Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt said Campbell Newman’s attempts to ram through legislation that will destroy the voting rights of those without registered identification were undemocratic and must be overturned.
Joining ALP candidate for Cook Billy Gordon in Cairns, Mr Pitt said the Newman Government was set to use its massive majority to pass the laws through Parliament next week.
“Billy and I are here today to make a stand against the Newman Government and their attempts to
muzzle potential voters in Queensland,” Mr Pitt said.
“Campbell Newman has proven that he will sack you, he will cut your vital services, and now he thinks he can deny your right to vote.
“It just goes to show how he has no interest in listening to Queenslanders.
“Appropriately, it’s been said that this is ‘a solution in search of a problem’ – it’s a disproportionate
response that will only further marginalise certain groups of Queensland voters.
“This legislation has the potential to rob a person of the vote that they have had their entire adult life.”
“Just because some voters come from disadvantaged backgrounds or don’t have the same capacity as others, doesn’t mean they have any less right to vote in an election.”
“This is one of the most outrageous abuses of executive power ever seen in this state, and it must be stopped.”
Mr Pitt said the real intention of these laws is to deny the rights of every single adult Queenslander to cast their vote.
“By making identification a key requirement of voting, groups likely to be affected are Indigenous voters, young people, the elderly, the homeless, and many others.
“Submitters to the Committee inquiry have suggested up to 40,000 voters could be impacted negatively by these proposed changes.
“I’ve seen firsthand how the lack of a birth certificate has prevented some Indigenous children
registering for organised sport. Many adults will face a similar issue in terms of being granted other forms of identification that would meet the requirements of these proposed laws such as a driver licence, a passport or a recent account or notice issued by a public utility.
“So, if you don’t drive a car, don’t travel overseas, and you’re not the account holder for your electricity bill there’s every chance you won’t have the appropriate identification.”
Mr Gordon said many people across the Cape will now find it very difficult to exercise their right to vote.
“Campbell Newman’s ridiculous voter reforms are designed to deny the right of many people in the electorate of Cook to cast their vote,” Mr Gordon said.
“The LNP says its making these changes under the guise of “protecting against electoral fraud” but
there is absolutely no evidence of electoral fraud in the current system.
“A 2009 federal green paper reported on 10 cases of multiple voting referred to authorities from the 2007 election. That’s 10 – not 10,000 – across the entire country. In the 2012 Queensland state election there was one case.
“Why doesn’t the Attorney-General listen to his own department when it says “there is no specific
evidence of electoral fraud”.
“People across the Cape are telling me they are sick of the Newman Government not listening to them, sick of the cuts to schools and health services, and sick of the job cuts.
“These new laws mean those people, and many others, may not be allowed to vote in the next election, which goes against all the principles of freedom and democracy we cherish in this country.”