While the Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) regime was formally introduced in October 1999 by the Howard Government, the concept of temporary protection was not totally alien to the Australian humanitarian landscape. Earlier examples reflected a standard use of temporary protection as a complementary or interim protection mechanism, offering short-term group-based protection where individual assessment under the 1951 Convention was both impractical and untimely. This paper focuses on the wider and more controversial changes in the use of temporary protection mechanisms that were to follow with the introduction of the TPV in 1999, which offered substitute protection for individually assessed Convention refugees who had arrived onshore without valid travel documents. It examines the history and evolution of the TPV policy regime from 1999 to the announcement of its abolition in 2008, arguing that the introduction and subsequent development of the policy may be understood as a product of a conservative, exclusionist political climate in Australia, following the unprecedented impact of the populist One Nation party in 1998, and later, the impact of September 11th. It also examines later amendments to the regime as a response to growing domestic disquiet about the impacts of the policy, and the abolition of the TPV policy under a new Australian government elected in late 2007.