'There Are Now No Children Who Arrived Unlawfully By Boat In Detention': Turnbull

03/04/2016 10:25 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
Two detainees peer out from behind a double fence inside the Villawood detention centre in Sydney June 9, 2005. An asylum seeker will be released from an Australian detention centre after seven years behind razor wire, the government said on Monday, under a further softening of Australia's tough immigration policy. The move comes after Prime Minister John Howard on Friday announced changes to the mandatory detention policy, to allow children and families to be released into the community while their asylum claims were processed. Photo taken June 9, 2005. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne TBW/CCK

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed that there are no asylum-seeker children being held in detention in Australia, saying getting kids out of the controversial centres has always been a goal of his government.

The last child reportedly left Darwin's Wickham Point detention centre on Friday after numbers peaked at almost 2000 in mid-2013, before the coalition took power.

Children remain locked up on Nauru, with 70 children currently held on the tiny south pacific island, according to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

There is also uncertainty about the future of more than a hundred asylum seekers and their kids who are in Australia for medical treatment and might be returned to Nauru.

Speaking on Sunday, Turnbull claimed credit for stopping asylum seeker boats and getting kids out of detention in Australia.

"We have succeeded since the change of government, not only in stopping the boats but ... there are now no children who arrived unlawfully by boat in detention," he told SkyNews.

Turnbull said it had "always been a goal of the government" to reduce the number of children detained across the country.

"It was my objective and Peter Dutton's objective," he added.

"He has been progressively reducing that number from the time he became minister as Scott (Morrison) did before him and the real message here is that we have stopped the boats.

"In July 2013 not long before the fed election ... there were 2000 kids in detention in Australia from the boat arrivals now there are none, that's a great achievement on the part of Peter Dutton."

Dutton told reporters that he was pleased to be the minister who stopped the boats and got children in detention released into the community.

Some social media users praised the government announcement but said there was still work to be done.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young labelled the government's statements more spin than reality.

"The first thing that the government can do today is ensure that the childern released this week will never go back to Nauru," Hanson-Young told reporters in Adelaide.

She wanted children held in the "prison island" of Nauru brought to Australia.

"I want to see all ... of these children that are currently on Nauru given the opportunity for a childhood," she added.

"The only way for that to happen is if Malcolm Turnbull promises to bring the children to Australia and to let those here stay. Rule out deportation."

The Refugee Action Coalition's Ian Rintoul was worried the government could backtrack on the issue.

"In a month's time, in three month's time, in six month's time, until children in detention are dealt with in law, until mandatory detention is dealt with in law then this is likely to hang over us into the future," Rintoul told Macquarie Radio.

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