Wave Goodbye To Another Set Of Freedoms With The New Digital ID

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024 - 11:45 PM

Authored by Graham Young via The Epoch Times,

“Papers please” used to be the ostinato of totalitarian systems, at least in the movies.

With the passing of the government’s Digital ID bills, Australians will have to become used to the digital equivalent - so what does that say about present-day Australia?

A few things have surprised me over the last few years, not the least the way the famous Aussie spirit of insubordination has been subsumed into a goody-two-shoes compliance with whatever capricious orders the authorities made.

I can’t imagine our forebears accepting lockdowns and forced vaccinations, and I certainly couldn’t see them accepting an identity card linking not just government accounts but private sector ones as well.

While the first proposition is an assertion based on a gut feeling, the second is very much based on fact.

Remember the Australia Card?

In 1984, the Hawke Labor government introduced the Australia Card, and for the next three years, the government and opposition parties tussled over it to the extent that it triggered a double-dissolution election in 1987.

Objections didn’t just come from the federal Opposition either.

Queensland Labor Senator George Georges resigned from the governing party in 1986 over the issue, and in the lower house, Labor backbencher Lewis Kent said:

“Nothing can be more un-Australian than the need to provide one’s identity on the call of an official, be it a policeman or a bureaucrat. It would be more appropriate for the proposed card to be called a Hitlercard or Stalin-card.”

As a result, while the government won the 1987 election, and had the numbers to push the card through, instead, it withdrew the card when a technicality was found that could have affected its operation. One senses this was a relief.

Individual Freedom Chipped Away, One Law at a Time

Yet, apart from a few senators this time there has been little outcry in response to the Albanese government’s Digital ID, although the Liberal-National Opposition did vote against it.

A form of this ID was recommended by the Murray Inquiry into the Financial System in 2014, but the committee was careful to avoid recommending a full-blown government-issued identity card because of the Australia Card debacle.

The then-Liberal-National government acted on these recommendations, but its version of the bill was to facilitate private organisations to issue their own digital identity cards, rather than the government.

Why has the government now decided to make the card a government-issued one, when the recommendation and the draft legislation was for a competitive system?

At one level one might say it is symptomatic of this Labor government that it wants to control everything and is suspicious of both private enterprise and competition.

At another level, it has been gnawing away at the independence of the citizenry, particularly the independence of thought, so maybe there is a long-term agenda of control here.

Two pieces of draft legislation, and one draft regulation, exemplify this tendency—the proposed draft Communications Legislation Amendment (Combatting Misinformation and Disinformation) Bill 2023, the Online Safety (Relevant Electronic Services—Class 1A and Class 1B Material) Industry Standard 2024, as well as the Religious Discrimination Bill.

The combination of these is to restrict what citizens can say, teach, and whom they associate with, depending on what is approved by the government, or worse, regulators.

Recent Tragedies Reveal How Eager Authorities Are to ‘Protect’ Us

Almost as though to prove the dangers of these proposed laws, the Commonwealth “censor” eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant just days ago ordered Meta and X to remove videos showing footage from the stabbing incidents at Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre, and the Christ the Good Shepherd church at Wakely.

I’ve seen this footage, as have many other Australians, and suffice it to say, were I the eSafety commissioner, they would still be up.

When it comes to horror, the footage I have seen from Gaza and Ukraine, and reproduced in the pages and on the websites of the major news sites, is more horrific than any of this footage.

And where is the justification for censoring the information that individuals can now access for themselves?

For a moment there, we all became citizen journalists, able to view events and make our own decisions, and now the government is trying to take our accreditation away from us.

Indeed, some of these clips are uplifting as they show acts of heroism as men throw themselves between attackers and victims, or tend to the wounded.

Ms. Grant only has powers over commercial entities, so I can still, for the moment, show the videos on my blog.

But should we all have a unique identifier, known to the government and cross-referenced to every other activity that we are involved in, who knows what petty bureaucrat will hold my free will in their hands? And what else might the government interfere with?

Voluntary? Not Really

In Canada, a country that shares our democratic norms, we saw the Trudeau government bar protestors, and any supporters who donated money to their cause, from using their bank accounts.

Imagine what an interlinking record could allow them to have done.

Is it too far-fetched to think that could happen in Australia?

The government says these concerns are absurd.

The digital ID card is “voluntary” and will only link records to the person, not link them together, and records will be encrypted. It also claims that it will protect against cyber-attacks.

The voluntary aspect is laughable.

You may be able to access your Centrelink welfare benefits without it, but you will need to physically go down to the Centrelink office, even if you live in Oodnadatta—a remote outback town in South Australia—and if the office is in Perth, Western Australia.

And if you are a company director, you will need one, full-stop, because of the now-mandatory “director IDs” introduced by the Morrison government in 2021.

If “voluntary” doesn’t mean voluntary for all people and all activities, then it doesn’t mean voluntary at all.

Believe It or Not, the Slippery Slope Is Real

So why are we acquiescing to this scheme?

Perhaps it is because we’ve become too compliant—that the irreverent generation were the original immigrants and their sons and daughters, and now we are onto third, fourth, fifth generations and more, the spirit of adventure that brought people here has dissipated.

Or maybe it’s the case that the frog has been swimming in digital waters that have gradually risen in temperature.

First, we allowed social media companies to monetise us in return for the free use of their platforms, and then we allowed them to cross-reference our online activities to create profiles to then be used for other unrelated sites.

And how is that working out? They abuse their power.

We know that, come election time, they will be putting their thumbs on our scales and showing us material that they deem suitable, rather than allowing us to make our own decisions.

We also know that they work hand-in-glove with unscrupulous administrations to sell us lies like “safe and effective” and to suppress embarrassing facts, such as the high probability that viruses escape from laboratories more regularly than from pangolins in a market (particularly when the market didn’t have any pangolins for sale).

I don’t believe that governments are any more trustworthy than social media, especially if they are staffed with Bruce Lehrmanns and Brittany Higgins’s.

Democracy is meant to be government by the people, for the people. And Google’s motto was “Don’t be evil.”

But one seems to be converging on government by anyone but the people, and the other seems to have dropped the motto, maybe ashamed of their hypocrisy.

Either way, human institutions seem inexorably to head towards dissolution, so the less they know about you and can link together, the better.

So I’ll probably pass on my Digital ID.

Whoops, I’m a company director. Looks like they are closing in on me already.

Looks like I’ve already learned the true, government-approved, meaning of “voluntary.”

*  *  *

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times or ZeroHedge.