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A petition that has been launched by Federal Senator Alex Antic is calling on the government to scrap its proposed Digital Identity legislation. Image: contributed

Scrap “digital identity” power grab – petition

Rodney Stevens

A petition that has been launched by a federal senator calling on the Albanese Government to scrap their proposed voluntary Digital Identity bill, after claims it is a “power grab” by the government to take over your most sensitive personal data, comes as a large Australian bank stops over the counter cash and cheque services in branches.

On March 27, the government’s Digital ID bill was passed by the senate with the support of several independent senators, the Jacqui Lambie Party, and the Greens, it will be debated by the House of Representatives in parliament’s next sitting period beginning on May 14, and if passed, it will become part of Australian legislation.

When the bill was passed by the senate, coalition senators including Matt Canavan, Gerard Rennick and Alex Antic expressed concerns about privacy and fears the voluntary scheme could be made compulsory.

Senator Antic seized on these concerns and launched a petition calling on Australians to send a strong message to the government that they won’t take this fundamental threat to their freedom and democracy lying down.

The petition to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says “we don’t want to be forced to use a “digital identity” to access online services.

“We do not trust your government and future governments with our most sensitive personal information,” he said.

“We are deeply concerned that governments will abuse this system and use it to create a Chinese-style social credit system to crack down on citizens who don’t tow the government-approved line.

“So please, scrap the “digital identity” legislation and stop the rollout of forced digital identity policies across government services.”

Senator Antic said he is concerned the government will store our “digital identities” in a central government-run database providing a perfect opportunity for hackers.

He said there are concerns everyone will be forced into using the “digital identity” to transact online or access online services, which he claims is the first step in a Chinese-style social credit system.

“Stop driving this country towards a Communist China-style system where citizens can be cut off from critical online services via the deactivation of their “digital identity”,” Mr Antic said on the petition.

“If you don’t toe the line, your ‘digital identity’ could be cancelled, meaning you’d be cut off from the world of online services that people now rely on.

“This is a fundamental threat to your freedom and our democracy.”

On Friday, May 3, the petition had already attracted more than 124,910 signatures, more than doubling its goal of 50,000.

To sing the petition visit

Meanwhile, on May 2, Macquarie Bank announced its customers will be stopped from withdrawing and depositing cash and cheques at branches from May 20 this month as it shifts towards completely digital payments.

In January 2024, Macquarie Bank ditched chequebooks for new cash management accounts, then in March the bank stopped its automated telephone banking service preventing customers making payments over the phone, and from November 1, Macquarie Bank customers won’t be able to write or deposit personal cheques, request or deposit bank cheques or make super contributions or payments via cheques.

Macquarie Bank has also announced it will end its partnership with NAB, meaning customers won’t be able to deposit cash or cheques at NAB branches, but they can still withdraw cash at ATM’s.

“As a digital bank, we’re committed to transitioning to completely digital payments, and continuing to ensure our customers can access secure and reliable digital payment options,” a Macquarie spokesperson said.