Australia's Proposed ID Card: Still Quacking Like a Duck

UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2007-1

Computer Law & Security Report, Vol. 23, 2007

15 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2007


Almost twenty years ago, Australia rejected the attempts of the Hawke Labor Government to introduce a national ID card system, the 'Australia Card'. Australia in 2006 is debating the proposed introduction of what the conservative Howard government calls a 'health and social services Access Card'. It is therefore informative to compare the current proposal with that of 20 years ago. No matter what the government prefers to call it, if it has a sufficient 'family resemblance' to the one 'ID card' and ID system that we knew - and most people loathed - then it is one. The purpose of this paper is principally to explore that issue: if the 'Australia Card' was a national ID card scheme, then is the 2006 'Access Card' proposal also one according to the same criteria? Such a comparison is also a useful way to explain what is proposed in the 'Access Card' proposals, by providing a comparison with what was technically feasible 20 years ago, compared with the significant changes in the new smart-card based proposal.

Keywords: national ID card, privacy, personal information, Australia Card

Suggested Citation

Greenleaf, Graham, Australia's Proposed ID Card: Still Quacking Like a Duck. UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2007-1, Computer Law & Security Report, Vol. 23, 2007, Available at SSRN: or

Graham Greenleaf (Contact Author)

Independent Scholar ( email )



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