The integrity of Australian elections would be improved if the Labor Government accepts the position of a senior Minister who has publicly supported proof-of-identity requirements at polling stations, Senator Simon Birmingham said today.
Senator Birmingham is a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, which has previously explored the issues relating to voter identification requirements canvassed in a Green Paper released by Special Minister of State Joe Ludwig this week.
Either Labor’s staunch opposition to requiring photographic or other identification to vote is weakening or a split has emerged, with Rudd Government Minister Craig Emerson publicly stating his support for such measures.
Madonna King:        Lots of issues to get through, so yes or no on this. Do you favour photo identification when you vote? Craig Emerson??
Craig Emerson:        Yes.
                                    612 ABC Brisbane, 23 September 2009
“Minister Emerson’s public support for requiring voters to properly identify themselves is a great step forward,” Senator Birmingham said today. 
“Hopefully Minister Emerson is not the only Labor MP holding these views, and this signals a change in policy for the Rudd Government.
“It beggars belief that we require less identification for the important act of electing our representatives than we do for entering many buildings or even just hiring a DVD.
“Yet the Government-dominated Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters recently recommended actually removing the only current election day proof-of-identity requirements – those relating to provisional voters.
“Provisional voting only occurs when an elector has already been marked off as having voted, can’t be found on the certified list or can’t satisfy the presiding officer they are the elector named on the list.
“For the sake of Australian electoral integrity, hopefully the Rudd Government will adopt photo identification more broadly as supported by Minister Emerson, rather than abolishing it altogether as recommended by Labor’s members of the Joint Standing Committee.”