The Volunteer Blue Card Application Form.
The Volunteer Blue Card Application Form. Derrick Den Hollander

Dairy farmer who assaulted a boy approved for a blue card

A REGIONAL Queensland dairy farmer, who assaulted a 13-year-old boy for not washing mud and faeces from a cow's teat before milking, has been granted a blue card.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal found the man grew up in a farming culture "where a scruff and clip were acceptable when a youth demonstrated disrespect to an elder" and was going through a stressful time.

But the QCAT members found the man, who has not been identified in the judgment to protect the child's identity, was remorseful, had sought counselling to ensure he did not behave the same way again and he now had children of his own.

The boy was the son of sharefarmers who worked and lived with his parents on the man's dairy farm.

"This child had milked the cows for three years and was aware of how to milk correctly and the importance of a clean teat to avoid contamination of the milk," the judgment said.

"(The man) claimed the child was just being rebellious in refusing to clean the teat.

"(The man) explained to the tribunal that should bacteria go into milk, this would result in major economic loss for him, including the non-payment of supply of the milk, loss of his contact with the company he was supplying, a fine for contaminating other farmers' milk and a bill for the silo that was infected."

QCAT said a police brief before the court detailed how he picked the boy up by the throat and punched him in the jaw but the man argued he had merely held him by the neck and pushed him, having pleaded guilty to ensure the boy did not have to testify.

The judgement said the man knew his behaviour was not reasonable in "today's society" and he felt "sick in the stomach" for what he had done.

The man, a third generation dairy farmer who left school at age 15, said he had financial pressures with the farm but was now in a much better place.

The man said he knew the back-chatting child, who had been expelled from school, was having problems at home, noting his father had run off with a 16-year-old trainee to Warwick.

The Commissioner for Children, Young People and Child Guardian had refused to grant the blue card and argued in the tribunal proceedings that the man was in a position of trust, power and authority.

The commissioner was concerned about the age difference and "the physically unprovoked and disproportionate nature of the attack".

"The tribunal concludes that the balance of the evidence suggests the protective factors outweigh the risk factors, despite the nature of the offence being directly related to a child in a workplace," the judgment read.

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