Australia's Anthony Albanese applies 'common sense' to 501 deportations, but Chris Hipkins aware fight isn't over

Australia's government has secretly signed off on major changes to the controversial 501 deportations.  

Newshub has revealed it's softening the rules to allow convicted Kiwis who've grown up in Australia or have children living there to stay. It's also relaxing the rules for 501s who are already here - to be able to visit home.

Across Australia's detention centres on Wednesday there was a new feeling of cautious hope.

Dion Taiapa will be deported in 13 days. He doesn't know anyone in New Zealand, which he left when he was just three months old. 

"It's sounding promising, but again we get sick of holding our breath and then nothing happens and it's false hope," he said. 

"I'm definitely nervous. It's sad leaving your children behind."

But documents obtained by Newshub and signed off by Australia's Immigration Minister eight days ago change the rules.

"We said we would apply some common sense," said Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

That means considering any "immediate family members in Australia" and weighing up if deporting is within "the best interests of a child". 

"That would mean everything, not just for me, but my family, my children," said Taiapa.

On average Australia deports one 501 a day, but soon the convicted criminals' "strength, nature and duration of ties to Australia" will become a primary consideration and if they've been in "Australia during their formative years".

"I think the acknowledgement of that by the Australians is very, very welcome," said New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins.

It's the "common sense" approach Jacinda Ardern fought two Australian Prime Ministers over.  

First Scott Morrison, telling him to "do not deport your people and your problems", and then Albanese. 

"The Prime Minister has been very forceful in her views," Albanese said last year. 

Hipkins is aware the fight isn't over.

"I'm sure it will be an ongoing topic of conversation."