The committee also heard the Department of Immigration's rules around pet ownership for asylum seekers even extend to goldfish.
Leaked documents last week revealed asylum seekers will be forced to get government permission before buying a pet.
The move has been labelled as authoritarian-style overreach by Labor and the Greens.
During Senate estimates, Immigration Secretary Mike Pezzullo confirmed even a goldfish was defined as a pet.
"I think any living sentiment, irrespective of whether it's fish, fowl or other type of animal, that's considered to be a pet — consistent with the ordinances of the local municipality — would fall within the definition," he said.