


A free trade deal which clears the way for more Australians to live and work in Britain once international borders reopen has been struck by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Boris Johnson after the pair offered last-minute concessions over dinner at Downing Street, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age report. .

The papers saytheyr understand the leaders will announce the in-principle agreement – which could boost the Australian economy by up to $1.3 billion each year and offer exporters new options to pivot away from the volatile Chinese market- on Tuesday morning local-time.

Morrison and Johnson thrashed out some of the final barriers to the new economic pact during a three-hour dinner at the British Prime Minister’s official London residence on Monday evening.

The in-principle agreement which will now be fleshed out into legal text and then passed by parliaments in both countries.

It will likely take effect from mid-next year.

The Australian deal – Britain’s first since it split from the European Union – also gives Johnson a big symbolic victory as he seeks to soften the economic costs of Brexit through new agreements with other trading partners.

While the terms of the Australian deal have not been released, it is expected to include a substantial revamp of visa requirements to make it easier for professionals and young travellers to live and work in Britain and vice-versa.

The agreement will also mean a raft of professional qualifications gained in one country will be recognised in the other.

Fears that the signing might be delayed by a squabble over how much Australian beef and lamb would be allowed into the UK proved unfounded, with the two leaders settling on a scheme which will phase out tariffs and quotas. The exact number of years will not be known until Tuesday’s announcement.

The UK had initially asked for a 15-year transition period and Australian wanted all restrictions to be immediately swept away.

The sensitivities in Britain over the impact of more Australian agricultural imports on farmers point to difficult negotiations ahead with America, one of the world’s largest food producers.

Protectionist forces within the Conservative Party have claimed an open-slather deal with Australia would set a precedent for future negotiations.

The full potential of the deal will only be realised whenever Australia eases its hardline approach to coronavirus and opens its border to vaccinated travellers, which Morrison has not put a timeline on.

British government documents show a trade deal with Australia could lift UK GDP by 0.02 per cent, or £500 million ($914 million). Exports to Australia are expected to increase by between 3.6 and 7.4 per cent.

Canberra is yet to conduct its own impact modelling but British forecasts suggest GDP in Australia could grow by up to £700 million ($1.3 billion) under a tariff-free deal.

Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott, one of 12 advisers on the new-look UK Board of Trade, cautioned protectionists against trading in “fear, not hope”.

“It baffles me a little that so many people in Britain are always running the country down,” he told GB News.

“Britain can cope. And a trade deal with one of Britain’s friends…that’s no threat to the people of Britain, this is going to help the people of Britain.”


A recent drop in avocado prices may help relieve some of the guilt you feel about splurging on smashed avo on toast at a Sunday brunch when you ought to be saving money.

Peak industry body Avocados Australia’s online retail pricing report has listed the price of an avocado at about $1 each in major supermarket chains across the country.

Chief executive John Tyas said there had been a significant increase in avocado production and supply, pushing prices down.

“Compared with last year, we’re going to [see] … 65 per cent more Australian avocados harvested this year,” he said.

Avocado grower Tim Keogh is encouraging consumers to support the industry by buying more of the fruit.(ABC Capricornia: Ashleigh Bagshaw)

While that was great news for consumers, it could mean problems for growers.Tim Keogh, owner of MMM Mangoes and Avocados near Rockhampton in Central Queensland, said the increase in supply would hurt growers.

“It’s pretty tough at the moment in terms of price, just because of a huge supply that’s come into the market,” he said.

“This season we’ve probably had the biggest crop we’ve ever had within our trees and I’m sure that’s right across the board.

“Everyone’s having a big season.”

Mr Tyas said demand for avocados had not quite matched up with the sheer volume of product available this year.


A year after Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since World War II, the 2021 finals will be played with full crowds in attendance on centre court.

They will be the first outdoor sporting events in the United Kingdom to have capacity crowds since the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year.

The move comes despite British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on Monday that the final stage of easing lockdown restrictions was being delayed to July 19.

The All England Club, which runs the only grass court grand slam, said it had worked with the federal and local governments and public health bodies to come to the decision.

A statement said the tournament would start on June 28 “with 50 per cent capacity across the grounds, building to full capacity” for the weekend of the finals.

Recent French Open champion Novak Djokovic is the reigning men’s singles champion, while Simona Halep won the women’s title in 2019.


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