Queensland Anti-Bikie Laws are Challenged

The Premier of Queensland, Campbell Newman, is carrying out a "pet" policy that appears to be solely his own. Remember, John Howard and Kevin Rudd were shown the door by voters for pushing out pet policies, ignoring advice from cabinet. Campbell Newman thinks voters will thank him at the next state poll for clamping down on the freedom of bikies.

Under the new rules police are hounding bikes out of the state. This is forcing police in those states to take action as well. It is certainly contagious. Freedom of association has clearly been limited and the laws don't make any sense. If each of two brothers belong to two different bikie clubs they cannot associate socially. This is a restriction of human rights.

The government is interfering in the freedom of the judicial system. Judges have criticized the new laws. Severe language is used in the legislation. An Offence are named "Vicious Lawless Association". Furthermore, a "defendant" has to prove his innocence, not be proven guilty.

The government has written the laws so a minister can expand a law at his own whim. This is very bad government, dictatorial even. Vicious Lawless Association carries a mandatory penalty of 10 years in prison. Members of bikie clubs in other states have been arrested and charged while on vacation in Queensland. The legislation can be expanded to cover workplace, sporting and recreational clubs, including political parties that a government wants to suppress.

Stefan Kuczborski a member of Hells Angels had lodged a High Court challenge against the freedom of association restriction.  A woman has been arrested for going with her husband because she was dressed in bikie gear. The main target of the legal challenge is that the government has broken the constitutional code of separation of powers by making judges bring down mandatory sentences.

In Australia constitutional challenges are won and lost by the political bias of judges on the panel who are appointed by changing federal governments. Decisions tend to be very close with split outcomes possible. The fear is that the legislation is implicitly supported by both leading political parties and this will sway the decision of High Court judges.
Politics by Ty Buchanan
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