Queensland Law Society

QLS calls for law’s suspension

Date 08 Oct 2014
Contact Natalie Graeff, Communication Manager
Phone 07 3842 5868
Mobile 0488 433 884
Email n.graeff@qls.com.au

Queensland Law Society appeared at a public hearing today to voice concerns about laws that propose to suspend and exclude students from school based on suspicion of wrongdoing, not evidence.

President Ian Brown said it was inappropriate to empower principals to make decisions simply on behaviour that occurs beyond the school gates which may be entirely unrelated to conduct affecting the school.

“We are concerned that these powers can be used when a student is charged with an offence, rather than on the basis of a conviction,” Mr Brown said.

“This is inconsistent with the presumption of innocence.

“In addition to the issue of predetermining a student’s guilt, if the student is placed on suspension pending the outcome of a charge, the new laws propose to prevent the student from enrolling at another school.

“This works against the efforts of the courts and the Department of Justice and Attorney-General to use conditional bail programs to reconnect young people with education and to monitor school attendance.

“We also query the use of broad language such as only a ‘reasonable suspicion’ is required for a school’s chief executive to ask the police commissioner for ‘information’ and a ‘brief description’ of the circumstances of the charge or conviction.

“During the charge stage the Queensland Police Service is unlikely to have all the facts so decisions regarding suspension could be made on inaccurate and incomplete information.”