As at midnight tonight, we are now okay to lie according to the Government.
Labour and the Greens have passed an Orwellian law that doesn’t wipe criminal records but legalises lying by stating “An eligible individual may answer a question asked of him or her about his or her criminal record by stating that he or she has no criminal record”.
Even better there is a $10,000 fine if you ask someone if they have a criminal record that is covered by the clean slate scheme. This even includes for example political parties, so no longer can a political party ask a potential candidate to disclose all their criminal offending.
I have some sympathy for the problems an old and minor conviction can cause people, but I think the vast majority of people and employers will look on old convictions in their context and judge accordingly. This law removes the right of people to be told the truth and encourages lying.
Luckily we have the Internet which remains immune to Government mandated lying, and I suspect that in time one will still be able to find out about old convictions merely by Googling someone’s name. As far as I can tell there is nothing at all in the law to prevent someone to enter into a web database the details as reported in the media of every conviction, as they occur.
UPDATE: Excellent press release from Stephen Franks on the issue.No tag for this post.