House of Representatives
26 October 2021
I'm rising tonight to show my utter contempt and disgust with this government in their announcements today about bringing in voter suppression laws at the next general election. We have just had a debate in this chamber regarding the future and the voice of Indigenous Australians, and many reports tonight have revealed that at the joint party room this morning the coalition ticked off on voter suppression laws to be brought in before the next election.
I sit as a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters and this issue has been litigated and prosecuted there. Not one bit of evidence has been presented before the joint standing committee regarding bringing in voter ID laws. We saw this in my home state in Queensland when Campbell Newman was in charge and he tried this US-style voter suppression trick. We just saw the crocodile tears from members of the opposition regarding an important piece of Indigenous legislation: well, who do voter suppression laws have an impact on? Indigenous and First Nations members of our community; the poor, the vulnerable and the people who don't have identification.
This is nothing more than a grubby grab for votes by the LNP. We will not stand for it and the people of Australia will fight this every step of the way. In the dissenting report to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters at the last election it was made clear by members of the opposition that if the government tried this on we would fight it. Let me be very clear: the tricks and the cons that the LNP are trying to bring in are nothing more than US-style voter suppression laws. They know this government is in trouble. You only need to see Newspoll this week to realise that across Australia, Australians are waking up to this government. They see the tricks and the cons from this Prime Minister—always about the announcement, never about the delivery. So what did the LNP do in this country? They go to their grab bag of tricks and pull out the old favourite: trying to stop Australians from having their say. I know that the member for Barton, when she has spoken to Indigenous communities across this country as a leader and warrior for First Nations people, wants every single Australian to have their say.
Well, bring it on, if they want to try this on! The ringleader of this is none other than Senator James McGrath, the Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters—when he's not prosecuting the war on the ABC and all the other nonsense culture wars that the LNP go on about. I'm calling on the government to junk these proposals and I'm calling on members of the National Party to junk these proposals. If they think they're going to bring in laws to stop Australians from voting, they're going to have one hell of a fight on their hands.
When I read the media reports tonight I am fearful, because when the LNP are in electoral trouble, when the LNP are in dangerous territory, they do everything they can to try to stop voters. I am calling on every single member of this House to oppose these US-style voter suppression laws. It is an outrage that we would even be considering this, but I'm not surprised. We have seen culture war after culture war. The education minister gets up in this place at question time and goes on like he's at a Young Liberals convention: banging on about curriculum and banging on about the black armband history of Australia. Well, through you, Mr Deputy Speaker Vasta, you're in charge. If the minister has had eight or nine long years to fix the curriculum then why hasn't he done it? We come in here and it's like some LNP young convention when he's being cheered and clapped by the backbench, a desperate government running out of steam.
Well, the latest proposal by this government to bring in voter suppression laws will be opposed. We will make sure every Australian has their say at the next election. An Anthony Albanese government will bring integrity back to Australian political processes. We will ensure that the tricks and the cons and the shysters of those opposite won't be supported, and we will deliver every Australian to have their say at the next election.