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Omicron variant cases grow, Christian Porter, Greg Hunt to quit politics; NSW COVID cases grow; Victoria COVID cases grow; Victoria pandemic bill to be put to final vote


The federal government has shelved plans to introduce voter ID laws before the next election after crossbench Senator Jacqui Lambie declared her opposition.

The proposed changes would have required voters to present one of a variety of ID forms, be vouched for by another person or cast a provisional ballot.

Critics attacked it as a solution in search of a problem that would disproportionately stop Indigenous people in remote areas, where government IDs are less common, from voting.

Senator Lambie says she believes there could be a problem with people voting illegitimately, but there is no evidence it is a substantial one. On the other hand, she said the country was “blindfolded” as to the risks of introducing restrictions on voting that could disenfranchise people. On balance, she said, the potential risk made her decide to oppose the laws.

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There is still a path for the law to pass the Senate without Senator Lambie. That would require the support of One Nation along with Centre Alliance Senator Stirling Griff, who had put several conditions on his vote that the government hasn’t met.

In addition, rebel Coalition backbenchers Alex Antic and Gerard Rennick have made it hard for the government to get any legislation through the Senate because of their concerns about vaccine mandates.

But Labor says the government has confirmed it won’t proceed with the bill before the next election.

Meanwhile, the Greens have accused Labor of a “cynical stitch-up” to pass changes to charity laws last night after the opposition sided with the Coalition.

The Greens say the new laws will put onerous disclosure burdens on more charities and discourage non-profits from doing advocacy work.



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