Department of Immigration secretary Michael Pezzullo has said the government will not give in to "moral lecturing" from doctors, lawyers, churches and state governments that have pleaded to allow 267 asylum seekers bound for Nauru to stay in Australia.
Last week's High Court decision upholding the government's framework for offshore detention for asylum seekers who seek to get to Australia by boat means that 267 asylum seekers, including 37 babies and 54 other children, currently in Australia for medical treatment could be sent back to Nauru any day now.
Refugee advocates, churches, doctors and the Human Rights Commission are just some of those pleading with the government to allow the asylum seekers to stay in Australia. Over the weekend, the Labor premiers of Victoria and South Australia, Daniel Andrews and Jay Weatherill, both told Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that their states would be willing to accommodate and pay the costs for the asylum seekers to stay in Australia. ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Liberal premiers Mike Baird (NSW) and Will Hodgman (Tasmania) have also called for the asylum seekers to stay.