Proposed voter ID reforms unnecessary – hitting hardest those who need greatest support to vote

ACOSS strongly opposes the Coalition’s unnecessary proposed voter ID reforms and is very concerned it will deter many people from casting a vote.

Australian Council of Social Services CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:

“This Bill is completely unnecessary. We simply do not have a problem with multiple voting or voter impersonation in Australia. Our elections are run with the highest standard of integrity and are the envy of the world.

“Requiring voter IDs would hit hardest those people who already face barriers to voting – people who are homeless, people living in remote communities, First Nations people, recent immigrants, younger people. It would create an intimidating process and significant confusion as to what is required to vote. It would deter many from turning up at the voting booths at all.

“We know from the repealed laws in Queensland that requiring voter IDs had the greatest impact on remote and First Nations communities. The proposed reforms have the potential to be highly discriminatory.

“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.

“We strongly urge all parliamentarians considering this Bill to oppose it. It is completely unnecessary – it will harm and not strengthen, our democracy.

“If the government is interested in the integrity of our democracy, it should be scrutinising political donation laws, creating a proper National Integrity Commission and making it easier, rather than harder, for community organisations to participate in systemic advocacy.”