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Government ID card red herring.
Hon Arch Bevis MP Federal Member for Brisbane Shadow Minister for Homeland Security, Aviation and Transport Security
11 January 2006
GOVERNMENT ID CARD RED HERRING
Recent reports that the Howard Government is once again considering a national identity card add to the confusion on this topic, according to Shadow Homeland Security Minister Arch Bevis.
Last year we had Attorney-General Philip Ruddock declaring, “We’ve made it very clear that we’re not about establishing a national identity card’, only to be overruled by John Howard three days later, causing a Ruddock backflip with pike.
Then Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone called for ID cards with fingerprints. Not to be outdone, Joe Hockey called for a “smart” Medicare card containing some digital information, though the details were not made clear.
Through all of this, there has not been a single written proposal put on the table by the Howard Government.
Mr Bevis said: “What’s needed are practical measures in dealing with security measures, not red herrings drawing our attention away from important security problems such as the backlog of ASIO checks required for pilots, the Commonwealth Games and farmers seeking ammonium nitrate licences.
“The Government can’t even operate the Aviation Security Identification Card properly, with 384 cards having gone missing.
“How would it cope with a national ID card for the almost sixteen million Australians aged sixteen years and above? Such a card with some form of biometric data is estimated to cost $1.6 billion just to produce the card. Add the cost of the machines to read them
and a system to maintain them and we are looking at a very expensive piece of plastic.
“There are also serious questions about the effectiveness of a national ID card, before we even start to look at the privacy issues.
“Labor will consider any proposal the Howard Government puts on the table but until that happens our focus is on practical measures to improve national security, not more red herrings about a national ID card.”
11th January, 2006
Further information: Rodney Kendall 0409 374 900