Criminal Checks for Santa's
SANTA CLAUSES and theme park workers in Queensland
could soon face criminal background checks under
moves to close loopholes that allow paedophiles to
work with children.
Workers applying for such jobs would be checked
out under the state's Blue Card system, which
requires people working with children to undergo
a criminal history review.
Child protection group Bravehearts has urged the
government to plug loopholes in the system introduced
five years ago after it was discovered that a
convicted sex offender was working at an
"To our horror, we discovered that people
who work for Dreamworld, Movieworld, Seaworld,
all of those places which are designed purpose-built
to attract children, didn't have to have Blue Cards," said Hetty Johnston,
Bravehearts' executive director.
"And that includes the Santas."
Ms Johnston said she had raised her concerns with Police
Minister Judy Spence, who asked Premier Peter Beattie to
look into the issue.
"Child sex offenders gravitate towards jobs that involve
children," Ms Johnston said.
"There's no other job that involves children more graphic
than the Santa, or the employer at a place that attracts
children, like an amusement park."
Meanwhile, Brisbane's bikies showed their softer side
today when they rode in convoy through the city to
raise awareness of child sexual assault.
About 100 bikies, from groups including the Vietnam
Vets and Hells Angels, rode their motorbikes on
White Balloon Day, which capped off White Balloon
"White Balloon Awareness Week is all about raising
awareness of child sexual assault and it recognises
that people from all walks of life with all different
interests and all different backgrounds share the
common interest to protect children," Ms Johnston said.
She said the week prompted the reporting of child
abuse and sent a clear message to child sex
"To the perpetrators it says there's a culture of
zero tolerance coming about in the
community," she said.
"As the silence that has protected them
for generations dissolves, their exposure
to being caught increases and police forces
around the country are coming to get them."
Bruce and Denise Morcombe, the parents of
missing Sunshine Coast teenager Daniel Morcombe,
have become the patrons of White Balloon Day.