ACOSS response to Parliament debate on Bills: Voter ID and Political Campaigners Bill

ACOSS welcomes end to Voter ID Bill

ACOSS welcomes reports of a decision by the Coalition Government to not proceed with its  Voter ID Bill prior to the 2022 election.

ACOSS, along with many community service organisations, has strongly opposed the unnecessary proposed voter ID reforms.

Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS said, “Common sense has prevailed here. These reforms were completely unnecessary and would create roadblocks for people who are already facing barriers to voting.

“The priority of government should be to make sure it supports everyone to exercise their right to vote. Government should be removing barriers to voting, not creating them. It should not be making it harder for people who already experience discrimination or exclusion.

“Thank you to all who came out so strongly in opposition to these reforms: the community organisations and individuals who were clear about the discriminatory impact they would have; and Labor, the Greens, Centre Alliance, Rex Patrick and Jackie Lambie for voicing their concerns.

“This is a win for democracy and for the power of advocacy in ensuring that people’s voices are heard in our Parliamentary debates and election processes.”

Disclosure reforms will not silence our advocacy

ACOSS is shocked and disappointed at the passage of amendments to the Electoral Act that will place an unnecessary burden on charities that engage in issues-based advocacy at election times.

Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS, said:

“We are deeply concerned that this legislation could stifle the voices of community services and prevent them from advocating for the much-needed changes to ensure people with greatest need are front and centre in the work of Government and the Parliament.

“I want to thank everyone who has spoken up about these concerning reforms. Democracy is worth fighting for.

“These reforms do not change our commitment to be out there advocating on national issues and policies that have real life impacts on millions of people. ACOSS will always speak up to support people with the least to be heard.

“Right now, we are hearing the desire for greater transparency and integrity. Now is the time for this Government to deliver that. These laws don’t contribute any meaningful transparency to our elections – they are yet another example of this government attempting to silence critics.

“The process we have seen with these reforms demonstrates exactly how legislation should not be made. This is a Bill that’s meant to be about transparency, yet there has been none. There has been inadequate scrutiny and consultation.

“We are proud to be part of the Hands Off Our Charities alliance of more than 80 community organisations and charities who fought this Bill.”