Part of the Section 501 law is the cancellation of one's visa according to association. A criminal conviction is not a necessary requirement.
(i) that the person has been or is a member of a group or organisation, or has had or has an association with a group, organisation or person; and
(ii) that the group, organisation or person has been or is involved in criminal conduct;
Different states have varying degrees of the anti-bikie laws but there are none to say it's illegal to be part of a motorcycle club. Instead the clubs have been deemed as criminal organisations which according to the Law Council of Australia sets many concerns.
4. However, the Law Council questions the necessity for the introduction of extraordinary and far reaching ‘anti-bikie’ laws in light of the extensive range of law enforcement and investigative powers already available to police in all jurisdictions and pre-existing criminal offences designed to combat the commission of crime by groups, such as extended liability offences of conspiracy. The Law Council considers that these pre-existing laws, that more closely reflect traditional criminal law principles, provide a more appropriate starting point to address the types of criminal activity engaged in by outlaw motorcycle groups.
5. The Law Council is also concerned that the so-called ‘anti-bikie’ laws have broader application than outlaw motorcycle gangs and have the potential to impact on other members of the community and their rights, particularly the freedom of association. A further overarching concern relates to the potential for such offences to allow for much wider and more extensive use of a range of intrusive police powers. Related to these concerns is the fact that by focusing on association, these laws seek to target certain categories of people – for example those who for socio-economic or familiar reasons may be more like to associate with others who may have a criminal background – and apply harsh penalties and intrusive investigative powers to this group, in a way that does not apply to the broader community. This approach, in contrast to traditional criminal offences based on conduct, undermines the principle of equality before the law that is central to the Australian legal system.
Law Council of Australia 28th April 2014
It's true some members have criminal convictions and it's true there will most likely be unlawful dealings just the same as there would be true in any organisation, workplace, club or community. To tarnish all members including those whom have never had a criminal conviction should in itself be criminal. Alas, it isn't and there is no longer the need to be innocent until proven guilty, rather, citizens and residents are being treated as guilty without fair trial and due process.
Therefore, association and affiliation laws are becoming increasingly complex and basic rights to whom you choose to affiliate with are gradually taking over. A common misconception of the 'Bikie' laws is that it only affects those who are members in clubs or 'gangs' as the media or politicians like to put it. As mentioned by the Law Council there is potential to impact other members of the community restricting their rights and freedom to associate also.
The other concern is the unnecessary need to extend law enforcement powers when they already have ample power to investigate and charge individual civilians should the need arise. Members of clubs have no issue with the law except the way the laws are now written is breaching their individual human rights.
But what we've seen is language is an extremely powerful tool often used to persuade the general public and instil fear giving off the appearance to that the authorities want to protect the general public.
We however believe these laws are able to be used in whichever way the law enforcements see fit and there is nothing to stop people from all walks of life, interests and associations from one day having their rights to associate with whomever they like taken away . As always, it's only a matter of time.
In this Act—
association means any of the following—
(a) a corporation;
(b) an unincorporated association;
(c) a club or league;
(d) any other group of 3 or more persons by whatever name called, whether associated formally or informally and whether the group is legal or illegal.
base sentence, for a vicious lawless associate, means the sentence imposed on the associate under section 7(1)(a).
declared offence means—
(a) an offence against a provision mentioned in schedule 1; or
(b) an offence prescribed under a regulation to be a declared offence.
further sentence, for a vicious lawless associate, means a sentence imposed on the associate under section 7(1)(b) or (c).
office bearer, of an association, means—
(a) a person who is a president, vice-president, sergeant-at-arms, treasurer, secretary, director or another office bearer or a shareholder of the association; or
(b) a person who (whether by words or conduct, or in any other way) asserts, declares or advertises himself or herself to hold a position of authority of any kind within the association.
SEPTEMBER 28, 2015
A HIGH-PROFILE lawyer has rubbished Queensland’s anti-bikie laws, describing them as totally useless and nothing more than a political stunt.
His comments came as a court dismissed the case against five alleged bikies who were arrested under anti-association laws after they bought ice-cream during a Gold Coast holiday in January 2014.
The dismissal in Southport Magistrates Court this morning came as the prosecution revealed it had no evidence against any of the accused.
Bill Potts, who represented two of the five men, said the case cost $500,000 of public money and was the latest example of the laws failing to meet the burden of proof in court.
He added that his clients were guilty of nothing more than arguing over what type of ice-cream they wanted.
“The offence in effect is buying ice-cream in a public place,” Mr Potts said.
“The biggest controversy was whether it should be a choc-top or a vanilla ice-cream.”
Lawyer Bill Potts has been outspoken against Queensland’s anti-bikie laws.Source:News Corp Australia
Victorian friends Bane Alabejovic, Kresimir Basic, Darren Keith Haley, Dario Halilovic and Daniel Morgan Lovett were all arrested and charged while leaving an ice-cream shop at Surfers Paradise during a holiday with their families.
The five were accused of being bikie gang members and charged under a law introduced by the former Liberal-National Party government to prevent members of a criminal organisation from knowingly gathering in a group of more than two people in a public place.
At the time of their arrests, a woman who claimed to be the partner of one of the men said she was disgusted by what had happened.
“Basically the boys have gone to get the kids ice cream and the police have got them and locked them up,” she told reporters after the men were detained.
“To me I think it’s gross, gross, inhumanity, you wouldn’t even treat dogs like this.”
A biker buys an ice-cream cone at an anti-bikie law rally in Townsville in 2013. Picture: Fiona HardingSource:News Limited
Mr Potts told the Australian at the time: “The police found no drugs, no guns, no evidence of any criminality.
“Their offence is walking down the street and looking for ice creams. It is now illegal to be friends in a public place looking for an ice cream in Surfers Paradise.”
Queensland’s anti-bikie laws attracted scathing criticism when they were passed in October 2013, with senior barrister Stephen Keim telling a lawyers conference on the Gold Coast last year that the laws breached human rights.
In a strange twist, the arrest of the five men came weeks after nationwide rallies to protest Queensland’s tough new anti-bikie measures, including one in Townsvillewhere motorcyclists lined up at an ice-cream van.
Queensland’s Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg said last month his party would oppose any weakening of the anti-bikie laws by the current Labor Government. Picture: Scott FletcherSource:News Corp Australia
This morning, after the case against the men was dismissed, Mr Potts said he hoped the anti-bikie laws would be abolished when they were reviewed by the current Queensland government.
He added that this was the latest anti-association case to be thrown out without proof.
“Not one prosecution has been able to be sustained,” he said.
“Anti-association laws don’t work ... it prevents nothing and saves nobody.”
All five men spent more than two weeks in custody following their arrests, including time in solitary confinement, before being granted Supreme Court bail.
Mr Potts said his clients were considering their legal options regarding possible civil action.
- LEAH FINRAN
- GOLD COAST BULLETIN
- JANUARY 07, 2014
IT was supposed to be a quintessential Queensland holiday but instead of waking up to sun, surf and sand, five Victorian men are behind bars accused of being bikies and breaching the state's tough new anti-association laws.
The tattooed men arrived with their families last week for a 10-day Gold Coast holiday at the luxurious Hilton Surfers Paradise but while strolling beside the beach to buy ice creams on Friday they were stopped and questioned by police.
Two days later police arrested all five men, alleging they had connections to Victorian chapters of the Hells Angels and the Comancheros.
January 20, 2015
The government recently claimed that “Criminal Gang laws (are) keeping Queenslanders safer” and that they have driven a general decrease in crime.
Yet when you compare those claims against Queensland’s crime statistics, something soon becomes clear: the spin and the statistics tell two different stories.
Sunshine State’s falling crime rate
An examination of the overall crime rate in Queensland indicates that it has been steadily reducing for the past 12 years. Apart for an aberration in 2011/12, this trend has been consistent.
A reduction in general offences such as robbery, break and enters, and stolen vehicles was also attributed to the introduction of the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment (VLAD) laws, aimed at criminal bikie gangs.
However, comparison of the levels of reported property crime in Queensland year-to-year clearly show that property crime was already substantially reducing in 2013 – before the VLAD laws came into effect.
Winning the media war
Senior Queensland police have also made similar claims linking the bikie crackdown with falling crime rates in the state.
As part of the bikie war, the police have worked hard to win the media war, wooing and winning over most of the mainstream media, in particular the print sector. This is in alignment with objectives set out by the bikie Strategic Monitoring Team to reduce bad news stories – and their efforts have paid off.
Extract from Strategic Monitoring Team report obtained under Right to Information, Queensland Government. Terry Goldsworthy, CC BY
Critically, the bikie crackdown has been strongly backed by The Courier-Mail, Queensland’s only major state-wide daily newspaper, as this recent editorial shows:
The Courier-Mail has been unashamedly supportive of the crackdown on outlaw bikie gangs, reflecting genuine fear among Queenslanders who were terrorised by these thugs acting like they ran the state.
Instead of much-needed investigative journalism on law and order, there has been far too much of what could best be described as regurgitative journalism. Too often, the government line on “cutting crime” is repeated without meaningful analysis or independent opinion being sought.
However, some media outlets have remained independent and on occasion have taken the propaganda to task.
An analysis of media reports on the bikie war by The Courier-Mail and its weekend News Corp stablemate The Sunday Mail over a two-month period showed that 60% of stories had a police viewpoint, while only 20% had independent input.
Queensland’s media has been flooded with operational police stories, with seemingly every bikie arrest the subject of a specific media release. In the same period, other offenders arrested for similar offences often didn’t rate a mention.
In a government media statement released the day before the election was called, Queenslanders were told that since the anti-gang laws were introduced, more than 1700 “criminal gang participants” had been arrested.
Yet Right to Information data from the police showed that there were only 900 gang members in Queensland in 2013. No information was provided to the media as to exactly how many of the 1700 “gang participants” were actual criminal gang members. Perhaps no-one bothered to ask.
Politicisation of the police
In July 2014, Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart went public claiming a crime reduction of at least 10% before the official crime data was settled. As The Courier-Mail reported at the time:
Crime in Queensland dropped at least 10% in the past financial year, according to Police Commissioner Ian Stewart, who attributed the fall to sweeping reforms and a crackdown on bikies. The state’s top cop says he can’t release official figures yet but declared he expected to exceed his target of a 10% decrease in crime. “I don’t want to crow about it but when I started last year I said I was hopeful we would get a 10% reduction in crime, that is the reported crime … I think we’re going to exceed that and quite honestly that is a real hallmark and milestone figure.
The same day, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman used the media story to justify his government’s law-and-order efforts when giving evidence to a parliamentary estimates committee.
Stewart was rightly criticised for making that claim. Less than a fortnight later, the data showed that the overall crime rate had decreased by only 2.1% and not “at least 10%”, leading to calls for an independent body to interpret and publish an overall view of crime statistics.
Perhaps worst for the government was the fact that in an attempt to claim the much higher decrease they had discarded an entire crime category, “other crime”, as not being crime important to “mum and dads”. This category contained domestic violence crime, which had increased some 15%.
Within days of this being identified in the media, the government suddenly announced an inquiry into domestic violence in Queensland.
Claims by police that they could not have achieved the overall crime results they have without the bikie legislation are unsustainable.
The separation of powers doctrine would dictate that comments with political connotations, such as the ones we have seen from senior police, should not have been made. It was the government’s failure to observe these principles in its unfounded criticism of the judiciarythat led to a public backlash and an apology from Newman in July 2014.
Tellingly, despite the High Court decision in November 2014 clearing the way, not one other Australian jurisdiction has moved to implement similar bikie laws to Queensland, despite having ample time to prepare and do so.
In reality, other jurisdictions appear to see the VLAD laws for the distraction that they are and to realise that the laws remain untested despite government claims to the contrary.
The opposition’s plan – what plan?
If the Liberal National government’s VLAD laws are unpalatable, the alternative proposed by Labor is hardly more enticing.
Labor has mooted a return to utilising their Criminal Organisation laws – laws that also have an association aspect.
Introduced in 2009, the “elite” anti-bikie squad, Taskforce Hydra, failed to make a single successful application in the four years following. The only application sought was against the Gold Coast Chapter of the Finks and this action was discontinued in the Supreme Court in 2014.
Labor has been all over the place in its stance on bikies and crime.
The opposition voted with the Liberal National Party to pass the laws in October 2013, even while criticising the government’s rushed approach. Labor has since complained that the laws had “gone too far, affecting innocent Queenslanders whose only crime is to ride a motorcycle”.
Labor is now promising to “repeal, review and replace” the VLAD laws, with little detail on what would replace them.
As a former Gold Coast police detective with 28 years' experience, I’ve investigated my fair share of bikies in the past – and as I’ve said many times, being a critic of poor policy does not make me an apologist for criminals in the bikies' midst.
It’s just a pity that we’ve seen this area of law-and-order policy become so politicised from all sides, at the expense of giving more credit for falling crime rates where it’s due.
Who deserves more credit for a safer Queensland?
The current Queensland crime rate is more likely to be the product of a long-term, declining trend, combined with the Newman government employing an extra 800 police.
Those are certainly more likely to be significant factors than laws that have only been used minimally, on a single group, which commits a very small amount of crime.
The issues of better resourcing, better crime management and an actual commitment by senior police to deal with criminal groups are the real reasons for recent successes.
The government’s own bikie Strategic Monitoring Team has recognised this. Last year, the former army officer heading the team told the ABC that significant decreases in Gold Coast crime could “be attributed to more police available to carry out operations on the Gold Coast and the targeted nature of the enforcement activity”.
Politicians of all stripes will always try to take credit for falling crime rates. But the media and voters need to look beyond the official spin and give credit where it’s really due for the long-term decline in Queensland crime: in particular, to the many unheralded police officers doing their jobs.
August 16, 2015
AUSTRALIA’S Border Force Commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg – a former covert Queensland police officer who investigated organised crime – has added to the chorus of critics against the Palaszczuk Government’s bikie laws review.
Jun 3, 2015
Fears are rising that Queensland will see an influx of criminal biker gangs if the new Labor government abandons tough bikie laws.
June 3, 201
Joshua Robin Rohl, 31, was sentenced on Wednesday to five years' jail, suspended after 18 months, after pleading guilty in the Brisbane Supreme Court to a string of drug offences.
Queensland Hells Angels challenge bikie laws with first charity motorcycle ride since VLAD Act introduced
By the National Reporting Team's Mark Solomons
Updated 8 Mar 2015
The Hells Angels threw down a gauntlet to Queensland police and the State Government on Saturday, holding their first charity motorcycle "poker run" in the state since the former LNP Government brought in controversial anti-bikie laws.