Here’s an interesting one to slip out on a Sunday
the week before Parliament resumes: “Plans for a national identity card have
been hit by fears of cost blowouts, privacy dangers and technical problems,”
News Limited Sundaysreported yesterday. “Attorney-General Philip Ruddock will announce a
review of the proposal to consider the issues after a departmental inquiry is

The reports quote estimates that put the cost of implementing the proposal at
$15 billion, or about $750 a person.

Has Ruddock been reading the London School of
Economics report on the British ID card proposals that warns the scheme will cost between 10bn and 19bn pounds over ten years?

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There, in true New Labour enlightened despot style,
the idea is to run the card on a user pays basis – giving a whole new twist to
citizenship involving duties as well as rights.

Ruddock’s small-l liberal credentials have taken a
battering over the last half decade or so, but no doubt he recognises the idea
of forcing people to carry a piece of plastic – and billing them – is complete

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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