Family First opposes the digital ID legislation which was rushed through the Parliament with almost no debate yesterday.

Government powers abused so egregiously during Covid, along with the refusal to hold a Royal Commission, mean many Australians’ trust in government is understandably at rock bottom.

Galloping digital and artificial intelligence technology, including for facial recognition, have people rightly concerned about how a government-held digital identity might be used against them.

Even without a government digital ID, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau electronically froze the bank accounts of truck drivers who were protesting his Covid restrictions.

LNP Senator Matt Canavan told Sky news in April that there are wide exemptions in the bill which “would make it mandatory to provide (your government issued digital ID) to open a bank account”.

Apart from Senators Canavan, Antic and Rennick, the Coalition offered only token resistance and failed to mount any serious opposition.

Canavan also pointed out the legislation was being rushed before mooted changes to the Privacy Act which are designed to protect facial images – “to protect your face in the privacy act”.

The Chinese Communist Party, the totalitarian authority that rules China and wants to invade Taiwan, uses digital facial recognition technology to surveil its people and police its social credit system of rewards and punishments for loyalty or otherwise to the state.

Imagine a digital ID in the hands of a state premier like Victoria’s former premier Daniel Andrews.

Legislation for a Digital ID was first developed by the Coalition’s Paul Fletcher before the government changed and it was taken up by Labor.

This might explain why the Coalition did not put up a fight.

The legislation was introduced into the Senate earlier this year and rushed through with no debate and, bizarrely, not even a second reading speech.

While bills can be introduced first into the Senate, it is not the usual practice.

The use yesterday of the Federation Chamber, an effectively a small overflow room from the House of Representatives, was also curious.

Again, this does not augur well for trust.

Digital ID is billed as a convenient way to prove your identity, once personal data is handed over to the government.

The government says it will be voluntary but we heard that during Covid when Scott Morrison said that about vaccination, only to find that people couldn’t go to the pub and in many cases work unless they had been vaccinated.

It’s a small step from “voluntary” to effective coercion at the threat of being denied service without a digital ID.

Family First is not against the use of digital technology – there are obvious conveniences and efficiencies to it.

However, a proper debate must be held about privacy, security of data and how and if personal freedoms can be preserved.

The rushed nature of the legislation and the lack of public discussion, apart from outliers like Senator Canavan, Senator Alex Antic and One Nation, only serves to heighten suspicions.