Thursday, 6 December 2018
Electoral Matters Committee; Report
I take the opportunity to make some brief comments, particularly in rebuttal of the member for Oxley. He did get off to a good start, I'll give him that. It is a collegiate committee, where people work very well together. But it did go downhill from there, I've got to say. The purpose of this recommendation is quite simply to ensure that people understand their democratic responsibility. I am absolutely certain that every single member of the Labor Party in this place could be found making a quote that sounds exactly like this—they say to their constituents and supporters: 'Vote early and vote often.' I have heard it dozens and dozens of times.
This is a strong recommendation for democracy in this place. You need a licence to get into a sporting club. You certainly need identification to open a bank account. You need a driver's licence in order to drive, and you have to have it with you. There are any number of places where you need identification—why not for our democracy? Quite simply, you get your opportunity to vote and you are aware of what is required. It is a good recommendation. I support the position of the chair, Senator James McGrath. I say to the member for Oxley: we gave him the authority to make statements on behalf of the committee, as we have done for others, and I think there is absolutely the ability for him to do that. He is well informed, he is well versed and it is a very strong position. I would also say to the opposition, given that they raised the Queensland government many times, that it was a Queensland Labor government that went against the Fitzgerald inquiry recommendations and brought back full preferential voting for the state parliament. It is just hypocrisy to stand in this place and make those claims.