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Crimes Amendment (Working With Children—Criminal History) Bill 2010

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2008-2009

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE

 

 

 

 

 

 

CRIMES AMENDMENT (WORKING WITH CHILDREN - CRIMINAL HISTORY) BILL 2009

 

 

 

 

SUPPLEMENTARY EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

Amendments to be Moved on Behalf of the Government

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Home Affairs,

the Honourable Brendan O’Connor MP)



CRIMES AMENDMENT (WORKING WITH CHILDREN - CRIMINAL HISTORY) BILL 2009

 

GENERAL OUTLINE

The Bill contains amendments to Part VIIC of the Crimes Act 1914 (Crimes Act).  Part VIIC governs the disclosure and non-disclosure of pardons, quashed and spent convictions. Part VIIC provides that a person whose conviction is ‘spent’, pardoned or quashed does not have to disclose the fact of the conviction, and prohibits others from disclosing the conviction without the person’s consent and from taking it into account.  The amendments would create an exception for convictions of persons who work, or seek to work, with children so that those convictions can be disclosed to and taken into account by Commonwealth, State and Territory screening agencies in determining whether the person is suitable to work with children.

In particular, the amendments:

·        Repeal the existing exclusions in Division 6 which relates to the disclosure of spent convictions information in relation to the care, instruction or supervision of minors.

·        Replace the existing exclusions with new exclusions which allow the disclosure of information:

§   about a person’s spent, quashed and pardoned convictions,

§   to or by a prescribed person or body permitted or required by or under a prescribed law to obtain and deal with information about persons who work, or seek to work, with children, and

§   for the purpose of obtaining or dealing with such information in accordance with the prescribed law.

·        Define ‘child’ and ‘work’ for the purposes of the new exclusions.

·        Specify criteria that screening units must meet before they can be prescribed to enable them to obtain and deal with Commonwealth criminal history information.  These criteria reflect the requirements of the COAG agreement and include compliance with applicable privacy, human rights and records management legislation, natural justice principles and implementation of risk assessment frameworks.

·        Require the Minister for Home Affairs to cause a review of the operation of the new provisions to be conducted after an initial trial period.

The Bill was introduced in the House of Representatives on 20 August 2009 and was referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs (the Senate Committee), which reported on 20 November 2009.  The Senate Committee made one substantive recommendation.  The proposed Government amendment will give effect to the Committee’s recommendation, which is that a further review of the legislation should be conducted after three years of operation.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

The amendments to the Bill will have no financial impact.





NOTES ON CLAUSES

Amendments to Schedule 1

Amendment (1)

This amendment will amend proposed section 85ZZGG, which will be inserted by Schedule 1 of the Crimes Amendment (Working With Children - Criminal History) Bill 2009.  The amendment will require that, in addition to causing a review of Subdivision A of the Bill to start not later than 30 June 2011, the Minister must also cause a further review of Subdivision A to start not later than 30 June 2013.

This amendment will implement recommendation one of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee’s report on the Bill.   The further review will allow for a more comprehensive assessment of the Bill’s operation, particularly given the sensitive nature of the information that will be available under the information exchange.  The reviews will enable the effectiveness of the regime to be assessed, and ensure that information is being dealt with appropriately.