Why I oppose an ID card

The Access card is nothing short of a national identity card. The government has argued that it is not compulsory. However, citizens will not be able to obtain government health and welfare services without it. In fact, the Access Card website even states that from 2010, the Access Card will replace the Medicare Card. Effectively, it is every bit as compulsory as was the Thatcher government’s poll tax in the UK.

The Hawke government’s Australia Card in 1986/87 was considered such a threat to privacy that it was blocked three times in the Senate providing a possible trigger for a double dissolution. It was subsequently abandoned. The problems the Hawke government aimed to address with it’s Australia Card were subsequently address with the Tax File number, payment of welfare into bank accounts, the 100 point identification check. Photo ID’s acn be obtained, optionally, by anyone but they are not linked for access to anything (except perhaps in the case of driving or international travel).

The Howard government’s Access Card is far more of a threat than the Australia Card ever was. Modern surveillance technology, databases and photgraphic technology (biometrics) are far more sophisticated thatn they were in the 1980s – and the risks associated with them are consequently also far more sophistacted. Hackers, privacy concerns, monitoring of citizenry, the card becoming a domestic passport are all very real concerns and cannot be addressed by legislation. Even the best intended privacy legislation will not protect people from a more “power-and-control” orientated government than the current Australian government from increasing the scope and coverage of the card (function creep).

We mustn’t allow Australia to join such dubious company as Nazi Germany, occupied pre-unification Berlin, and white South Africa. I will fight to keep us free from an identity card.

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