All were brought to Australia from Nauru and Manus Island for medical care, some as the result of attacks, and more than 20 women who are survivors of sexual assault or rape. Also among the group are babies who were born in Australia from mothers transferred from Nauru.
Many were party to a 2016 High Court challenge to Australia’s offshore processing regime in Nauru. The challenge was unsuccessful after the Government pushed emergency legislation through both houses of Federal Parliament, inserting a new section (198AHA) into the Migration Act providing a blanket authorisation for whatever action the Commonwealth might need to undertake to support its regional processing policies.
After the High Court loss, the #LetThemStay campaign was launched to prevent the Government returning this group to Manus Island and Nauru. During this campaign:
- State Premiers including Mike Baird, Daniel Andrews, Anastasia Palaszczuk, Andrew Barr and Jay Weatherill called for them to remain in Australia.
- Church leaders across Australia invoked the historical concept of sanctuary, opening their doors to asylum seekers facing removal to the offshore detention centres.
- Doctors at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital refused to release one baby, “Baby Asha”, marked for return to Nauru; the Government eventually backed down and moved her and her parents into the community.
The Government backed down on its policy to deport the entire cohort to Nauru, and subsequently moved the vast majority of this group into the community. They have been living in Australia since.