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One day while I was driving down the highway in the sun

I sat behind a milk truck just returning from his run.

His sign said "Licensed Vendor" and it made me feel secure

That only numbered milkmen could come knocking on my door.


Then I saw a licensed builder with his number on the door

And a plumber with a permit which was issued by the law.

Then a hawker and publican each with his licence plate

And a licensed money lender with his number on the gate.


I pulled into a café, which was licensed to sell beer

And struck up conversation with a licensed auctioneer.

He'd just been selling forfeit goods to pay the fines imposed

On a maverick hardware dealer whose late trading he'd exposed.


A warm glow spread inside me as I drank a licensed beer

And I pictured the inspectors who called in every year

To check upon the numbered men and safeguard fools like me

Who'd waste their money buying things from men who paid no fee.


I thought of all the union men whose cards protect their job

And dairy men whose quota scheme defends them from the mob.

The teachers who are registered, the chemists with their guilds

And lawyers with their closed cartel which keeps their coffers filled.


As I sat among the numbered men it suddenly occurred

That I was just a cleanskin in a tamed and numbered herd.

Somehow I'd missed the muster when the planner combed the land

And now I was a maverick, a man without a brand.


The numbered men live sheltered lives, their keeper is the State,

Their job depends less on their skills than on their licence plate.

Their future is determined and their charges are prescribed,

And the standards of their conduct are in rules and acts described.


But thank the Lord for mavericks, who don't fit in the mould,

They help distract the licence-men from getting far too bold.

Without the help of mavericks, the planners would persist

Till we all need applications for a licence to exist.

 Viv Forbes Washpool, Queensland, Australia

(This poem was written by Viv Forbes about 50 years ago.

It is more relevant today.

Viv and his wife Judy have been political observers, participators and critics since the chaos of the Whitlam years.)

Further Reading:


As much as the Government attempts to downplay the importance of introducing a single central digital identifier for all Australians, the truth is that this legislation is the most significant I’ve encountered during my time in the Senate.

It’s the glue that holds together the digital control agenda by which every Australian will be controlled, corralled, exploited and then gagged when they speak or act in opposition.

The government knows Digital ID will be compulsory by the device of preventing access to government services, banking services, air travel and major purchases for any Australian who does not have a Digital ID.

The Digital ID will, in effect, create a live data file of your movements, purchases, accounts and associates containing reference to every piece of data being held in the private and government sector as a first step in a wider agenda. Tech giants have been building huge data files on every Australian for years.

Those huge data files that contain every website you visited, every post you made on their social media, everything you have ever bought online. Keywords scanned from conversations overheard by Siri and Alexa in your home are now unmasked.

Until now, that data was anonymised using a unique identifier rather than name and address, which has always been there as well. However, tech companies were not allowed to use it or share data with others that included the person’s name and address. Until Now.

Look for the tech giants to ask for your Digital ID as a requirement of using their service. The point of that exercise is to ensure they put the right name on the right data treasure trove.

This is why the Liberal Party have moved amendments to the Digital ID Bill to bring private corporations into this roll out earlier. All those treasure troves of data worth billions, trillions, that have been accumulated for years illegally, by retailers, tech and data companies – all that unrealised profit just sitting there has been too much of a temptation for the Liberal Nationals to resist and is now joined with Labor in pushing Digital ID.

There will be no escape from the digital ID.

Australians now have a digital version of “papers please” and Australians will never be the same.

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