On a roll

If you’re a Crikey subscriber or are willing to take out a two-week trial, you can read my piece from yesterday on enrolment numbers. If not, Simon Jackman’s analysis at The Bullring is at least as good. More reading on this subject from Jackman and Brent and Antony Green. And remember: new enrolments must be lodged by no later than 8pm this evening.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

145 comments on “On a roll”

Comments Page 2 of 3
1 2 3
  1. Yes, I have to admit I am unwilling to change just because you have a good argument. But then, I’m not sure we disagree. You have more faith in institutional mechanisms than me. I try to think of things in terms of rights and their infringement. It helps me to a point…

  2. Rubbish. An ID card, with appropriate safeguards as I said, actually empowers the citizen. Your argument is based on the premise that we live in Nazi Germany, a society where there are no restraints on the state. That’s nonsense.

  3. Creating ID cards woud not of itself “give the state more unchecked power”. But the it would have both the means and opportunity to collect data and link it with identity. Unless this capacity was limited, we would end up living in a society where our privacy would be like a shadow: visible, but intangible. I am worried by that….maybe it is my introverted self that is resisting intrusion…

  4. That assumes that “the state” is a conscious entity with sinister motives. You’ve been reading too many science fiction novels. “The state” is just a bunch of overworked drudges in Canberra, most of whom vote Labor and are interested in nothing more than going home at 5pm.

  5. Maybe I am over-sensitive on this. But personal freedom and democracy are indivisble in my mind. We enjoy a range of freedoms to do things. But I like the idea that we are free from some things too, especially from the arbitrary use of power.

  6. 55
    Adam Says:
    October 17th, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    That assumes that “the state” is a conscious entity with sinister motives. You’ve been reading too many science fiction novels. “The state” is just a bunch of overworked drudges in Canberra.

    and some of them are named Kevin Andrews or Phillip Ruddock…state power is exercised by individuals, who are all-too-human…

  7. No it’s not. “Appropriate safeguards” is a bill of rights, a privacy act, an independent judiciary, an ombudsman, a vigilant civil society, a free press, free trade unions, Slater and Gordon – Australia bristles with appropriate safeguards, although we could certainly have more.

  8. I think both blindoptimist and myself have expressed, at the very least, sympathy for your views, Adam – I’m glad everything’s so black and white in your world. What colour is the sky?

  9. “state power is exercised by individuals, who are all-too-human…” I agree. That’s why we need institutional safeguards against the mistaken or ill-judged use of authority. An ID is one such safeguard. No-one can assuse me of being you, because I have a card saying I’m me.

  10. Most of them. I’ve already said that I think the introduction of an ID card should be coupled with a bill of rights. That’s what the Hawke government tried to do, and it’s a great pity they failed.

  11. Ok Adam. We seem to have got to the point: …”Appropriate safeguards” is a bill of rights, a privacy act, an independent judiciary, an ombudsman, a vigilant civil society, a free press, free trade unions, Slater and Gordon.

    This is well and good. What it means is that the use of ID and linked data has to be limited. You have to specifiy the instances in which compulsory ID can be used or demanded. This has to be defined and supervised….hmmmm…In whose interest will the supervision be conducted?

  12. 64
    Adam Says:
    October 17th, 2007 at 6:18 pm
    An ID is one such safeguard. No-one can assuse me of being you, because I have a card saying I’m me….

    Which is just as well for you. You wouldn’t want to be in my shoes for quids.

  13. ID cards are troublesome simply because the govt. (and practically anyone) has no right to know anything about your life, tied to a number.

    Governments are there to protect citizens and their privacy, not to infringe upon it.

    Hell, if I had my way, they wouldn’t have your number for welfare purposes (because there wouldn’t be welfare) or taxation purposes (because there wouldn’t be an income tax).

    A drivers licence is enough, surely?

  14. #
    Adam Says:
    October 17th, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    The obvious solution to this and many other problems is a national ID card. Why anyone opposes this I cannot understand. Labor fought and won an election on it in 1987, but now have got cold feet, which is a pity.

    Adam you are really starting to scare me.

  15. Adam, there have been several cases raised recently in Victoria of people who have renewed their driver’s license for 10 years but for whatever reason the VicRoads computer’s have cancelled the 10 year license and then issued a 3 year one. I will not speculate on why a VicRoads employee might want to put a refund for a more expensive 10 year license through their system and then issue a 3 year one and bin the paperwork. 🙂

    The people who have had this happen to them have only found out when they were pulled up by the Police and told their license has expired.
    Even though they have a license card with them which says they are valid for 10 years, the Police have made them park their cars and make alternative arrangements.
    People have then had to go through the process of signing statutory declarations etc. before VicRoads will issue them with a new 10 year license. A lot of pain and bother for someone who can’t drive down to the local VicRoads.

    In short, I do not have enough faith that the powers that be can administer a National ID card correctly so will never agree to one.

    No matter what safeguards are put in place they are only as strong as the most malevolent employee let’s them be.

    A question for you, would you agree to be micro-chipped, so you don’t have to worry about losing your ID card or having it stolen?

  16. Ha I made a squillion for Croll’s Monitoring Australia when Nick Bolkus decided he wanted a transcript of every mention of the Australia Card. He did not trust the animals.

    We just kept sending the transcripts until questions were asked in the Senate.

    Dear Richard Croll (RIP) took me out for dinner.

    Thanks Nick. 🙂

  17. Adam (various) – the basic concern about an ID card is that it creates a centralised database of personal information that is linked to identity. Granted there are numerous organisations who already know an awful lot about us, but these databases are diffuse. The problem with creating a single store of information is not so much that it might “lead” to abuse, but that it’s very existence would encourage the powers that be to abuse it. Power is abused when people have the opportunity to do so.

    Let me give you a hypothetical – should, say, someone’s sexuality be included in this wonder-card of yours? If not, why not? Why is that any more or less use than someone’s birthdate? Just what type of info should be included? How much information does the government need to have about private citizens, and who sets that level? I’m guessing it would be the government, who would no doubt feel that the more data the better.

  18. [The obvious solution to this and many other problems is a national ID card.]

    Well, I’m glad they dropped the idea of the card. I’ve heard all the arguments and I’m not convinced we need it. There is absolutely no proof it will solve any of the problems they think it will and won’t create other problems. However being a mere mortal I know my opinion will mean very little.

  19. Gotta say I agree with the no vote, and particularly if it was an electronically based form. Just look at how that kid was able to hack the much vaunted anti-porno protection web stuff.

  20. Bronwyn Bishop, strangely, has a compelling ‘test’ for these schemes.

    Basically – ‘Would it have helped the Nazi’s?’

    Imagine if a national identity scheme includes aspects about you that later, under some less benevolent version of Australia, allows you to be systematically persecuted with ease.

    Those of you into technology would know this line of SQL is possible with a single consolidated database:

    “SELECT * FROM registered_australians WHERE religion = ‘JEWISH’ ”

    21 million records (the population of Australia) is small enough to be searched on your home computer in less than a minute or two 🙂

  21. I am currently living in China where an ID card is necessary for almost everything. The main objection I have to it is that if you are unfortunate enough to lose it, your entire life is absolutely rooted for the several weeks that it takes to get a replacement.

    As I am prone to losing things, this would not suit me at all.

  22. The ID would evolve into the be all and end all of proving who you are and doing any transaction in life and thus what you have done. The power this gives to the state and or criminals is too large and too easy to abuse. An aggressive or arrogant State [hmmm Howard govt?] or public service would find it all too easy to make ‘mistakes’ with said card.

    Bill of rights would need to come before the card and provide safeguards.

  23. Conducted a highly scientific, random phone survey of one person, my 21 year old niece, an hour before she would have seen any TV news.

    Questions and findings, slightly paraphrased, for the sake of economy.

    What is a communist? Um, wouldn’t have known, but Uncle J was explaining it recently…North Korea , everyone gets paid the same. What do you think about that? That is bad. (CW thinks her brother J is a nut case, anyway. Sorry, CW means he’s biased).

    Who is Julia Gillard? Oh, the redhead. Looks like country singer, Reba. Does that matter? No, doesn’t matter. If you thought Julia was a communist, would it influence your vote? Probably not. What Party does Julia belong to? I think Labor, have seen her next to Kevin Rudd.

    Is China a communist or democratic country? I think communist from what Uncle J said.

    Does Australia sell uranium to China? Don’t think they do or are. Would that be good or bad? Bad, because communists are bad.

    Is Russia a communist or democratic country? I think, were. Does Australia sell uranium to Russia? Not sure.

    What if I told you Australia is going to sell uranium to Russia and that Russia is pretty well communist anyway? Should Australia sell uranium to Russia? Well….not sure what uranium is for. What if I told you it could be used for nuclear weapons? Bad!

    Who are you voting for? Oooh, that’s personal…well, Labor.

    Why? Well Mum votes Labor. I don’t like John Howard. Because of the GST. (Niece goes on to explain, but CW can’t quite fathom the reason).

    Does Work Choices have any influence on your vote? No.

    Do you prefer Kevin Rudd or John Howard? Kevin Rudd. Why? Dunno… fresh faced, Australia’s in need of a change. Why do you say that? From polls and the papers. Don’t know, most young people don’t know much about it, mostly young people don’t like John Howard. He doesn’t go on Rove. Rove shows that John Howard is a dork. Flappy track pants (etc).

    Are you on an AWA? Is that an err…Australian Work Place Agreement? Yes. Not sure if I am.

    Explanation by CW.

    Oh yeah, but started in work place three years ago. Niece concludes she is probably not on an AWA.

    But volunteers that she is on her original contract of three years ago, despite a substantial uplift in level of responsibility, at a DROP of $1.00 in her overall wage and since a 35 cent or so per hour age based only pay rise. That she is trying to work up “the guts” to ask for a pay rise.
    That she only recently was eligible for overtime (subject to), after more than a year with this new responsibility. Which cost her any opportunity for penalty rates anyway.

    Thinks her contract doesn’t ALLOW her to JOIN a Union. But basically if she didn’t sign, didn’t get the job.

    Says newer employees are having to sign their rights away (her exact words). That an HR person is recently on deck to review all the contracts.

    Do you think that is likely to get anyone a better deal? No.

    Do you think you would get a better deal at work under Labor? Yes. Why? I saw Kevin Rudd’s ad and he said it would make a difference. (Explicates). Have you looked at Labor’s Fair Work policy? No.

    Will the proposed Howard tax cuts influence your vote? Tax cuts? More explanation by CW. Was in all the papers. Oh, I don’t read the back pages. Front pages, dear. No idea, only saw Ben Cousins, no T shirt, etc. Only pay $x tax anyway.

    CW:Thank you for participating in this survey.
    Niece: My pleasure, will read up about so I can give better answers next time. Where will this be on the Internet?
    CW: Will email you a copy of the blog.

    PS Great tooing and froing among family members checking AEC status, warnings to those who ahem.

  24. The roll is closed, indeed. Guess what I got in my letter box today, however? A Kevin Rudd peice of election progaganda only 2 sections of which was actually K Rudd propaganda.

    The rest of it {10 sections} was a 4 step easy to follow guide with “Important Postal Voting Information” which allows me to complete said form and mail it off in a free prepaid envelope to ‘Kevin Rudd MP. Reply Paid 476 Morningside QLD 4170.

    Let noone say Labor is not doing all it can [at its own expense in this case] to encourage everyone to vote at this election.

    Interesting that the young vote is strong but apparently dominantly present in Labor held seats which is not so good for Labor: better they were spread out across Coalition held seats as well.

    Now the rolls are closed the question is moot, but is does beg the question.

    Does Labor beleive new voters or absentee Postal Voters are more likely to vote for Labor than the Coalition ?

    I think I saw someone quoting research which indicated that is in fact what has been happening or is going to happen at this election.

    My nineteen year old son who has been warned that voting for the Coalition brings with it the penalty of being disowned from the genetic hsitory of the clan and being issued with Barbara Streisand CDs for Christmas presents for five years said. “Screw em both Dad, they both have right wings= one is flapping harder than the other: _ I am voting Green”.

    I suppose that rates as not voting Coalition but he is pushing it. At stake is an inheritence of four Collingwood Football Club coffee mugs {circa 1990} and a Labor Party HTW Card {circa 1972}. Life would be tough without them.

  25. PS I have not seen too many Coalition election ads on the TV yet, Rudds would be roughly rating 3-1 up here at the moment. What is happening in other States ?

  26. Back from dinner

    I got a letter today from Senator Judith Troeth (Lib, Vic), in an envelope with a Commonwealth crest on it, and IMPORTANT ELECTION INFORMATION in big letters on the front. In it is a letter from the Senator warning me not to vote Labor because 70% of the Labor frontbench are former union officials. The interesting thing about this is that Senator Troeth is not a candidate at this election, since she was elected in 2004. I’m pretty sure that using her taxpayer-funded mailing allowance to send out party-political mail which is not connected with her own re-election is a breach of the rules. I intend finding out.

  27. Did the Government spokesman say today that the enrolement changes were needed to allow time for a challenge to that enrolement to be processed. Where are the stats to show that such challenges are relevent, like how many of these do they get. Compare that to the 145000 who have already been deleted from the electoral role on some flimsy pretexts. This is from the Karl Rove manual of dirty tricks!

  28. Compulsory ID card of any kind.

    Great idea in a perfect world, where politicians and bureaucrats are competent noble people, and data security and integrity hold. But terrible idea in this flawed, dangerous real world I live in.

    I have seen first hand, on many occasions, what can happen when the official line conflicts with a legitimate individual reality. Not a pretty sight. For both the individual, and ultimately the community.

    No thanks.

  29. [ taxpayer-funded mailing allowance ]


    She’ll probably claim it’s just part of her campaign to educate the electorate on the state of play in politics these days. Just coincidental that it was mailed before the election.

  30. Just me, I’m sorry to hear you live in Burma, or is it Zimbabwe? You should move to Australia, where the worst we have to put up with is ministers who have been in office too long. But we are about to have a democratic election where we can kick them out if we want to.

  31. Adam Says:
    October 17th, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    Then you don’t get to vote, get a driver’s license, get a passport, get an air ticket. It’s up to you.

    And that is the problem with an ID card, only one document to forge. Think of identification as a biological system, mono culture fails with one from of attack.

    I do agree we should all have a number , preferable tattooed on the sole of our foot at birth so I can ‘t lose it or forget it when I am old and senile.

  32. Just saw the Chaser, absolutely savage on the Liberal Party. They did things on Labor but that was mild compared to what they did to the Liberals. You can see it on You Tube tomorrow sometime.

Comments are closed.

Comments Page 2 of 3
1 2 3