Voter ID requirement changes unnecessary

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Crossbenchers have indicated they will oppose the federal government's proposed voter identification laws, with one stating they border on voter suppression.

Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie and independent senator Rex Patrick will both oppose the legislation, which would require voters to show photo identification or a bank card to cast a ballot.

Ms Sharkie urged Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt to oppose the bill due to its potentially large impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

"When you actually dig down and see data and you see how low participation (and) voter registration is in remote communities - why would we support any legislation at all that would make it even harder and put up yet another barrier?" she said.

"I have enormous respect for Ken Wyatt and I would just urge him please, please don't support this legislation."

Ms Sharkie asked why the bill had been prioritised over a federal anti-corruption body, stating it was "at best ... just a distraction" and "at worst ... voter suppression".

Senator Patrick agreed, saying the "much greater integrity issue" was located within Parliament House.

"I have spoken with the government prior to this bill being brought in - they actually told me that this was not a problem," he said.

"People voting twice was not a problem in Australia, yet they've bought this legislation in and it does disadvantage people, particularly the lowest socio-economic groups and Indigenous people."

Labor senator and Indigenous leader Patrick Dodson said the laws took Australia down a "dangerous path".

"By creating yet another barrier for First Nations voters, the government is whittling away rights that were fought for over decades," he said.

"There is no evidence this is needed."

Labor senator Murray Watt said there had been no voter fraud prosecutions after the last election.

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