Victoria finally catches up to rest of country with introduction of spent convictions scheme

Australian Greens

The Victorian Greens have welcomed news that the Andrews Government will commit to introducing a spent convictions scheme.

The Greens introduced a private member’s spent convictions bill back in 2017, and introducing spent convictions legislation was a key part of their justice platform during the 2018 state election.

The party has spent years lobbying the Government for a scheme alongside peak legal bodies such as the Law Institute of Victoria, Victoria Legal Aid, Liberty Victoria and the Woor-Dungin Criminal Record Discrimination Project.

Victorian Greens spokesperson for justice, Dr Tim Read, said that spent convictions schemes helped remove unnecessary barriers to the reintegration of minor offenders in the community. Old convictions can be barriers to applying for employment, insurance and housing.

He added that to be fully effective he expects the Government to also update the Equal Opportunity Act as part of the scheme, to prevent discrimination on the basis of a person’s irrelevant criminal record.

As stated by Victorian Greens spokesperson for justice, Tim Read MP:

“Re-offending and recidivism rates have barely improved in the last ten years, so we welcome the Government’s decision as logical and long overdue.

“Today’s announcement is an important first step, but we are already well behind the rest of the nation on this, and so the Greens will now be pressuring the government to implement the scheme as soon as possible.”

/Public Release. View in full here.