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Bikie laws criminalise innocents in Qld

Bikie laws criminalise innocents in Qld

 Gypsy Joker Protest Run - Photo by  Roy Lister
Gypsy Joker Protest Run – Photo by Roy Lister

The Queensland bikie laws are turning innocent pub drinkers with tattoos into ‘criminals’, and making life impossible for pub owners. Muddle-headed, badly-drafted laws always have unforeseen consequences



Over-the-top bikie laws make ‘criminals’ of anyone with tattoo

By Bill Rowlings, CEO of Civil Liberties Australia

Before the new Queensland bikie laws were more than hours old, the problems they create for ordinary, non-bikie citizens became apparent.

Bad laws do that: they criminalise the innocent, and demean all the citizens of a state because they involve the abuse of state power to legislate. When the state over-legislates, we are all diminished.

The first problems to come to light? Discrimination, against ordinary citizens, and against hotel keepers.

With bikies no longer allowed to wear their club colours (jackets), how can police tell if three bikies are – illegally under the new law – associating by drinking together in a pub?

They can’t of course. So Queensland Police decided they were round up everyone in the bar who had a tattoo, and interview them to see if they were a bikie. Among anyone under about 30, tattoos are a dozen a dime, so that you will now – officially – be victimized by the Queensland Police if you have a tattoo.

Artwork one day, criminal identifier the next: that’s how tattoos are in Queensland.

And the same problem affects your pub owner or manager, who is not allowed to let bikies associate in his hostelry. But how does the person running the pub identify a bikie? Same problem the police have.

The Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie and Premier Cameron Newman are acting like very dumb bigots in enforcing stupid laws badly drafted.

Why would anyone in Australia with a tattoo go to Queensland for a holiday, where they might be singled out by police and accused of being bikies…until they can prove their innocence.

Passing bad laws, reversing the presumption of innocence, making criminals of hotel keepers who can’t tall how to abide by the law, and driving away interstate visitors.

Good one Jarrod. Good one Cameron. You’ve managed to confuse your police, criminalise your hosteliers, and drive tourist traffic away. Next you’ll be protesting you’ve been marooned by your citizens.

 Paranoia reigns in the State of Terror: chambers next?

The Queensland Police Union (QPU) says internal emails sent to rank and file officers have warned them to carry out the mission or be shown the door, in the first public sign that cracks are appearing in the government’s Over-The-Top (OTT) with Cam approach to the law.

The new Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act (VLAD) 2013 includes mandatory sentences for bikies of up to 25 years on top of normal penalties for crime. A special bikie super-prison within a prison is also being mooted, along with coloured uniforms.

Jarrod ‘Blinky’ Beijie
Jarrod ‘Blinky’ Beijie

Premier Campbell ‘OTT’ Newman is presiding over a State of Terror (according to a police email) where the rule of law applies only to chosen people. If you are not in the chosen group, the rule is thrown out the window and the law is what OTT Cam and Jarrod ‘Blinky’ Beijie (pictured), the Attorney-General, say it is.

But no group of people, police officers included, will simply ignore the inherent principles of a fair go simply because political fundamentalist warriors have gone rabid.

There was no greater illustration that the State of Terror’s government is on trainer wheels than the Premier’s suggestion that locked-up bikies (in their own, special prison facility costing probably hundreds of millions of dollars) should wear pink prison uniforms “for shame”.

Why? In the State of Terror, the bikies are to be locked in cells 23 hours a day: what difference does pink make? Perhaps they should just have a pink star pinned to the chest of their shirts, to save money, as identifiers?

According to the QPU, one email says: “Government considers that we – the Qld Police Service Senior Executive – have failed to adequately and professionally respond to this matter – consider this in all your communication and thinking. This is a crisis – has been compared to a terrorist act – we should be developing our strategies locally based on this type of thinking. The mission is clear – to rid Queensland of criminal motorcycle gangs – it is to be achieved in conjunction with normal business, priorities and the current change process – if this is not personally acceptable to you, consider your future with the QPS.

“You are required to develop meaningful longer-term strategies to irradiate [sic] all CMG activity and membership in your District – we will incorporate this into our weekly management process and the performance management process.”

Possibly the only place where “separate” laws for special groups of people worked effectively was in Nazi Germany, where selected people were also forced to wear distinctive clothing…or rather yellow stars on their chest. Perhaps Qld’s new bikie super-prison inside the Woodford facility will later have to have special chambers built.  Architects, please note.

By the way, it will cost Qld taxpayers about $150,000 a year or more to house each of the bikies jailed, because they have to be held in ‘special’ circumstances ((see WA costs story, on the CLA website).

 The poison spreads…

Victoria Police now want to criminalise bikie gangs…because they have been criminalised in Queensland.

Under new Qld law, untested in the High Court, Qld police only have to ask the Qld AG to declare the bikie gangs to be criminal. Under Victoria laws, police have to convince a Supreme Court judge beyond all reasonable doubt that the organisation is involved in criminal offences.

Victorian Deputy Police Commissioner Graham Ashton now wants to use a clause in Victorian laws to circumvent the tougher test: there is a clause in Victorian law which allows police to register a “corresponding declaration” from another state, without a Supreme Court judge having to consider an application.

When the intent of laws is abused in the way proposed in Victoria, you wonder who are the criminals?

 These are the laws being fiddled…

Once you fiddle with the rule of law, you have to change lots of laws to accommodate the fiddle. Here are the ones in Queensland:

  • Criminal Law (Criminal Organisations Disruption) Amendment Act 2013, Act No. 45 of 2013
  • Queensland Tattoo Parlours Act 2013, Act No. 46 of 2013
  • Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act (VLAD) 2013,Act No 47 of 2013
  • Police Powers and Responsibilities and Another Regulation
    Cartoon thanks to John Ditchburn,
    Cartoon thanks to John Ditchburn,

    Amendment Regulation (No. 1) 2013

There is no doubt that these laws, like cane toads, will spread interstate.

 Laws should be applied to gooses as well as ganders

There’s a saying about the Australian notion of a fair go: what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Civil Liberties Australia believes that special laws for separate groups should always be mirrored by the same laws for politicians: that is, if any politician breaks a law he or she should have their vehicles crushed and they should serve double the normal sentence in a jail where they are locked up 23 hours a day.

Any extra powers to the Crime and Misconduct Commission over bikies should be mirrored by increased CMC powers over politicians.

It is indisputable that politicians have more propensity to damage the community than bikies, so they should be punished accordingly if they actually do criminal harm.

Police pantomime fails to find weapons

“We are going to come down strong. we’re getting fed up with it (motorbike gangs), and we’re going to take them on,” acting Victorian Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Fontana told the media last month, explaining that he had just overseen the first major operation of its kind to target a specific bikie gang in Victoria.

The Hells Angels and its affiliates were targeted because the gang had been seen as the “aggressor” during recent attacks involving high-powered weapons, he said.

People can reasonably ask: why was this the first major operation against bikies?

Why haven’t police been targeting bikies month by month, year by year, if the bikies are as bad as the police have been claiming they are, for a decade.

Apparently, there have been no bikie raids at all recently…then suddenly “700 police officers execute sweeping raids on 60 properties across Melbourne”. There were media tip-offs in advance, so the police could look good on video news and in newspaper photos.

If bikies are constantly committing crimes, as police say, why are they not constantly being arrested, day by day, week by week?

On the day of police overkill last month, the 700 actors in the police pantomine managed to arrest 13 people. That is, it needed 54 police officers to arrest each person.

The main purpose of the raids was to search for AK-47 and M1 Carbine weapons, which they failed to find. They did find other ‘lighter’ weapons and ammunition.

Surely someone in police management, in Victoria and/or federally, can hold an inquiry into this fiasco and determine that it was a waste of resources and a serious impost on the police budget for virtually minimum return.

If only police were subject to the same types of financial restrictions that our schools, hospitals, and ambulance services have to get by on.

 Laws set a double standard

A criminologist and former cop says new Queensland laws will force bikies into a life on the run.

Former Gold Coast detective Dr Terry Goldsworthy says the proposed laws are unfair and set a dangerous new precedent for double standards in Queensland. He says there’s now one set of rules to deal with bikies who commit crimes, and another for non-gang members who commit exactly the same offences.

Under the laws, bikie gang members who commit serious crimes face 15 years of extra jail time. For club office bearers, the penalties are harsher still: an extra 25 years on top of whatever they get for their original offences. Other changes include a presumption against bail for criminal bikie gang members.

Local CCL says arrogance reigns

Queensland Council of Civil Liberties vice president Terry O’Gorman said the the state’s new anti-bikie laws showed the “arrogance that comes with a thumping majority and no upper house to call a government with a big majority to account”.

Mr O’Gorman was sceptical of Premier Campbell Newman’s claim he would like to see a “sunset clause” applied to the law, ending the legislation when it “was no longer needed”. “These laws, once there, will be there forever,” Mr O’Gorman said, adding that in a 35-year legal career he had seen the removal of only one criminal law added as a statute.


  1. Well done CLA and QCCL!! Please keep informing the general public who don’t think these laws will affect them. Keep fighting for our civil liberties and basic human rights, there are many like myself who appreciate what you are doing.

  2. Friend of mine who knows a number of bikies unfortunately passed away recently. We were all so paranoid about being arrested as we drove to and attended the funeral. It shouldn’t be like this. I don’t drive a bike and have no intention, but by association, I could be arrested because his bikie friends came – and they should have every right to. The day was awful enough without this black cloud over all our heads.

  3. I recently had the boots at my back door after moving into a new house. Looking for a previous male tenant, I being a female in my night gown in my lounge, was threatened and intimidated thru a screen door by an officer who refused to give a name , only a number on his badge. They insisted I had to give them paper work and tell them who I was. I refused!

    I was not speeding, just sitting and drinking a cup of coffee and, last time I looked, it was in Nazi Germany where the boots marched in demanding your papers! They insisted they could arrest me, so I unlocked the door and said, well arrest me, I am! I don’t think any of us are going to be led by a police state that easy. I tried to write his number down and they fled. I contacted the police station and no one will give me their names. They are now unaccountable for extreme abusive behaviours, and they are resorting to hiding their names so we can’t sue them for human rights violations.

    These new laws only give them powers to mistreat us all and protect the corporate criminal class. I will never be without a video camera again. I wished to film this for the world to see, I was shaking from head to toe in shock at the deliberate bullying of a peaceful grandmother who in horror experienced a police state that protects its own, and throws us to the dogs! Nazi Germany started its role this way. I think we are too late, its all here , now.

  4. So what will happen to Police with Tattoos? Will they lock each other up. I think its time someone stepped in and declared the last election null and void because we accidently elected politicians with syphilis and its affecting their brain. Someone tell that fool Bleijie that once the Liberal Party loses the next election he will be just a citizen like all the other people he discriminated against.

    Daniel Heinz
  5. I seem to remember from history lessons, certain females in America had to wear a scarlet letter pinned to their clothing to identify themselves to the public and they died from various means, the local law, wild mobs, and other various forms of persecution. In more recent history a funny little German bloke made an entire race wear a star pinned to their clothing and he slaughtered 6 000 000 of them. Food for thought.

    Not to mention that, as a returned serviceman from Afghanistan, 90% of serving persons in Australia’s defence force have some sort of tattooing. I wonder where Queensland’s laws are headed and what sort of governmental direction they are displaying to their constituents. All I can say is good luck to the coppers next Anzac Day when they try and hold issue against us diggers having a beer and remembering our fallen brethren.

  6. These laws have made me realise how dictated our lives are. Everything from wearing seatbelts and helmets through to suicide is illegal. There would barely be an act you couldn’t be charged for if the police wanted. I’m 36 and have no criminal record at all. I wont recognise this government or its police and by god if I ever see the opportunity I will take full advantage to fight back. This is a war and we are fighting for freedom.

  7. I used to be a history teacher before working in my job with security for the Government and I can assure you that most police officers hate what is happening under this Government. I have seen this kind of crap all throughout history – where little men do stupid things to appear bigger than they are – The only things Australians have to watch is the attitude of “Nahhh! That won’t happen here!”………..Guess what? It’s happening. The whole bikie thing might die down eventually but the laws will stay in place and that is the terrifying part. This (Newman) is establishing a precedent for anyone who is seen as a threat!……..It’s happened in the past, like I said, and those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it!

    Paul Christison
  8. i recently read the story of the Eureka stockade, now i see a real life re-enactment happening here in queensland,
    Time to start passing out the eureka flags again,
    “When law becomes injustice, resistance becomes duty”

  9. I am not a bikie or have anything to do with bikies but I am a human being born with common sense and this has from the word go been a vendetta brought about by Newman and Bjerky. We should be asking how sane these two men are because in all of by 57 years I have never seen two more incompetent fools running our state. We have highly respected people in the community saying how reduces the laws are. The basis principals of humanity are going out the door. Even person is innocent until proven guilty and yet Newman and his mate have thrown that out. What is wrong with people that they can’t see how damaging that is to our way of life? I don’t know why the Police Union have not gone out on strike for the criticism that has been thrown at them by Newman and his crazy friend I wish they would find some backbone. I suppose we should have all seen this coming when we realise the strings that were pulled to even get Newman as a Candidate let alone elected. Australians it is time to wake up and make sure this is never repeated again that we do not let Party’s have control of our wellbeing. Look at Independent Members too be the ones who will hold the balance because they are the only people who are there for the people not the parties.

    May Young
  10. Also us the taxpayer, paid for Newman and his cronies to have their houses updated with new security.
    Comment: It is usual for Ministers (federal and state/territory) to receive security advice from the police and often to have their home security upgraded – Ed.

    Jane Biggs
  11. These laws are so ridiculous …I’m not a member of any club (female) BUT I do know clubbies,,,, now I see this as 2 clubbies can meet for a drink I happen to come along and say Hi to my friends and BAM I’m now thrown in jail and called a criminal, locked up in solitary comfinment and treated worse than a pedophile… this is just an abuse of power… lock up real criminals.

    Norel Long
  12. It’s not the bikies I worry about. It’s everyday people who end up blind drunk in nightclubs, sometimes in packs, and become violent. I’ve stopped going out at night because of them. Not bikies. Nice to see Queensland taxpayer monies going to something useless after Newman and his cronies endless whinging about labor creating massive debt. Instead they pat themselves on the back and give themselves a substantial pay rise, fart on public servants who end up copping the heat from the public over stupid things like this. The legislation is awful, the licence regime unclear leading to a number of assumptions and it promotes a false sense of security to the public, eg, they are licensed ergo they must be a good tattoo shop, regardless of health issues, etc. From memory the ‘bikie legislation’ doesn’t mention bikies. Nor does this new tattoo legislation. The legislation is reviewed in 3 years. What’s the real agenda here? Just sayin’.


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