Passengers at Brisbane airport last night looked on in horror as a dozen Federal Police carried out a court order to return four sisters to their father in Italy. It was no easy job getting them onto the plane, they were literally kicking and screaming and had to be carried and dragged on board. An official from the Italian embassy was with them.
Earlier, their distraught mother clung to the back of the unmarked police car as it drove away with three of her daughters and she collapsed in the road sobbing. Later, all four girls were taken in two cars to a private entrance of Brisbane International Airport. One of the girls had to be restrained as she tried to escape through the rear of the car and banged on the window as it drove away, begging to speak to a journalist.
The judge hoped the distraught mother would go to Italy after her ex-husband agreed not to lay criminal charges against her.
The court ruled that they should have gone back in May but their mother's family decided to take the girls into hiding. They were eventually tracked down by the AFP.
This mother needs to acknowledge that she did the wrong thing. She married an Italian and made a home in Italy with him and their four daughters. Two years ago, she decided she wanted to come back to Australia for good but she didn't tell her husband. Instead, she told him she wanted to take them home for a holiday and he agreed.
But she had no intention of taking them back and that's where it all comes unstuck. The courts were never going to allow her to keep the girls here, they must go back to Italy, where they were born, and allow their courts to sort it out.
It seems unfair that the court can't grant the wishes of the girls, who desperately want to stay in Australia with their mother, but the father's rights can't be ignored. She has caused unnecessary stress for her children by giving them false hope. A wise mother would not have persisted with the defiant plan to thwart the court's authority and take them into hiding, she must have known it would all ends in tears.
Imagine the outcry if the shoe were on the other foot and the Italian husband refused to allow the girls to come back to Australia. The mother needs to return to Italy where the judges will hopefully find a fair and just solution for everyone.
The father's lawyer, Paul Donnelly said the father of the girls is a broken man, especially after the media reported that he was abusive towards his daughters. "They are blatant lies" he said. The cost of travelling between countries has left him completely broke. Mr Donnelly took on the case pro bono and said "He has no money left, I haven't received a cent from him and nor shall I."