Australian pro-refugees protesters achieving the impossible

Nurses and midwives say 'Let Them Stay' (photo from the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association's Twitter account).

Three weeks ago the Australian High Court handed down a decision that would've seen 267 men, women, and children headed straight to the Nauru island concentration cdamp – instead, something remarkable happened. A protest movement has managed to do what has seemed almost impossible for more than a decade. It has amassed a majority of public support, and fractured the bipartisan Liberal-Labor consensus on abusive treatment of people seeking protection. Since its beginnings, the #LetThemStay movement has only continued to gather momentum, uniting religious institutions, doctors, nurses, premiers and chief ministers, unions, teachers, academics, lawyers – pretty much the entire cross section of the Australian community – to prevent the deportation of these 267 men, women, and children.

This week we celebrated an extraordinary victory for people power! Two weeks ago, the medical staff at Brisbane's Lady Cilento Children's Hospital took a courageous stand, and refused to release baby Asha into the hands of the Australian Border Force. What followed was unlike anything we've ever witnessed before.

For ten days and nights straight, people came from all over Queensland (and Australia!) to stand in solidarity with the staff at Lady Cilento and maintain a vigil outside the hospital, for fear baby Asha and her mother would be snatched away under the cover of night.

On Sunday, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton finally responded to public pressure, and allowed baby Asha and her family to be moved into the community.

If it wasn't for the bravery of the staff at Lady Cilento, and the groundswell of support right across the country – baby Asha and her mother would've been on a plane to Nauru two weeks ago. We've shown what people can do when we unite, now's the perfect opportunity to ramp up the fight.

The #LetThemStay movement has truly taken on a life of its own. People are taking it upon themselves to find creative ways of drawing attention to the issue – from things as simple as taking a #LetThemStay selfie, to scaling 162-metre tall spires and unfurling a #LetThemStay banner.

Over the past three weeks, #LetThemStay has dominated national media coverage, appearing on the (previously unreachable) pages of mainstream media publications such as The Australian newspaper and the Australian Women's Weekly. And we're not about to let up anytime soon.

The Lady Cilento vigil for baby Asha has proven the Australian Government will respond to overwhelming community pressure, but there are still 267 men, women, and children whose lives hang in the balance. Now's the time for us to keep building the pressure!

So what's next? People have finally had enough of the Australian Government's abusive detention regime, and are eager to take this campaign to the next level – and we're eager to provide whatever support we can to make that happen.

Over the coming weeks, we'll be pulling together guides and resources to equip GetUp members with the tools they need to step up the campaign.


But in the meantime, here are just three ways you can get involved.

Register your #LetThemStay event, stunt, or action. We've pulled together an events calendar on our community campaigns platform, and everyone in the country can add to it. Whether it's taking a big group photo with mates in the park, or a #LetThemStay themed sports match or music gig – now's the time to do it. 

Share your #LetThemStay message on social media. The calls to 'Let them stay' can be heard loud and clear from every sector of civil society. Will you, your sports team, co-workers, or school friends stand in solidarity with people seeking protection? 

Make a regular donation to fund the #LetThemStay campaign. Your regular donation will put the campaign in front of people who need to see it most, with a targeted multimedia advertising plan.



In solidarity,
Alycia, Shen, and Aurora for the GetUp! team