The government's reluctance to confirm its decision to push for voter identification at federal elections was the love child of a deal with One Nation indicates it was aware of what a hot button issue this would become.
Senator Pauline Hanson, angered by the Coalition's failure to acknowledge her role in the formulation of the voter integrity bill, arced up on Thursday to claim all the credit.
She said she had "had a gutful" of the Morrison government [stealing her ideas] and that the bill "wouldn't be happening without me".
The background to her claim is that a deal had been brokered by Special Minister of State Ben Morton for One Nation to support lowering the threshold for political campaigners to lodge financial statements from $500,000 to $100,000.
Senator Hanson's price was the introduction of legislation to mandate voter identification at federal elections: "I give the Liberal party a lot of suggestions on their legislation which they then implement," she said. "I'm instrumental in this Parliament.
The Coalition, understandably reluctant to confirm the controversial former Liberal Party candidate's role as its "eminence grise", is playing possum. Finance Minister Simon Birmingham has said he was "not aware" of any deal. Mr Morton isn't commenting.
This could be because the LNP regards the furore, coming as it did on the same day Scott Morrison jetted off for the G20 and Glasgow, is a handy distraction to draw attention away from any nasty moments next week.
If the PM does crash and burn at COP26 it would be handy to have a pre-prepared bonfire ready and waiting to keep the Canberra press pack busy at home.
While, on the face of it, the requirement for voters to show identification may not seem unreasonable the issue is more complex than it appears.
Many cohorts, including the homeless, Indigenous Australians and those with English as second language - if at all, are already under represented on the electoral roll. According to the AEC as of 2020 only 78 per cent of Indigenous adults were enrolled to vote.
One reason for this is that vulnerable people don't always have access to the documentation and other resources they need to register. The fear is that many of those who may have jumped through all the hoops could be deterred from exercising their right to vote if additional barriers are placed in the way.
That is the intent driving many of the voter identification laws introduced in numerous Republican states in the US in the wake of Donald Trump's defeat just under a year ago.
A cynic might suggest that this could explain Senator Hanson's support for similar measures here.
Leaving the question of possible hidden agendas aside, the reality is that - as many have been quick to note - this is a classic case of a solution in search of a problem.
The difference between Australia and the countries cited by Mr Morrison as having mandatory voter identification is that voting is compulsory here.
Because we have what is arguably the highest voter turnout in the world our elections are very difficult to manipulate; and multiple voting just isn't a thing in any case. According to the AEC on the rare occasions it does occur other issues, such as mental health, are the cause.
It would make much more sense to devote resources to making it easier for disadvantaged individuals to enrol to vote than to create additional impediments to people's ability to exercise their democratic rights.
One right wing Senator should not have the power to drive changes to the electoral act that would affect every adult Australian.
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