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Australian Senate Passes Digital ID Bill

Australian Senate Passes Digital ID Bill

Mar 27, 2024

Australian Senate Passes Digital ID Bill

The Australian Senate has passed the controversial Digital ID Bill 2023 with a 33 to 26 vote, amidst vocal concerns from some members over the lack of parliamentary debate. The legislation, which establishes a national digital ID system, received backing from the Australian Labor Party, the Greens, the Jacqui Lambie Network, and independent David Van.

Several senators criticized the process, claiming the bill was expedited through Parliament. On social media, senators expressed their dissatisfaction on March 27. Finance and Government Services Minister Katy Gallagher moved amendments after a Senate Committee inquiry and consultation, indicating changes to the initial draft of the legislation.

The bill’s opposition came from senators of the centre-right Liberal Party, the United Australia Party, and the nationalist One Nation party. One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson and United Australia Party Senator Ralph Babet both denounced the process, calling it a "sad day for democracy" and criticizing the government for pushing the legislation through without sufficient discussion.

Currently, Australians can use a digital ID for accessing government services, including MyGov, Centrelink, Medicare, and the Australian Tax Office. The new legislation will expand this system to be used by state, territory governments, and the private sector.

Liberal Senator Alex Antic, who opposed the bill, raised concerns about the bill's implications for privacy and civil liberties. Antic, who had collected 123,000 signatures opposing the bill, warned that the digital ID could lead to further encroachments on personal freedoms, such as linking to a central bank digital currency or a social credit system.

Senator Katy Gallagher’s office stated that the bill includes amendments ensuring the digital ID system remains voluntary and that alternative verification methods would be accessible and fair for those opting out of the digital ID.

The Digital ID Bill was initially introduced to the Senate on November 30, 2023, and has since undergone a Senate inquiry and brief consultation period. With the bill now passed, the future landscape of digital identity in Australia is poised to change, though the debate over its potential impact and the democratic process continues.

The bill's future implications for privacy, security, and civil liberties will be closely monitored by both supporters and critics alike.

Originally reported by The Epoch Times


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