I haven’t followed debate about ID cards very closely, so readers may be able to point to discussion of an issue that I regard as central. There’s a big difference between a card that must be produced on demand by police and other authorities, on pain of arrest, and one that is simply required on particular occasions (for example, boarding an airplane).
The first kind of card would be a big intrusion on our day-to-day liberties, but it might well be useful in fighting terrorism, dealing with illegal immigration and so forth. It would be the kind of thing that they used to have in dictatorships, where the loss of your “papers” was potentially catastrophic, though presumably in the Australian context, it would merely entail a night in the cells until you managed to verify your identity.
The second kind of card would not, as far as I can see, make any practical difference to anyone. The occasions on which it would be used are those that already require photo ID like a drivers license or passport. Of course, you’re not compelled to have these documents, but the same would seem to be true with the card. As long as you don’t want to catch any planes, or undertake similar activities, you can throw the card away and forget about it.
So, does anyone know which of these is proposed, or why my uninformed reasoning on the subject might be invalid.