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Tuesday, 22 March 2011
Page: 2758


Mr FLETCHER (9:27 PM) —When you go into a bank to transact, you produce an identification document. When you check in for a flight, you produce an identification document. In so many other situations in modern life, you are asked—and you do so without complaint—to produce an identification document. When you go into a bar or a club, at least until you reach the advanced age which characterises most of us in this place, you are frequently asked for an identification document and you produce it. When you go into a video store, you are often required to produce an identification document. None of these requirements are considered to be unduly onerous. None of these are considered to be unreasonable. None of these are considered to be some kind of outrageous imposition on the civil liberties on the persons from whom those identification documents are requested. Instead they are understood to be part of the normal, sensible, efficient operation of a modern society. Yet for some reason the Labor Party is remarkably squeamish about the requirement that, in certain circumstances, if you wish to cast a provisional vote you are required, under the law as it presently stands until such time as the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Provisional Voting) Bill 2011 is passed, to produce documents to verify your identity.

I wish to make three brief points. We must take every necessary step to protect the integrity of our voting system in this country. That is the first point I wish to make. The second point is that the costs of requiring identification from those seeking to cast a provisional vote are modest. The benefits of the system are significant. Third, it is with some regret that I must also add that there are good reasons to doubt Labor’s motives for proposing the changes inherent in the bill before the parliament this evening.

Let me turn first to the proposition that we must take all reasonable steps to protect the integrity of our electoral system. All of us in this place are united by our pride—

Debate interrupted.