Wrongful, quashed and spent convictions

The Commonwealth Spent Convictions Scheme under Part VIIC of the Crimes Act 1914 allows a person to disregard some criminal convictions after ten years (or five years in the case of juvenile offenders) and provides protection against unauthorised use and disclosure of this information. It covers convictions for minor federal, state and foreign offences, with the protections available varying according to which type of offence (federal, state or foreign) gave rise to the conviction. The scheme also covers pardons and quashed convictions.

There are some exclusions from the scheme, but they are very limited. Complaints about a breach of the provisions may be investigated by the Privacy Commissioner. 

There is no spent conviction legislation in Tasmania, however under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 (Tas) a person must not discriminate against another person on the ground of an irrelevant criminal record (s16(q)).


The Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth) contains a number of provisions dealing with the privacy of personal information held by carriers, carriage service providers and others.

Part 6 provides for the development of industry codes and standards in a range of consumer protection and privacy areas. The Privacy Commissioner must be consulted on any privacy codes. The codes are voluntary in the first instance, but breaches can be enforceable by the Australian Communications Authority.

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