MPs say older Australians would be distrustful of electronic voting

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After an eight-day wait for an election result, Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten have called for electronic voting in future elections, but some Government MPs think older Australians may be skeptical about e-voting.

The new push for the modernisation of Australia’s voting system comes on the heels of the Election 2016 saga, with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) taking more than a week to tally enough votes for a result. In response, the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader both mentioned finding an e-voting solution in their victory and concession speeches on Sunday.

But some MPs, including Victorian member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, have cautioned against introducing a switch to computer voting, saying it has the potential to alienate older voters. Mr Chester, in particular, said he was unconvinced that e-voting was the answer, warning that any such move would at least need to be rolled out gradually rather than “in a way that was intimidating or confusing to some people”.

“For some of our younger voters, there’s no doubt we would prefer that, as long as we didn’t make it compulsory at the early stages. A lot of older voters would be cynical about and would be uncomfortable with it,” Mr Chester told ABC radio.

Australia is not alone in its hesitance to introduce electronic voting. Many countries have toyed with the notion, but fear e-voting is too vulnerable to attack or manipulation. Currently, the eastern European nation, Estonia, is the only country to have adopted online electronic voting.

Victoria and New South Wales already have electronic voting options for disabled and remote voters.

Raymond Schippers, a senior security analyst from cyber security company Checkpoint, shares security doubts about electronic voting.

“The amount of attacks over the internet is insane. In an instant someone could compromise 10,000 computers. And without the voter ever knowing, someone could change their vote and no one would ever be able to confirm it was changed,” he said. “The system now is imperfect, there’s no independent verification in place that could confirm each vote. But the possibility of infecting thousands of computers or having incorrect information is very real and a huge risk.”

Read more at The Australian Financial Review
Read more at The Herald Sun

Opinion: Is e-voting a priority?

We wait eight days for a result. We’re presented with few workable policies about issues that affect real Australians daily. Yet one of the first things put on the agenda is e-voting? Surely we have more pressing issues currently confronting Australians.

Electronic voting may be the way forward in future elections but it does come with security risks. Until such time as these security issues are addressed, all Australians, not just older voters, may have reason to be distrustful of e-voting.

Besides, older Australians have already taken to online banking, purchasing and other activities that involve having personal details stored in servers the world over. Older Australians have the life experience to know how to adapt to technology. The problem with e-voting is the security issue, not the age of the voter. And, to older Australians, it’s probably fair to say that electronic voting is the least of their concerns.

If ‘those up on high’ are serious about innovation and moving forward, then how about getting the NBN sorted first? Or, more importantly, how about solving our superannuation dilemma and focusing on fairly funding education, health and social services? How about a resolution to our refugee crisis?

Australians sent a clear message to our two major parties in Election 2016. That message was ‘we are not happy with your priorities’. Many Australians were unimpressed with the election campaign, but the delayed result gave us, and our politicians, pause to ponder the future of our nation. Independent Senator Nick Xenophon probably summed it up best when he said that the delayed result may have brought out some “humility rather than hubris” in our MPs.

“Maybe pollies sweating for a few days makes them consider who they’re there for in the first place,” he said.

Our leaders coming out and complaining about the delay in a result is equivalent to them bemoaning that they didn’t get what they wanted when they wanted it. Well now they know how many of us feel. Maybe the delay was a blessing in disguise. Maybe now they’ll know that we’re not happy with the way they are running the show.

So Mr Turnbull, how about getting our priorities in order? You’ve got your result, now it’s your turn to deliver some positive results to your country.

Did the delayed result really bother you? Do you think that electronic voting is a priority the Government should address? Which policies should be placed at the top of the agenda? Would you be distrustful of e-voting?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 154
  1. 0

    Then work at making it safe! What about banks and PayPal and other safe sites – how do they do it?
    You have 3years!

    • 0

      Seems to me the privacy issues are far overstated in regard to voting. People, it seems, are far more worried about someone else finding out how they vote than knowing the size of their bank account, credit card spending, tax returns or health history!

    • 0

      It’s 2016, get with the times.
      Getting to and lining up to vote should be ancient history.
      I have a MyGov account which gives me access to Medibank, ATO and Centrelink,no security issues there. eVoting is a no brainer.

    • 0

      Only another step to add Voting to MyGov 🙂

    • 0

      How many times has your bank account been hacked? Mine neither.
      Because there are backups kept on a day to day basis and because you can create pretty secure systems it seems pretty safe. And of course It geeks would be watching too.
      Leon: your concerns about older voters are not really an issue. A hybrid would have to be introduced anyway as many older voters would not be able to find the on/off switch on a computer (chuckle…). Perhaps a few AEC centres could be operating for a week before election day and older folk who were computer illiterate could pre poll. Not a big deal!

    • 0

      I’m surprised at you MICK. The stereotyping of older people as computer illiterate is such a beat up.

      Who invented the www?

      Equally a nonsense is the LNP belief that superannuation and pensioners did not cause older people to vote independent.

      Well it was exactly the reason I voted independent and will support our independent into the next election.

      The young advisors straight out of unis need to get out and talk to older people once in a while instead of making it up from fairy tales in their narrow viewpoints.

    • 0

      There has been issues with the Paypal site not working for a few days.
      Not exactly reliable….including the bank it is connected to.

  2. 0

    I’m an older Australian and would have no problem with electronic voting. After fighting the size of the Senate ballot paper and standing in the cold; it would be so much better. True Kaz; they’ve got three years to sort it out!

  3. 0

    Until ALL bugs are worked out of the e-voting system I would trust it even less than “nimble-fingered” manual counting. Without fool-proofing, the few manual “errors” will work themselves into multiple digit figures with phoney politician polling prowess. Computer counting was used in the recent Noosa Shire election with loads of problems and a very poor result. Some candidates in ANY election wouldn’t hesitate selling their mothers to get elected, much less hiring a hacker for the winning numbers.

  4. 0

    I have been wanting online voting for several years. It can be done through the My Gov site. It holds our Medicare, Tax, and Centrelink records. Sure there are some oldies that don’t want to learn to use technology they are scared of change, not online fraud. Let them vote by post. Online voting saves money, time, trees and is faster. We wouldn’t have to wait forever for those overseas postal voters. There is nothing safe about our present voting system. You rock up and tell them who you are and that’s it. No questions and no ID required. I am sure it has been abused.

    • 0

      I already do a lot of online voting and have not had any trouble with it. So much easier than filling out forms and posting them. It is just so hard to find a mailbox these days and when you do it is always in a very busy area with no parking so is difficult for disabled people to post a letter.

      Online fraud does happen but it is not as bad as one is led to believe. Just think if it was a big issue would banks trust it? I don’t think so.

    • 0

      I think you could probably have more integrity with on-line voting and there is also the cost….the 2013 election cost $193 Million. Once the electronic voting was setup, it would cost much less into the future

    • 0

      AHMMMM Jackie I can’t get even get onto MYGov Site at times and when i last tried, and had to go through process of identification, they gave me somebody elses questions to answer to go to my mobile lol.
      YEH right. Again if they want us to E vote, they best get the nbn right first, then some oldies need to be helped. Or get them onto postal voting, cause yeh, just one mention of a computer to a friend of mine and didn’t contact me for quiet a while lol.
      So you know really they have much to be working on besides this. LIKE our Health system, which NONE of the Pollies have been able have have running properly. All their intentions are of just going down the USA style. Which is NOT acceptable.
      Privatizing every also NOT acceptable. This they seem to feel is the answer for every and all this does is UP the prices for us. WE can’t RUN to Panama, to collect any monies, to cope, like them Sneaky Pollies do.
      Give US oldies a break many of us have worked extremely hard, WE deserve a break???
      ‘Ps, they need a many women in there, to break down the rubbish policies, they have enabled. Bring back Reality

    • 0

      buby…. The My Gov website does have some glitches which they will perfect. The savings from online voting can go toward our Health System. The only management skills our Pollies seem to have is to continue making cut backs on our most needy citizens and increasing the cost of living.

    • 0

      Only problem with mygov site is all those silly questions. So what do we all have to do write them all down with the answers. Great security idea.

    • 0

      Gordon, NOTHING will cost less in the future. You are living in Dream Land.

  5. 0

    So bloody unimportant next to the many many worrying things that a Liberal govt wants to do to poorer people like me. I’m so damned sick of their one sided attitude. They are MEANT to serve US the electorate.

  6. 0

    There’s no prob with e-voting. I’m gonna have to learn to drive the latest push-button cars that r coming out after all. What IS a problem is the changes the Libs want to bring in to further impoverish the old suck poor & retired. This question is merely a distraction. Bread & Circusses or distractions from the REAL ISSUES is typical Pollies behaviour.

  7. 0

    Did you see the 60 Minutes program on superannuation on Sunday night? While it was obviously initiated by people who can contribute significant amounts into their super funds and by the funds that manage that money and are very unhappy about the limits on contributions proposed in the budget, it covered the issues that affect all retirees. The main ones are that annual income from super does not adequately cover living expenses for many people, especially if there are emergencies, and that the superannuation will not last to cover later years of life. It is a pity publicity like this did not occur when severe cuts were made to the incomes of people with low to average lump sums and part-pensions last year. The media and funds only responded when they were personally affected. We could say the same thing about Mr Shorten and the Labor Party. We have had to fight the changes made to the incomes of those who can least afford it by writing to politicians individually, a strategy that so far has had limited success.
    Although we do not yet know the final composition of the Senate perhaps now is the time to let representatives of the main parties know that we carried through on our threat and regretfully could not vote for them because they singled out retirees and aged care for such brutal cuts. We could also let Independent Senators know that we voted for them because we believe they will support the aged and vulnerable against attacks from the major parties. The Independents can speak up on issues loudly and at length. They are not bound by party rulings, but can only block measures in conjunction with the opposition. We know Jacqui Lambie is onside but we should thank her for her support. We should contact Bob Katter and Pauline to ask for their representation. Derryn Hinch would be a particularly good spokesman if he were onside. People can also contact Nick Xenophon with concerns about the adequacy of superannuation and the impact and short sightedness of the 2015 cuts. He usually votes with Labor as he did when he voted to cut part pensions and the super supplement for people with defined benefits superannuation. People can decide who they will contact in the major parties apart from the leaders; perhaps Arthur Sinodinos in the LNP or a local member; Barnaby or a local member in the National Party; Sam Dastyari in Labor may be more pro active than some others. It is open to suggestion but we cannot rest on our laurels just yet. There is still a lot of pressure on to raise taxes on retirees.
    I will post the most recent attack on seniors from the Grattan Institute next.

    • 0

      Missed that program, however agree with much of your analysis, especially “It is a pity publicity like this did not occur when severe cuts were made to the incomes of people with low to average lump sums and part-pensions last year. The media and funds only responded when they were personally affected.”.
      The Opinion on the Article above is correct – the diversion to eVoting as an issue / trying to paint older workers as objectors, instead of trying to understand why both parties failed to get voter’s support is indicative why people should not have voted for them – unfortunately, many still have.
      Does YLC send opinions of this forum to political parties, as individual efforts have clearly not worked?

    • 0

      I watched it on Now9 (yes us seniors are quite tech savy now) and it was biases towards the high incomes earners and reported on same that will work to they drop no matter their bank balance.

      What did annoy me was the woman spokesperson from the company that designed the new super rules. She was right no matter what.

      Super has enough fees and expenses already and the complexity of the budget measures will only add to these. We need a simplier super system not a more complex one.

      I do agree however the current super system is too generous where some people get hundreds of thousands tax free annually frommtheir super fund. I was talking to a fellow whonwas complaining that he had to take a minimum of $250,000 per year out so his fund didn’t pay tax. He was so wealthy that he didn’t know what to do with the money.

      Yes I know this is way off topic. I wonder how many people were actually spooked by these super changes enough to change their vote.

    • 0

      I wasn’t spooked but I certainly was annoyed enough to change my vote. I don’t like being betrayed and that was what the 2015 changes were as far as I can see. A betrayal of hard working and saving Australians.

      You don’t have to spend every last dollar you get every fortnight.

      Some of us have worked that out and delay gratification and save, We are now being penalised by having long term promises of some government assistance in old age stolen.

      Personally I’m tired of childminding rebates, tax concessions, first home buyers grants , fit young immigrants on TV every time a police raid goes down instead of being at work doing what they were allowed here to do i.e. work and pay taxes not live on welfare spitting out kids.

      And yes Bonny the gap between the very rich and the very poor is back to levels last seen in 1929.
      The politicians are mostly wealthy bankers, lawyers etc who have no idea of ordinary life on low incomes.
      World Banks are insolvent and it will end in tears I expect.

      We need better leaders to represent us but I doubt we will get them any time soon.

  8. 0

    To say that there are more pressing issues to be dealt with is no argument at all. There are always other issues. Electronic voting would provide cheaper, faster processing. To suggest that old folk could not handle computer input is an insult.

  9. 0

    This article demonstrates appalling wedge politics. It is an attempt by wealthy middle aged to older businesspeople, for whom Daley and this journalist are spokespeople, to con younger people into believing that retirees are very wealthy and have them demand that retirees be taxed heavily, that their homes by taxed heavily and be mortgaged to pay for any pension people may get.
    Daley has received tens of thousands of dollars from an Government Funded Institute to repeatedly produce these Fascist attacks on older Australians. This journalist happily publishes his nonsense. It saves her thinking up something to write. The question is why does the SMH publish it. Is there cash for comment?

    Youth to foot bill for baby boomer budget incompetency
    Date June 30, 2016 Jessica Irvine Sydney Morning Herald
    If you think this election campaign has been boring, you haven’t been paying attention.
    Australia’s major political parties have revealed themselves as complicit in an unprecedented act of generational theft.
    There is now a bipartisan agreement by the major parties to accept budget deficits as far as the eye can see. Back when the Labor Party first took the budget into deficit, they were at least attempting to hit a surplus. The Liberal Party, too, used to pledge to fix the budget, even though they haven’t. The budget today is in as bad shape as when it took over from Labor.
    Picture tween taking money from wallet. “So what?” you may ask. Borrowing rates are historically low.
    But eventually the books should balance, and when they do, they will do so on the shoulders of future generations who will pay higher taxes than otherwise.
    We hear a lot of whinging from young people about a “war on youth” and their contempt for the easy ride the baby boomer generation seem to have enjoyed through life with free education, affordable housing, generous family benefits and super tax breaks. Meanwhile, university fees climb, house prices soar and the Newstart allowance goes nowhere.
    Of course, it is a feature of youth to feel hard done by by your parents.
    So are young people today really getting ripped off? Is it getting worse? And is it any worse than what happened to our parents when they were young?
    “The answer is yes, yes and yes,” says John Daley, the head of the Grattan Institute.
    “It’s been a long time since policy has favoured the young, rather than the old. By contrast, we can point to dozens of decisions which have favoured older voters: a series of changes to the age pension over and above average weekly earnings; superannuation in general, which has just been the most massive gift to older generations imaginable, primarily the wealthy ones; the capital gains tax discount, which only works for people who own assets, so it’s been terrific for them.”
    Daley adds the little commented upon fact that Australians aged over 65 also enjoy a higher tax-free threshold than younger Australians, thanks to the Senior Australians Tax Offset, for no apparent policy reason – just simple age discrimination. “Old people just don’t have to pay as much tax as young people,” says Daley. “All these things are manifestly unsustainable.”
    He has done the numbers, and found households aged under 65 contribute an average of about $4000 to $5000 each year to government coffers – ie, what they chip in as tax, minus the benefits they take out.
    Households aged over 65, by contrast, are a net drain on the system to the tune of about $22,000 at the start of the mining boom, rising to a whopping $32,000 six years later in 2010.
    That’s an enormous and growing drain on the budget if those households continue to draw down at that rate every year until they die.
    But isn’t it true that young people will inevitably grow old themselves, and take their rightful place on the taxpayer gravy train?
    “If young people think that, then they should adjust their expectations,” warns Daley.
    It is becoming clear that the budget largesse shown towards older Australians over the past decade represents a one-off boost to the hip pockets of one generation of Australians that can neither be sustained, nor repeated again.
    Essentially, the Howard government took the proceeds of the biggest mining boom in our history and funnelled it almost exclusively into the pockets of older Australians. A boom predicated entirely on extracting value from the resources owned by all Australians, past and future, was spent entirely on the present generation of adults.
    Whichever party wins government this weekend will face deficits totalling $85 billion across the budget’s four-year horizon. Gross government debt will top $600 billion in 2020.
    Of course, going into debt is fine, as long as you use the money to invest in assets which grow in value over time. Human minds are a good example, because good investments in education increase our ability to be productive. Investing in the health of a population also expands its productive capacity. As do investments in urban infrastructure like roads, trains and public spaces, which make our cities more efficient and liveable.
    Right, so, is that what we’re doing with our debt?
    A bit. But mostly no. The budget is in deficit because we’re committed to spending billions of dollars each year on the age pension, family benefits for the well to do, tax concessions on super and housing, and assistance to industries which will be dead by the time young people come to get a job.
    Our budget is in the red to fund the spending of today, not to invest in the future.
    “Budget deficits are in effect a tax on younger households”, reminds Daley, who estimates every $40 billion deficit – about the norm for the past seven years – forces households aged 25 to 34 to pay an extra $10,000 in tax over their working lives.
    It is increasingly evident that the budget largesse heaped upon older Australians over the past decade has stretched the intergenerational compact to breaking point.
    No young person can realistically expect to enjoy the same spoils being enjoyed today by the baby boomer generation.
    Some will, of course, inherit their wealth. Many others will not be so lucky, deepening inequality in our society.
    And every young person will end up paying higher taxes because of the political parties’ decision at this election to abandon the task of budget repair.
    Young people should be angry. Much more needs to be done to rein in tax breaks for super and housing and restore budget balance. Daley wants legislation that binds governments to producing a surplus in the four-year horizon of the budget.
    It could be a small, but important, step towards restoring some much needed fairness to the present intergenerationally corrupt system of budgeting.
    Young people are angry. It’s time to get even.

    Read more:

    • 0

      As someone said – the most ferocious wedge and disunity politics in play on all sides – that’s one clear reason we should never vote for the current lot.

      They’ve been splitting us against one another ever since the salad days of heady, wine-fueled dark back room feminism, when men were deemed beasts who kept women down etc, and thus the cry for women’s equality and jobs and such became diverted by self-interested government into an avenue to attack men and split our society in twain. Kinda reminds you of Sherman’s march through Georgia, dun’it?

      Since then it’s been a perpetual round of playing one off against another, and a high level of violence has been introduced into the equations, particularly in the way that ‘relationship’ or ‘family’ (to quote Rose Battey) violence is approached.

      Now it’s young against old, and young men particularly against older men (a good cure for longevity for some young men, let me tell you – you don’t get this old without learning a few things, and 67 is nothing to me when I want to move fast)…

      Seriously – we need to find a safe place for our politicians of the past forty years – say a space station where they receive their rations once a year – but whichever way we go – we have little to no choice but to rid ourselves of them and start again – and while we’re at it – we should be doing the same with ‘judges’ and ‘magistrates’ and their like. It took us years to get a police force approaching integrity and honesty in the main – now for those who promoted that entrenched corruption through turning a blind eye to falsehoods and perjury and absurd ‘evidence’.

    • 0

      If you are a young couple paying taxes and full whack for everything and working most of the day to provide for your family with nothing left at the end of the week then I can see why they want pensions reigned in.

    • 0

      None so blind as they who refuse to see, OG – this mythical young couple without their fast cars, MacMansions, fancy TVs and offshore trips annually are welcome to our world any time.

      EVERYBODY pays taxes – stop confusing income tax with taxation…. let the young ones pay as we paid all our lives – THEN they may have earned the right to complain.

      And as for ‘journalists’ these days – don’t make me laugh….

    • 0

      Nothing mythical about that young couple I know lots of them like that. No fancy cars, mcmansions, overseas trips for them. Whereas for pensioners that is a different story. 70% of people on cruise ships are pensioners who make a nuisance of themselves with their walkers and gophers.

    • 0

      Umm – pensioners earned their way over 50-60 years of going at it? The young have to earn their way as well…. and blaming the older generations for the current malaise of the West, which is exclusively government and business wrought, is a total fallacy.

      Not hard, is it? You begrudge old Granny a once-in-a-lifetime cruise?

      Damn your eyes, Sir!

    • 0

      Unfortunately the cookie jar is now empty so if pensioners earned it over 50-60 years then where is it? I agree with OG the pension is welfare paid for out of revenue. I can also understand why are young people are so annoyed with the pensioners getting hand outs and they are paying for it whilst they struggle to make ends meet.

      Talking about old grannies i caught a bus awhile back and as I was walking down the isle one fell out of her seat in front of me. So I grabbed her and put her back in her seat. She just laughed and her daughter said that why buses should have seatbelts to keep old grannies from falling out of their seats.

    • 0

      I know where it is Bonny.

      The Cayman Islands, Harbour mansions around the world, The bond market in particular etc.

      Corporations are borrowing it and losing it on a daily basis.

      The question is how we get it back.

      Yields from 2% and falling are not going to do much for growth.
      Wages aren’t rising and there is no unions now to force rises out of the wealthy.

      So more $300 bottles of wine with dinner and porsche purchases will occur I’m afraid. Until it all tips over.

  10. 0

    It’s a good idea, but the security issues would need sorting out and there is a cost to getting that right. Money should be spent on existing systems eg Medicare which is very old first. Yes there are other priorities. No they haven’t listened. George Brandis on QandA last night said they would put forward the proposed changes to super in the current format! Pure arrogance.

    • 0

      Yes I heard the LNP denying superannuation changes had anything to do with the change in voting patterns.

      And that arrogance will do them in.

      If they do get it wrong then the next election may see them in the wilderness for a very long time indeed.

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