Queensland government set to repeal discriminatory voter ID requirements

The Queensland government’s commitment to abolish voter ID requirements introduced by the previous government has been welcomed by the Human Rights Law Centre.

The HRLC’s Director of Advocacy and Research, Emily Howie, said voter ID laws placed unnecessary and unwarranted barriers to some groups of people voting.

“Governments should support efforts to engage people in the electoral system, not erect hurdles to their participation,” said Ms Howie.

The votes of tens of thousands of vulnerable people are threatened by the voter ID requirements.

“Those most at risk of losing their vote are elderly and young voters, people in remote rural regions, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the homeless,” said Ms Howie.

Although the former Queensland government asserted that the laws were necessary to address voter fraud, there has been no evidence of any notable amount of electoral fraud in Queensland.

“Voter ID laws are a solution in search of a problem. Without evidence of voter fraud to justify the laws, there is simply no proven need for this law that will deny some Queenslanders their right to vote,” said Ms Howie. 

Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath announced that reforms will be made through legislation introduced in the first sitting week of the new Parliament.

“We welcome the Attorney-General’s commitment to removing these excessive provisions. Queensland’s voter ID laws were the first and hopefully last of their kind in Australia. They came at a time of diminishing voter turn-out at Australian elections, when we should actually be striving to increase participating in the democratic process,” said Ms Howie.

The Human Rights Law Centre made submissions to the Queensland parliament’s inquiry into voter ID laws opposing their introduction.

The HRLC also had the following opinion pieces published on voter ID laws, one concerning the voters that will be left behind by the laws, co-written with Graeme Orr and another on the political motivations behind the laws.

For further information and comments contact: Emily Howie on 0421 370 997