A VIGIL for a Sri Lankan family of four held on Christmas Island since 2019 will be staged outside a federal MP's office in Wangaratta on Friday.
The local branch of Rural Australians for Refugees has organised the 4pm event in front of Helen Haines' premises to support Priya and Nadesalingam Murugappan and their two daughters Kopika and Tharunicaa.
It comes as pressure grows on the Federal Government to allow the family to return to the Queensland town of Biloela after Tharunicaa needed to be flown to Perth for medical treatment.
RAR Wangaratta co-convenor Bern Fraser said 15 members had written nearly 100 letters to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese in recent weeks urging action.
"I think the Australian community, particularly rural and regional people who've learned to look after one another through bushfires and floods, are appalled at the cruelty to the family," Ms Fraser said of the detention which has cost taxpayers more than $6.7 million.
Dr Haines wants the Murugappans living in Biloela.
I keep reading well meaning people opining “ we are better than this “.— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) June 13, 2021
If we are, then let’s show we are.
We need the people who can change this to stop hiding behind semantics & politics & uphold the community expectation that we do the right thing, by doing the right thing. https://t.co/7ljFqCS1iz
"I think Australians right across the nation and certainly many people in Indi are disturbed by this," Dr Haines said.
"Just yesterday I was in Rutherglen visiting some wineries and one person said 'I hope you're pushing the government and letting them know it's definitely not okay'."
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Dr Haines she was hearing from constituents that did not normally raise refugee issues and only one had argued the family needed to be detained to deter other asylum-seekers.
Member for Farrer and Federal Government minister Sussan Ley also acknowledged feedback.
"I have certainly relayed the concerns expressed by my constituents to both myself and my office," she said.
"As there is still ongoing court action, and the Murugappan family has a pending ministerial intervention application, it really is inappropriate to comment further."
The vigil scheduled for Friday will be limited to 20 attendees based on current Victorian COVID restrictions.