Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has stopped holding weekly news conferences on asylum seeker boat arrivals, instead issuing a written statement with no opportunity for journalists to ask questions.

Mr Morrison put an end to the previous practice of the Immigration Department announcing asylum seeker boat arrivals in real time, saying this amounted to a ''shipping news service for people smugglers''.

Instead, he pledged to give weekly media briefings on the Coalition's progress in stopping asylum seeker boats. But Mr Morrison provided his last briefing for the year a week ago.

For the first time since late September, Mr Morrison did not appear before the media despite his office insisting he was not on leave. His spokesman would not say when or whether the briefings would resume, saying the government would have more to say on the subject in the new year.

''As noted at last week's media conference, weekly reports will continue to be issued on arrivals and transfers and media conferences will be called as and when required to deal with any significant or serious events or announcements,'' he said.

''The minister's office will continue to field inquiries from the media on issues relating to his portfolio and will provide responses as appropriate.''

Press gallery veteran Laurie Oakes has criticised Mr Morrison's approach to the media, accusing him of arrogance.

''He sees it as getting at the press but it's not,'' Oakes said in November. ''It's getting at the voters and, eventually, I think the voters will wake up.''

Mr Morrison's office issued a statement on Friday saying that no asylum seekers had arrived by boat in the past week.

Over the week, 42 asylum seekers were transferred to Nauru, bringing the total population there to 841, with a further 1229 at Manus Island.

The statement said 355 asylum seekers had arrived in December, a 70 per cent decline on last December.

Over the first 100 days of the Coalition's ''Operation Sovereign Borders'' operation, 1106 asylum seekers arrived, which was a decrease of 87 per cent on the previous 100 days, the statement said.

Meanwhile, Treasurer Joe Hockey stood by his criticism of former prime minister Julia Gillard for going on holidays in December last year before Wayne Swan announced Labor was unlikely to meet its pledge to return the budget to surplus - despite going on holidays himself shortly after announcing a multibillion-dollar emergency budget deficit in his midyear economic update.

''According to Wayne Swan, Julia Gillard agrees to ditch surplus then goes on holidays … that's real leadership. Real courage,'' Mr Hockey tweeted on December 20 last year.

But Mr Hockey's spokeswoman said the circumstances were not comparable.

''The Labor government promised a surplus 600 times, then called a snap press conference on the eve of the Christmas break to abandon this pledge,'' Mr Hockey's spokeswoman said.

''The Coalition waited until the third-quarter GDP [gross domestic product] numbers, which were only released in early December, to formulate a credible picture of the 2013-14 fiscal year. Treasurer Joe Hockey then informed the Parliament of the timing of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook - giving a number of days' notice.''

The spokeswoman said Mr Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann faced questions from the media and conducted several media interviews before going on leave.

Former treasurer Mr Swan accused Mr Hockey of hypocrisy.

''If Joe Hockey wants to be consistent, then what's he got to say about his leader, after proclaiming a budget emergency through MYEFO, then going on holiday to a French ski resort?'' he said.