Wednesday, 24 November 2021
Electoral Legislation Amendment (Voter Integrity) Bill 2021; Second Reading
I have to start by saying that this proposed legislation by the government is absolutely outrageous. This government has learnt absolutely nothing from the years, the decades, of watching what we have seen in other democracies and the learnings that we should be taking out of that. When I look across the ocean to some of the negative things we see in some of our counterpart democracies around the world, things that undermine those democracies, I think, 'Thank God those things are not happening here in Australia,' yet, low and behold, on the eve of a federal election in this country, we see the Morrison government trying to push through voter ID laws that are designed to, and will have the effect of, suppressing voting in this country. Australia is about enfranchising the vote. We are one of the first democracies in the world to give women the vote and that is something that we should and can be proud of. We have been about giving more people the vote over the time of this democracy.
What do we have now? I think it's a virtue that we have compulsory voting, that we try to encourage as many people to vote as possible, including by making it compulsory, but we now have a government putting in place measures that will make it more difficult for people to vote, the exact opposite of what our democracy is all about. We should always be trying to get more people to vote, yet the Morrison government has introduced legislation here that, quite frankly, Donald Trump and his Republican Party in the US would be very proud of. This will undermine our vote and our democracy. On this side of the chamber, Labor believes in our Australian democracy. The Morrison-Joyce government is actively trying to weaken it through this bill. This is, as I said, a thought bubble straight out of the Republican playbook. Instead of working for all Australians, Scott Morrison is working to ensure those who might not—