Date: 9 February 2021
Court/Tribunal: Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal
Judicial Officer/Tribunal Member: Member Traves
Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) Sections: ss 8, 58
Rights Considered: N/A
Other Legislation: Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 (Qld) ss 5, 6, 15, 221, 226, 360, 580, Schedule 2, Schedule 7; Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld) ss 19, 20, 24, 66 
Keywords: Blue card; Children and Families: Domestic Violence

This case concerned an application to review the respondent’s decision to issue a negative notice to the applicant, ED. The Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) was mentioned only in reference to the Tribunal being a public entity and therefore obligated to make decisions compatible with human rights under section 58.

ED (‘the applicant’) applied to review a decision made by the Department of Justice and Attorney General (‘the respondent’) to issue a negative blue card notice on the basis that the applicant’s circumstances amounted to an ‘exceptional case’ where the issuing of a positive notice would not be in the best interests of children: at [4]. ED had sought a blue card to continue child-related work he had previously undertaken inter-state under the equivalent of a blue card. The negative notice was issued because of ED’s prior offending behaviour, which included ten convictions relating to harassment and contraventions of domestic violence orders: at [2].

The Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) was considered in reference to the Tribunal’s position as a ‘public entity’ when acting in an administrative capacity, and the corresponding obligations on the Tribunal to make a decision in a manner compatible with human rights, give proper consideration to human rights and consider whether the decision would be compatible with human rights: at [22]-[24]. 

The applicant argued that the decision affected his right to work, which was protected by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, although not expressed in the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld): at [26]. The Tribunal considered that the applicant’s right to work was a relevant factor to take into account, but concluded that the interests of children were paramount and took priority when the best interests of children were in conflict with the applicant’s human rights: at [28]. 

While making it clear that the Tribunal did not condone the applicant’s behaviour following the end of his marriage, the respondent’s decision to issue a negative notice was set aside on the grounds that the applicant’s circumstances did not meet the threshold of an exceptional case so as to prevent the issue of a positive notice: at [50].

Visit the judgement: ED v Director-General, Department of Justice and Attorney-General [2021] QCAT 56