A small Queensland town fighting for the return of a Tamil asylum seeker family taken into custody a year ago have stepped up their battle to win their release.
Priya and Nadesalingam and their two Australian-born children, Kopika and Tharunicaa, were taken into custody by Australian Border Force officials during a dawn raid on their Biloela home, because the couple's bridging visa had expired.
On Tuesday their supporters took out a prominent half-page advert on page two of Brisbane's Courier-Mail newspaper to remind the community the children are still in detention 12 months after the raid.
Biloela resident and family friend Angela Fredericks says the town decided to step up their year-long fight after their federal member of parliament, Ken O'Dowd, shared a political ad on social media saying there were no longer any children in immigration detention.
"We're asking all Australians and especially Queenslanders, because that's where the family lives, to continue to pressure their local members of parliament and this government to see sense and let this family return home to Biloela, where they belong," she told AAP.
The ad comes after more than 180,000 people signed a petition demanding the family be returned to the central Queensland town, where they had become much-loved members of the community.
Nadesalingam was a valued employee at the local meatworks and Priya used to take her home-made curries up to the doctors at Biloela Hospital, the ad reads.
The couple came to Australia separately by boat in 2012 and 2013 following Sri Lanka's civil war.
Supporters have previously said fears were held Nadesalingam would be persecuted if he returned to Sri Lanka, because of his history with the militant organisation the Tamil Tigers.
The family's legal bid to fight their deportation order were all but exhausted in December when The Federal Court dismissed an appeal to stay in Australia.
However, the Department of Home Affairs agreed not to deport the family after their legal team made a special leave application to the High Court of Australia.
Australian Associated Press