Sydneysiders rally to support Tamil family

Senator Kristina Keneally has spoken in Sydney against a Tamil asylum seeker family's deportation.
Senator Kristina Keneally has spoken in Sydney against a Tamil asylum seeker family's deportation.

Hundreds of Sydneysiders have gathered in the city's CBD to protest the federal government's decision to deport a Tamil asylum seeker family.

The family - Priya and Nadesalingam and Australian-born children Kopika and Tharunicaa - is currently being held on Christmas Island after being granted an 11th-hour court injunction against their deportation.

The protest on Sunday heard from Shadow Minister for Home Affairs Kristina Keneally, Craig Foster, NSW Greens MP Jenny Leong and Ani Selva and Renuga Inpakumar from the Tamil Refugee Council.

Towards the conclusion of the Martin Place event, five minutes of silence was observed for the family adopted by the central Queensland town of Biloela, followed by a children's performance of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" for the Tamil girls.

Ms Keneally, who arrived at the protest from a St Andrew's Cathedral church service, appealed to Prime Minister Scott Morrison to live out his Christian faith by intervening on the family's behalf.

"Open your heart, understand what the gospel tells us as Christians to do," Ms Keneally said at the protest.

"It is the parable of the Good Samaritan where we welcome in our land the stranger; where we treat them with compassion and kindness."

Ms Keneally said it was an opportunity for Mr Morrison to show Christian leadership and reflect upon the teachings of the gospel.

She also called on the government to take note of the words of the Australian national anthem after they were quoted by Tamil protesters at the event.

"There is nothing more Australian than welcoming people who come across the seas because we have boundless plains to share," she said.

Cheryl Nunn, 67, and Bill Nunn, 70, attended the protest and hoped a court decision would be made to get the family off Christmas Island and back home.

"This has been going on for far too long," Ms Nunn told AAP.

"Let's stop scoring political points. Let's do what we signed up to do and treat people with respect."

Her husband agreed, saying Australian asylum seeker policy should be more humane.

Annette Hogan, 70, lives in Mr Morrison's southern Sydney electorate with her husband and said she'd attempted to contact him on several occasions.

"It's just a big scare campaign that they're all going to be terrorists ... you're more likely to be killed by your husband or your partner than by a terrorist," Ms Hogan told AAP.

Darwin, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Hobart and Biloela all held their own protests calling for the government to protect the family.

Australian Associated Press