In the wake of the agreement between the crossbench Senators and the government, many are under the impression that no children will be held in immigration detention into the future. This is a misunderstanding of what was agreed.
Children are currently held in immigration detention centres on the Australian mainland, Christmas Island, and Nauru. Prior to the current agreement the government had signalled its intention to release children under the age of 10 from detention centres on the Australian mainland. The agreement made with the Senate will see all children under the age of 18 released from Christmas Island, and following their release, the release of all children under the age of 18 from mainland detention centres (I rang the Minister’s office today to confirm the ages).
Children will however remain in detention on Nauru. It is the policy of the government and remains the policy of the government that all asylum seekers, including children, who arrived in Australia by boat after July 19, 2013 will be sent to immigration detention facilities on Nauru or Manus Island and will never be resettled in Australia. The agreement with the Senate crossbench applies only to those children who arrived in Australia prior to July 19, 2013.
At the end of September this year there were 186 children held in immigration detention on Nauru (http://www.immi.gov.au/About/Documents/immigration-detention-statistics-for-30-september-2014.pdf). They will remain in detention and any asylum seekers arriving by boat from this point forward will join them.