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Tasmanian Parliament passes law to ban bikies wearing club colours

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  • Tasmanian Parliament passes law to ban bikies wearing club colours

    Legislation to restrict members of outlaw motorcycle gangs from wearing club colours has passed through Tasmania's Parliament, but has been amended to reduce the Police Minister's power.

    Tasmania Police had pushed for the laws to be introduced to help curb the activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs in the state — in particular the Black Uhlans, The Devil's Henchmen, The Outlaws, The Rebels and The Bandidos.

    There were concerns bikie activity in Tasmania was increasing because most other states already had such laws.

    The Legislative Council sat late on Wednesday night to debate the legislation, which ultimately passed on Thursday morning, six-to-eight.

    Amendments introduced by independent Murchison MLC Ruth Forrest were all accepted by both houses.

    They required the Police Minister and Attorney-General to each agree to list a group under the laws after receiving written advice to do so from the Police Commissioner.

    Ms Forrest said the amendments attempted to address concerns the legislation would give too much power to the Police Minister alone to decide which groups would be listed.

    "The Attorney-General's credibility would be on the line as much as the Police Minister's, and I think this is an appropriate approach," Ms Forrest said.

    A decision to list an organisation under the laws needs to be advertised in the media, and Parliament's Subordinate Legislation Committee could also review a listing and seek to have it disallowed if it was felt an organisation had been inappropriately listed.

    The Government agreed to Ms Forrest's amendments and the bill passed through the House of Assembly for the final time on Thursday afternoon.
    'We still have grave concerns about this legislation'

    Greens leader Cassy O'Connor said it was better the Police Minister had to have advice from the Police Commissioner before he could declare an organisation as criminal, but the changes were "a bit like putting lipstick on a pig".

    "We still have grave concerns about this legislation," Ms O'Connor said.

    "The bill is still a poor piece of legislation that potentially will have wider consequences and we still don't support it."

    Labor MPs in the Upper House supported Ms Forrest's amendments but ultimately voted against the bill.

    Labor MLC Josh Willie said while his party supported the intent of the legislation, there were concerns about the provision of natural justice.

    "We believe these decisions are best placed in the court," he said.

    Police Minister Michael Ferguson said the passage of the legislation was a win for public safety.

    "This legislation will give police the tools they need to crack down on outlaw motorcycle gangs, as well as send a clear message that organised crime gangs are not welcome in Tasmania," he said.

    The Government also plans to introduce legislation to restrict members of outlaw motorcycle gangs from consorting with each other.

    Ms Forrest warned anti-consorting laws might not pass through Parliament as easily.

    "The real challenge is going to be in the anti-consorting laws … there will have to be very robust natural justice provisions in that, and a court process to ensure there are appropriate rights to appeal," she said.
    If we believe in “freedom”, we don’t get to choose whose freedom is most worth defending.
    Out of 5 million sperm... your the retard that got through? and I thought I was having a bad day!

  • #2
    Well I think it is a poor piece of legislation which appears to have no provision for undoing a declaration of club criminality, so naming any organisation as a criminal organisation.

    Yes, I did read the ninth paragraph. It leads me to believe that parliamentarians are left to do the reviewing. This should be a routine matter dealt with in an ordinary court of appropriate jurisdiction. The operant word being "could".

    It all looks a bit of a juggernaut to me. Our wannabe kings are wanting to rule by decree. Subject to bias and error. They do not fill me with confidence.

    Doubtless, it is possible for a club to clean up its act, and the government's "big hammer" approach has no doubt named organisations which do not deserve the tag "outlaw".

    A review process is essential and should be exercised regularly, consistent with the practice of getting one's licence back after disqualification, or parole hearings for inmates. There needs to be an appeals process, a review process which needs to be as clearly laid out as the "call"

    The whole thing is an amazing political circus kowtowing to the principle that law and order wins votes, but does nothing for those directly affected, and provides some very adverse and unfair outcomes for quite a number of people. In the long run this builds resentment towards authority and government who continue to chant the public safety mantra. Somehow this makes it all OK.
    The trick is to grow old. "Growing up" is less important than surviving.


    • #3
      OPINION: Legislation aimed at stopping Tasmania from becoming a safe haven for outlaw bikie gangs

      In Parliament on Thursday, we will debate and vote on the next stage of our outlaw bikie gang legislation to crack down on serious organised crime in Tasmania and keep the community safe.

      The legislation we are putting forward would replace the current offence of consorting contained in the Police Offences Act 1935 with a more contemporary offence that aligns with legislation in other jurisdictions.

      Updated consorting laws exist in every Australian state. Originally developed as part of anti-vagrancy legislation, these laws have been updated in the other jurisdictions to focus on dealing with organised crime ? instead of vagrants and petty thieves.

      This Bill repeals the 1935 offence and creates a new consorting offence to prevent serious criminal activity by deterring convicted offenders from establishing, maintaining and expanding criminal networks. It includes clear definitions, a preliminary warning system and a court review mechanism.

      The new offence prohibits two people who are both convicted of serious crimes from habitually consorting with each other, for up to five years after being served with a written warning from police.

      The Hodgman Liberal Government has a tough on crime approach and we are committed to keeping our state safe and making Tasmanians? lives better. That?s why we are delivering on our commitment to ensure Tasmanian police officers have the tools they need to combat organised crime and help keep us all safer.

      This Bill is a further addition to the suite of legislation implemented by this Government to achieve that aim. Alongside the Removal of Fortifications Act 2017, the Police Offences Amendment (Prohibited Insignia) Act 2018, the Terrorism Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2015 and the Community Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2016, this Bill will give Tasmania Police another essential tool to break up existing criminal gangs and hinder the expansion of national and international organised crime into Tasmania.

      Tasmania Police and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission have been very clear that without specific legislation to target these criminal groups, Tasmania is at risk of becoming a safe haven for them. Every other state has implemented laws to protect the community against Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, and there?s a clear danger that if Tasmania doesn?t keep up, these OMCGs will move their activities here.

      We call on Labor and the Greens to stand with us and fight against serious and organised crime and support this Bill.

      Michael Ferguson is the Minister for Police
      If we believe in “freedom”, we don’t get to choose whose freedom is most worth defending.
      Out of 5 million sperm... your the retard that got through? and I thought I was having a bad day!


      • #4
        Bikie Laws Are Needed

        AT first blush, the idea of legislating to ban people who are not in jail from spending time with others who are also not locked up sounds pretty extreme. But the consorting laws to be introduced to Parliament tomorrow by Police Minister Michael Ferguson as part of his war on outlaw motorcycle gangs strike what appears to be the right balance.

        The Bill effectively introduces a three-strikes-and-you?re-out approach to the banning of previously convicted criminals from spending time with other previously convicted criminals. As Minister Ferguson explained yesterday, the intent is to impose a strong deterrent to the establishment, maintenance and expansion of criminal networks.

        Any analysis of such laws must start with who might be exposed to this new ban. And the legislation in this regard is very clear: it would only apply to criminals who have previously been convicted of a ?serious offence? ? that is, any indictable offence or breach of laws relating to firearms, drugs and the sex industry, and those that ban the production or distribution of child pornography. These are not your common low-level car thieves or graffiti artists. (Interestingly, the consorting laws that have been on the books in Tassie since 1935 are far less clear. They simply make it an offence for ?a person? with ?insufficient lawful means of support? to ?habitually consort with reputed thieves? without ?good and sufficient reasons?. That vague law would be repealed alongside the proposed changes.)

        Minister Ferguson?s plan is to make it an offence for such convicted criminals aged over 18 to ?habitually consort? with other convicted criminals. It would work like this: first, a police officer of the rank of Inspector or higher must authorise the issuing of a warning notice to a convicted criminal. Any warning notice could be appealed to the Commissioner of Police, and then to the Administrative Appeals Division of the Magistrates Court. If upheld, the convicted criminal to whom the notice applies would then still have two more strikes: the legislation clearly spells out that the definition of ?habitual? is that the consorting must have occurred on at least two occasions within a five-year period.

        So there?s a preliminary warning system, a judicial review process ? and then a second chance.

        Importantly, the ban would also not apply to ?reasonable consorting? between parents, grandparents, spouses, siblings and dependants. Further defences would exist for consorting for the purposes of educational, health, legal, business or employment purposes.

        Similar laws now exist in every other state, and in the Northern Territory. That leaves Tasmania exposed ? and therefore an attractive place for outlaw motorcycle gangs to set up their operations.

        As we have said in this column on many occasions, these laws are necessary ? just as the legislation that was passed recently by State Parliament banning the wearing of club insignia in public was. These new powers were asked for by the police, the men and women we trust to bravely maintain law and order. It is the Parliament?s duty to now properly test the Bill to ensure the right protections are in place and that any loopholes have been closed ? and then to make it law.

        If we believe in “freedom”, we don’t get to choose whose freedom is most worth defending.
        Out of 5 million sperm... your the retard that got through? and I thought I was having a bad day!