Thousands of refugees, including unaccompanied children, face the prospect of no work rights and limited support beyond next year as the latest political impasse on asylum seekers widened to include Queensland MP Clive Palmer.
As Immigration Minister Scott Morrison vowed that 33,000 boat arrivals would remain in detention or on bridging visas indefinitely, Mr Palmer compared the treatment of women and children to a ''neo-fascist state''.
Mr Morrison said the asylum seekers would be subject to tougher conditions than would apply with temporary protection visas until Parliament agreed to restore the visa class, but Mr Palmer's remarks suggest the new Senate next year will continue to resist the move. He said that unless the treatment of women and children asylum seekers improved, his Palmer United Party would not be supporting the return of TPVs.
After the Greens and Labor combined to block the return of TPVs this week, Mr Morrison used his powers under the Migration Act to cap the number of permanent visas for boat arrivals at the number issued before the Abbott government was sworn in.
The Greens plan to introduce on Thursday legislation denying Mr Morrison the ability to act without parliamentary approval, but the government has the numbers to defeat this in the lower house.