Why is our state still slack on NZ crims?

THE State Government is still not running New Zealand criminal checks on Blue Card applicants despite it being recommended two years ago by a review in the wake of Tiahleigh Palmer's murder.

The Queensland Family and Child Commission's Blue Card review recommended that New Zealand criminal history checks be required for applicants who disclosed they had lived there for six months or more.

It also recommended applicants be required to disclose convictions and charges in other countries and that the Government work with the Commonwealth on opportunities for sharing international criminal histories.

Tiahleigh Palmer, who was murdered by her foster father in 2015.
Tiahleigh Palmer, who was murdered by her foster father in 2015.

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said implementing those recommendations was "in progress".

"Government is currently exploring appropriate models for accessing and assessing this information," she said.

Ms D'Ath said there were complexities, including around accessing, validating and interpreting information, dealing with privacy rules and processing applications by asylum seekers or refugees.

In May, she told parliament that if New Zealand checks were run for just 15 per cent of applicants under an full online application scheme, costs would go from $40.6 million to $60.3 million - an extra $20 million over 15 years.

That was based purely on the cost of a criminal history check, not the additional processing costs, and that would have to be bourne by someone, she said.

Queensland Attorney General Yvette D'Ath (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)
Queensland Attorney General Yvette D'Ath (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)

Opposition justice spokesman David Janetzski said all recommendations should be in place by now and the Opposition had moved amendments earlier this year to require overseas checks.

"These important changes were recommended over two years ago following the tragic death of Tiahleigh Palmer and Labor's response has been unacceptable," he said.

"Tiahleigh's death should have been a catalyst for prompt action, not more delays and excuses."
The 12-year-old was murdered in 2015 by her foster father, Rick Thorburn, who held a Blue Card despite an extensive criminal history.

Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston said these complex, important matters should be dealt with by the parliament in a united way.

"Cost shouldn't stand in the way because we've seen what happened to Tiahleigh Palmer and we must never let that happen again," she said.

"And if they can't do it for whatever reason, they need to explain."

Ms D'Ath said Blue Card Services could liaise now with Queensland police if they were provided legitimate information demonstrating a Blue Card holder had an international criminal history.


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