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Voter identity laws heading towards defeat

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Key crossbench senator Jacqui Lambie says she will not vote for the government’s proposed voter ID laws, significantly reducing the chance of them passing.

The new laws would require Australians to present a form of identification when voting and has been described as an unnecessary hindrance to democracy that would disenfranchise some voters, including Indigenous people.

Senator Lambie did not agree with claims the proposed changes were racist, but thought it was a bad bill that risks making things worse by discouraging voters.

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“Do the benefits outweigh the risks? No, no way, not even close,” she told the Senate on Wednesday.

Senator Lambie conducted a poll on her website to understand the public sentiment on the bill ahead of making her decision.

She said two-thirds of respondents were opposed to the bill, as were the majority of respondents across all states or territories.

“One of the things I value is politicians that care what (the public) thinks,” she said.

“When I do a survey, I am not asking people to decide for me, I am asking if you’re in my shoes how would you vote and why?

“On balance, I do not think the laws do the job.”

Senator Lambie’s decision essentially ensures the bill is on its last legs, with Labor, the Greens and independent Rex Patrick not supporting it.

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With One Nation supporting the proposed laws, it could pass if Centre Alliance senator Stirling Griff sides with the government. He wants amendments forcing political messages to include an unsubscribe option to avoid spam from politicians.

The senator said he generally supports the principle of voters needing to identify themselves.

But the bill will not pass unless the government can rein in its own senators Gerard Rennick and Alex Antic, who are withholding their votes on legislation until the government deals with the issue of vaccine mandates.

– AAP

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