By Australian Associated Press
Published: 05:12 BST, 2 September 2019 | Updated: 05:12 BST, 2 September 2019
The prime minister says his government will not save a Tamil family from deportation because it would expose Australia to a new wave of boat people.
Scott Morrison says granting an exception for a family whose asylum claims had been denied would kick-start the people smuggling trade.
He said the government could not be seen to change its position on the basis of 'a public reaction' to the family's plight.
The prime minister says his government will not save a Tamil family from deportation because it would expose Australia to a new wave of boat people
Newly surfaced footage of the family on the plane shows Kopika and Tharunicaa distressed and screaming as their parents try to console them
'I know what happens when people think it's OK to make an exception here or there. I remember what happened. I remember the deaths,' he told reporters on Monday.
'I remember those terrible images and I will not ever allow that to happen again if it's within my power and where it's within my power.'
He said smugglers remain active in Sri Lanka and Indonesia, and would act on any sign the government was weakening its position.
'That's not how you run strong borders.
'I know what happens when you send those messages back into those communities whether it's in Sri Lanka or the more than 10,000 people sitting in Indonesia right now who would get on a boat tomorrow if they thought this government was changing its position.'
There were protests in capital cities across Australia at the weekend in support of Priya, her husband Nadesalingam and their Australian-born children Kopika, 4, and Tharunicaa, 2.
Australian border force has intercepted a fourth boat in as many months full of potential illegal immigrants from Sri Lanka (pictured is the latest intercepted boat)
Scott Morrison says granting an exception for a family whose asylum claims had been denied would kick-start the people smuggling trade
The family's deportation was halted last week, after it began, after a judge issued an injunction that saw their flight from Melbourne to Sri Lanka land in Darwin.
The family has since been transferred to Christmas