This year marks 30 years since Australia introduced its policy of mandatory, indefinite immigration detention. We provide an overview of these policies with a focus on the involvement of healthcare workers, both within centres and externally, protesting these policies. We discuss several lessons that can be learnt from Australia?s approach, namely that traditional approaches to health and healthcare have done little to address the suffering of those who are detained. We call for the healthcare community to consider their role in activism and in calling for the abolition of detention. These lessons sadly have increasing global relevance with several countries now seeking to emulate Australia?s cruelty.