LNP moves to urgently close blue card loopholes

Convicted child killers and attempted rapists will be automatically blocked from applying to work with kids under tough LNP laws strengthening the safety of children in Queensland.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said Labor’s proposed new laws, which are expected to be introduced to Parliament this week, allowed people convicted of atrocious crimes to be considered for a blue card.

“Convicted child killers and sexual predators shouldn’t come close to working with kids for one second,” Ms Frecklington said.

“I am calling on Annastacia Palaszczuk to support the sensible amendments the LNP will introduce that will only make Queensland’s blue card system stronger.

“The community expects the blue card system to protect children but there are still glaring loopholes in Labor’s laws.

“Culprits of atrocious crimes will be disqualified from applying for a blue card under our laws.

“We would also ensure the international criminal histories of applicants are examined before they get their hands on one.

“Protecting kids must be above politics and I would welcome Labor’s support to broaden the range of disqualifying offences to keep violent criminals and sexual predators away from our children.”

LNP Shadow Attorney-General David Janetzki said Labor’s own report, Keeping Queensland’s children more than safe:Review of the blue card system, recommended new laws to broaden the range of disqualifying offences.

“While Labor has moved to include “murder of an adult” and “rape of an adult” as disqualifying offences for a blue card,their laws just don’t go far enough to meet community expectations,” Mr Janetzki said.

“Labor’s disqualifying framework doesn’t include serious violent offences including manslaughter of a child, child cruelty and torture.

“It’s clearly not good enough that Labor has failed to close this loophole, which was recommended in their own review.

“Introducing these disqualifying offences would bring Queensland into line with other Australian jurisdictions,including New South Wales.

“The LNP’s laws guarantee anyone convicted of a disqualifying offence will never hold a blue card in their life – a move supported by the Queensland Family Child Commission.”

LNP amendments

The LNP will move four key amendments to Labor’s bill to strengthen the blue card system by expanding the range of disqualifying offences.

1. The offences that are currently not disqualifying offences that the LNP will make disqualifying offences include:

  • manslaughter (if the offence was committed against a child and was not a result of a motor vehicle accident) – section 300 Criminal Code
  • choking, suffocation or strangulation in a domestic setting – 315A Criminal Code
  • torture – section 320A Criminal Code
  • cruelty to children under 16 – section 364 Criminal Code
  • incest of an adult – section 222 Criminal Code
  • attempt to commit rape of an adult – section 350 Criminal Code
  • assault with intent to commit rape of an adult – section 351 Criminal Code
  • sexual assault of an adult – section 352 Criminal Code

2. prevent all disqualified persons from being eligible to apply for and hold a blue card;

The LNP’s amendments will remove the eligibility declaration to ensure that a disqualified person will never have the opportunity to work with children.

3. establish a new framework that applies to blue card applicants and holders charged or convicted of a serious offence;

The LNP will ensure that a person who holds a blue card will have their blue card suspended if charged with a serious offence. A person’s application will also not be considered while a charge for a serious offence is pending against the person or if the person has been convicted of a serious offence.

4. broaden the scope of criminal history disclosure and criminal history checks.

The LNP will ensure blue card services consider applicants’ international criminal histories prior to obtaining a blue card.