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Tuesday, 10 September 1996
Page: 3924

(Question No. 561)

Mr McDougall asked the Minister for Administrative Services, upon notice, on 20 August 1996:

Is the Government considering the introduction of voter identification cards for future federal elections.

Mr Jull —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The issue of voter identification at polling booths was examined by the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters in its enquiry into the conduct of the 1993 federal election. In its November 1994 Report to the Parliament entitled `The 1993 Federal Election' the Committee concluded that all objective evidence indicated that fraud was not a significant occurrence and did not influence any result at the 1993 federal election. The Committee did not support a requirement for proof of identity at polling booths.

However, in a dissenting report by Mr David Connolly MP, Senator Nicholas Minchin, Senator John Tierney, and Mr Michael Cobb MP, it was stated that the conclusion of the majority was too complacent. The dissenting report recommended a number of measures to tighten up electoral procedures, including the trial of voter identification cards at a by-election.

In the light of the dissenting report, the Government will be giving further consideration to the issue of electoral fraud and measures to tighten up electoral procedures. In addition, it is likely that they will be further examined by the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, which I believe is the appropriate forum at this time for discussion of such matters. Accordingly, the Government will reserve consideration of voter identification cards until after the Committee has examined the issues and tabled its report.