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Trust applauds further criminal history information sharing

The Sensible Sentencing Trust has applauded the announcement of further criminal history information sharing between New Zealand and Australia, however it is calling on the Government to make this public knowledge.

Today, Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, and Minister of Justice, the Hon Judith Collins MP, all announced that Australia and New Zealand employers are to have greater access to respective national criminal history checks for employment vetting purposes.

This is a great move in the right direction,” …… the SST says. “However, this kind of information should be in the public forum, the fact is; the general public also have a right to know a persons criminal history.

The announcement follows a successful trial of criminal history information sharing between New Zealand and Queensland. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will now be developed to expand the trial to all Australian states and to all eligible Australian and New Zealand organisations. The decision was made in Sydney as part of the Australia-New Zealand Joint Cabinet Meeting.

The information will only be made available to employers. In the current trial, participating employers were able to request criminal history checks on behalf of job candidates who had given consent. However, the general public is not be able to access this information.

Research does suggest that by publicising the criminal history of an offender can actually help the prevent re-offending,” …… from SST says. “It can also provide an invaluable tool for families who want to check on the criminal history of people they are close to.”

This is particularly important in the case of double child killer Jeremy McLaughlin who murdered his ex-partners 13-year-old daughter, Jade Bayliss, in November 2011. Unknowingly to Jades mother, Tina Bayliss, McLaughlin was previously convicted of the manslaughter of Phillip Vidot, 14, and grievous bodily harm of Tyron Williams after a violent attack in Perth, Western Australia, in 1995. After attempts to access information on her ex-partners criminal history, she was turned away. Four days later Jade was strangled and killed.

ENDS

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