Ministers have softened their policy on expelling unaccompanied children who enter Australia to seek asylum, after an outcry from UN agencies and activists.
All children will be considered on a case-by-case basis before being sent to Malaysia under a planned refugee-swap deal, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio.
The statement reverses a government announcement last week that no exceptions would be made for any children who enter Australia without a parent or guardian. "We'll have appropriate measures in place on an individual basis to deal with what are a relatively small number of cases of unaccompanied minors," Mr Bowen said.
Australia has long attracted people from poor, often war-ravaged countries.