The state Liberal-National Party government said it introduced the law in May to reduce voter fraud. Opponents said it will deprive some of the most marginalised groups, including Indigenous and ethnic communities, of their democratic right. “Voter fraud has been an issue in the past and there does continue to be an issue of people voting multiple times or voting as other people,” said the LNP Stafford candidate Bob Andersen. “It’s not too much to ask just to produce ID and verify who they are and then give their one vote and make it count.” The LNP has presented no evidence of systematic fraud in Queensland elections. “The last time this was thoroughly looked at, the court of Disputed Returns in Chatsworth went through 20,000 votes and the instances they found of double voting were very, very minor,” said Labor’s Queensland state secretary Anthony Chisholm. “So there is no justification for this and they’re just trying to advantage themselves and stop people voting and they’re the people that need a voice the most.”
Compulsory voting will remain in place in Queensland but political parties will have to declare donations of $12,400 or more under reforms announced by the Newman Government today. Online voting could also be trialled in the 2015 campaign for voters with a disability. Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said he envisioned all voters could vote electronically within six years. “Subject to appropriate security arrangements and successful trials, computers could replace paper voting cards at polling booths and Queenslanders could even one day vote from the comfort of their own homes over the Internet,” Mr Bleijie said. “The immediate priority is providing electronically assisted voting for people with disabilities.” Other reforms will include lifting the caps on political donations and expenditure which were imposed by the former government and requiring proof of identity from voters on polling day.
Pressure is mounting for Queensland councils to resume control of local government elections after a woeful voter turnout. The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) will survey councils from next week, asking them to judge how the Electoral Commission of Queensland did running last weekend’s polls. It was the second time the electoral commission ran the elections, and LGAQ executive director Greg Hallam believes it should be the last. He says councils should resume control of the process, after a poor voter turn out of 60 per cent despite voting being compulsory.