The federal government won’t attempt to pass proposed voter identification laws before the next election, according to Labor.
Key senate crossbencher Jacqui Lambie on Wednesday flagged she would not vote for the laws, saying she wanted more time to be given to consider the risks.
Shortly afterwards, Labor reportedly received notification from the government it would not attempt to pass the laws before the 2022 election.
The laws would have voters show identification on polling day, rather than simply have their name and address checked off on arrival.
Lambie said she had considered the evidence available, and surveyed voters to find most were opposed to the legislation.
Critics have argued the move could “disenfranchise” voters, particularly young people and Indigenous Australians.
The Australian Electoral Commission has been even-handed about the issue, with commissioner Tom Rogers telling Senate estimates in October that while voter fraud had been “vanishingly small” he understood there was a “perception issue” with voters not presenting ID.
Lambie said she did not believe the laws were racist but didn’t believe enough time had been given to consider all the evidence for the change.
“We haven’t done it before, so we don’t know if the protections that the bill puts in place are appropriate,” she said.
“If the protections in place aren’t enough, then thousands of people trying to vote legitimately, as is their democratic right, will be prevented from doing so. That would be a disaster.
“We’re in the shadow of a fresh election and we’re being asked to make radical changes to how we vote, with no trials and certainly no evidence, apparently just on a theory.”