On the surface, one may be inclined to believe the hysteria being peddled by One Nation around individuals circumventing standard practices when obtaining a driver's license across Australia. We decided test the veracity of such claims.
Upon closer inspection, major states and territories across Australia have clear guidelines pertaining to the prohibition of face covering during photo ID’s being taken for an Australian driver's license. Moreover these guidelines are enshrined in various road transports, identification and other forms of legislation resulting in fines or
possible jail time if not adhered to, this includes the falsification of information. Let's canvass but a few examples.
In Victoria ‘Religious headgear is acceptable provided it does not obscure your face. Veils and facial coverings are not permitted if they cover your face and make identifying you as the driver difficult’.
In New South Wales ‘Head coverings worn for religious reasons may be worn, but must be adjusted so that your whole face is visible, from the bottom of your chin to the top of your forehead, and both edges of your face. There should also be no shadows cast on your face’
In Queensland, One Nations stronghold and origination, the state that gives us the Great Barrier Reef and the mighty XXXX Maroons, clear safeguards and provisions are in place when trying to obtain a driver's license. The road authorities make it clear ‘If you wear headwear for religious reasons, it must be adjusted so that all facial features from the bottom of your chin to top of your forehead (including both edges of your face) are clearly shown.’
Moreover, in Western Australia ‘Head gear worn for religious purposes does not have to be removed for the photo capture provided it does not cover the face’ and in South Australia the Motor Vehicle Act 1959 outlines the penalties associated with falsifying information in obtaining a license or falsely representing themselves as another individual.
Finally Police across Australia have significant powers to investigate crimes. This includes powers of search and carrying out identity procedures on people they reasonably suspect to have committed an offence. While these vary slightly across jurisdictions, it is common that where police legally require someone to identify him or herself, this can include removing face-coverings. (Several years ago a NSW law clarified this to avoid doubt).
The insidious calls for new policy and legislation to safeguard the public when obtaining a drivers license seeks only to demonise various religious denominations and individuals. The so-called vacuum in legislation and policy is evidently false. Such claims only seek to undermine the social fabric of our nation.