SCAG, the Attorneys-General dinner and discussion get-together held a couple of times a year, is in danger of disintegrating into farce. This week, the august A-Gs from the rest of Australia should have been counselling SA and NSW to throw out their new, semi-fascist laws. Instead, hours of discussion and masses of media attention were taken up with bikies. (SCAG issues therefore given short shrift included protecting people’s DNA rights, and how to reduce Indigenous numbers before courts and in Australian jails).
If police can’t control bikies with the ordinary criminal law, what hope have the coppers with any other criminal: bikies wear ‘colours’ that stand out; they use highly distinctive transport, and meet regularly in well-known clubhouses…and the police can’t use intelligence to defeat the criminal intentions of such people and groups?
Fortunately, sanity has prevailed to avoid a national knee-jerk reaction of bad law, but only because Victoria and the ACT stood up to some bully politicians from other states. Congratulations to Rob Hulls and Simon Corbell.
We should also acknowledge how important human rights acts in those two jurisdictions are in ensuring rogue pollies and police do not get away with abandoning the traditional rule of law, and respect for civil liberties, throughout Australian society.
Bring on a vote for an Australian charter of rights and responsibilities: the SA and NSW bikie laws clearly show how much Australia needs such a charter for self-protection.
Dr Kristine Klugman
President, Civil Liberties Australia
Letter to Editor, Canberra Times 21 Apr 09