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Criminal Records, Spent Convictions and Employment

This Fact Sheet explains state and federal laws that protect employees and prospective employees from discrimination on the basis of an irrelevant criminal record or on the basis of a spent conviction.

In Australia we have federal, state and territory police agencies. Each police agency keeps its own criminal history information about individuals. Criminal history information includes all of the interactions a person has had with the criminal justice system in that particular jurisdiction. This includes criminal convictions, penalties, appearances in court, charges, matters waiting to be heard in court and even matters under investigation.

Generally, when you ask for a police check or you give your consent for a third party (i.e. an employer or prospective employer) to access your police check, only certain criminal history information will be released by the relevant police agency. Each police agency applies its own document release policy and applicable legislation when determining what information can be disclosed.

All jurisdictions in Australia have ‘spent convictions’ schemes. This means that certain information on a person’s criminal record will not be released, and cannot be requested, if a prescribed amount of time has elapsed or if the information otherwise fits the definition of a spent conviction in that jurisdiction.

This Fact Sheet provides information on:

  • Definitions of spent convictions in Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania
  • Discrimination on the basis of your criminal record or spent conviction, and what you can do in these circumstances
  • Voluntary disclosures of a criminal record to employers
  • Losing your job on the basis of your criminal record or spent conviction, and what you can do in these circumstances

We encourage everyone to download the Fact Sheet for more information.

For further support

Call our Telephone Information Service on Melbourne Metro (03) 9662 1933 or Regional Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania on 1800 331 617.

Video: Victoria's new Spent Convictions Act 2021

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