Each year, the Commission receives dozens of enquiries from the public asking about irrelevant criminal record discrimination, and legislative change would provide much needed clarity and protection for Victorians.
Victoria is the only state or territory in Australia that does not have a spent convictions scheme, which allows for minor convictions to be wiped from someone’s record after a period of time with no offending.
Importantly, the legislative committee’s report also supports reform of the Equal Opportunity Act to ensure people who are discriminated against because of an irrelevant criminal record have legal recourse. This was one of the reforms we recommended in our submission to the committee, and would provide a critical complement to a spent convictions scheme.
The report noted, "The Committee supports amending the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 to provide protection from discrimination for a non-disclosable criminal record. In the Committee’s view, this is necessary not only for the success of a controlled disclosure framework but also to address discrimination within Victoria’s criminal justice system".
The report continues: "The Committee also considers including an irrelevant criminal record as a protected attribute in Victoria’s anti-discrimination legislation would still allow for consideration of a relevant criminal record".
We look forward to seeing continued development on this issue and will monitor the Bill’s next steps closely.
If you have been experienced discrimination or harassment, you can make a complaint to the Commission on 1300 292 153 or via our online complaint form. The Commission offers a free, fair and timely dispute-resolution service that can help to resolve complaints of discrimination and harassment.
Mobile: 0447 526 642