Thursday, 9 April 2015

Should Police Checks be Mandatory for Politicians?

Given the recent news regarding Mr. Billy Gordon, the member for Cook (Queensland), one must consider whether all politicians should be required to have a police check conducted on their background and furthermore, whether the results of these checks should be made public.

Let's consider this in two parts

- Should a police check be required of all elected persons?
- Should the results of these checks be made public?

Firstly, no person should be forced to undertake a mandatory police check. As we live in a free society, the choice is up to an individual as to whether they do or not. Having said that though, there could be consequences of opting out of a check

In many places of employment, police checks are mandatory. Within the health and aged care industries for example, police checks are one way that providers can mitigate risks to those persons in their care. While a police check is only a indication of past behaviours, they do not guarantee that the person in question is not or will not commit a punishable offence. Police checks in this case are just one step in a process to reduce harm or the likelihood of harm to persons in the care of others. It is an employer's responsibility and duty of care to ensure that steps are taken as precautions.

Perhaps in the case of employment or volunteering, the individual may not be assessed as suitable to work. Is this fair? Certainly it is. Again, employers or organisations seeking to engage persons to assist in the delivery of services have a duty of care to ensure that only those persons engaged are of a character deemed suitable
Is this discrimination? Perhaps it is in a sense, however all persons are entitled to have a police check. if a person opts out, then they themselves have made a decision which ultimately impacts an ability to assess a person in terms of suitability

So should politician be required to undertake a police check prior to serving as an elected official? Using the argument above, they should of their own will have one conducted, however if they opt out, the electorate should judge accordingly. This is simply a matter of leadership.

So should the results of a politician's police check be made public? Only if the person consents to their record being made public. Again, every individual has a right to maintain privacy of their personal information - even politicians. Making the decision to release or not to release a police check is therefore the politician's personal choice.

Each politician, however, should be judged by the voting public in terms of whether they choose to release their police check results or not. Obviously, a clean record makes a statement. An unreleased record, also makes a statement
Veritas Check provides applicants with an ability to apply for a police check in as little as 10 minutes. For as little as $23.00 for the completion of a check for volunteers, why wouldn't you obtain a police check?