Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie met with community leaders in Gladstone yesterday. Photo Tom Huntley / The Observer
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie met with community leaders in Gladstone yesterday. Photo Tom Huntley / The Observer Tom Huntley

Queensland to require ID checks for voting under changes

PROPOSED changes to the electoral system could require Queenslanders to produce identification before they cast their vote at future state elections.

Changes to the rules governing political donations, the public funding of elections and electoral expenditure are also topics up for discussion under the proposed legislation, which has been introduced into State Parliament.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, who introduced the Electoral Reform Amendment Bill, said the State Government was also considering extending the term of the Legislative Assembly from three years to four years along with the proof of identity requirements.

"A proof of identity requirement on polling day will be introduced to reduce the potential for electoral fraud," he said.

"The government acknowledges that not all voters will have ready access to photographic identity.

"A range of acceptable proof of identity documents, not restricted to photographic identification, will be set out in the Electoral Regulation 2013.

"A voter who does not provide proof of identity on polling day will still be permitted to cast a declaration vote.

"The Electoral Commission of Queensland must check each declaration vote made and only if satisfied of the voter's entitlement to vote will the ballot paper be included in the count."

Mr Bleijie said reforms to maximise voter participation were also being considered under the proposed bill.

"Provisions to enable electronically assisted voting will be inserted into the act," he said.

"The government supports offering electronically assisted voting to all Queenslanders if associated security and integrity arrangements can be assured.

"In the short term, the priority is to make electronically assisted voting available on a targeted basis for blind and vision impaired voters and voters who require assistance voting because of a disability, motor impairment or insufficient literacy.

"Electronically assisted voting will, for the first time in Queensland, enable these voters to cast their votes independently and in secret."

Mr Bleijie said there would no longer be caps on political expenditure or donations at the next state election scheduled to be held in 2015.

"The government has decided to remove the caps on political donations and on campaign expenditure as unnecessarily restricting participation in the political process," he said.

"The public funding of elections will revert to a dollar per vote model.

"Political parties will be paid $2.90 for each formal first preference vote received by an eligible endorsed candidate and eligible candidates will be paid $1.45 per vote."

Mr Bleijie said he hoped full electronic trial sites would be in place at the next state election.

The bill has been referred to the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee for consideration.