Freedoms and Rights concerns in QLD bikie laws

Date: 
Friday 18 October 2013

The Commission has significant concerns about the effects of the three Bills passed by Queensland parliament this week to curtail criminal activity among bikie gangs throughout the state. – The Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Bill, The Tattoo Parlours Bill and The Criminal Law (Criminal Laws Disruption) Amendment Bill.

“We have concerns that the internationally agreed freedoms and rights of specific groups of people in Queensland may be breached by the effect of these laws,” said Commission President, Professor Gillian Triggs. “Indeed, we have concerns that the very manner in which the Bills were passed - rushed through without any form of public consultation – carries with it serious human rights ramifications, as does the fact that they target people on the basis of who they associate with, rather than for something they have done.”

Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Australia is a signatory, states that “Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity … to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives … to have access, on general terms of equality, to public service in his country.”

“The fact that the laws were rushed through without being subjected to the parliamentary committee process, without affording public consultation or scrutiny, would very likely not satisfy the requirements of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” Professor Triggs said.

Additionally, the Commission is concerned that people deemed by the legislation to be ‘vicious lawless associates’ will now be automatically subject to mandatory extra punishment above what would apply for the declared offence, including an additional 15 to 25 years imprisonment, and be subject to the potential waiving of bail and parole and a reversal of the onus of proof.

“The provision which we think raises the greatest concern from a human rights point of view is that each person is entitled to be treated equally with others before a court of law” said Professor Triggs. “Here we have an attempt to specifically identify a class of person - members of a criminal motorcycle gang - and to require that there be mandatory sentences in relation to them.”

“As a democratic and fair society, freedom of association, freedom of expression and our right to be treated equally before the law in accordance with the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights should be fundamentals under which we operate.”

Professor Triggs said that the passing of any laws, especially those creating wide reaching or sweeping powers, should be accompanied by a statement of Human Rights compatibility, as they are at the federal level, and also allow for their debate and scrutiny beforehand.

Comments

christine's picture christine

<p>These laws are ludicrous, I am married to a member of an outlaw motorcycle club and a Tattooist, we do not engage in anything illegal, we work, pay our taxes, raise our children.. Because of a few gungho fools we all pay for their crimes, where are our rights.. As a close associate i now can;t go our to lunch/stand on a footpath with my friends etc unless we are in a group no larger than two. My family will be continuously harassed by the local police, searched and subject to continuous embarrassment.We know this as fact because of the conduct of the officers and the way in which the laws were presented to us personally. I work in Education and I wouldn;t subject their children to that kind of treatment just because their parents were police officers or Politicians . If it was their child who was sick and in need of an expensive operation, one that they could not afford would they refuse funds raised from a charity ride, because it came from bikers.. Who really are the ones that group in gangs, wear insignia and bully and use stand over tactics..Who are the ones that are most corrupt !! This is Dictatorship, What;s next !! trade unions, sporting clubs, church groups..</p>

Hermit's picture Hermit

I believe the new laws also breach the following articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 

  •  Article 7: ALL ARE EQUAL BEFORE THE LAW and are entitled WITHOUT ANY DISCRIMINATION to equal protection of the law. All are ENTITLED TO EQUAL PROTECTION AGAINST ANY DISCRIMINATION in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination. 
  • Article 12: NO ONE SHALL BE SUBJECTED TO ARBITRARY INTERFERENCE with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, NOR TO ATTACKS UPON HIS HONOUR AND REPUTATION. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. 
  • Article 13: (1) EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT AND RESIDENCE within the borders of each state. 
  • Article 17. (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.   (2) NO ONE SHALL BE ARBITRARILY DEPRIVED OF HIS PROPERTY. 
  • Article 20: (1) EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY AND ASSOCIATION. 
  • Article 23. (1) Everyone has the right to work, TO FREE CHOICE OF EMPLOYMENT, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
Devo's picture Devo

Let me begin by declaring my appreciation that a Government Body has seen fit to see these Bills for what they are. A blatant attack on it's own citizens and an absolute abuse of power very similar to Nazism and Fascism from last century..As I see it, there seem to be two main persons who are responsible for causing this situation, Mr Newman and Mr Bleijie. They are endangering the lives of law-abiding citizens and our Police Service at the same time by creating a mass hysteria over an illusion of a threat that does not exist..At the same time Mr Newman is sacking Public Servants "because of cost measures", he is wasting millions of taxpayers' dollars on publicity campaigns, advertising and justifying his "war" as well as stretching the resources of the Police Service to the limits..Their seemingly overactive imaginations would have us believe that an enemy who doesn't exist is about to be let loose on our society and must be stopped by using any means possible, be that legal or moral or not. Surely there must be some proof and discussions beforehand if we are all to be in a state of panic ?.The only reason Motorcycle Clubs with Clubhouses are now referred to as "Criminal Gangs with Headquarters" is because these two people have said so. On their heresay with no proof they deliberatley misled Parliament, rushed through their Bills improperly and they have now attempted to cause Civil Unrest by antagonising both innocent citizens and the Police Service to divide the community into "sides" of a conflict which they have created..It has been reported that Police who have concerns over the illegal activities they are now ordered to carry out, should be concerned for their jobs. Apparently the Police Commissioner has reinforced a "do as you are told or else reconsider your position in the QPS" attitude to those who serve on the streets if they question the legality of what they are told to enforce..Can Mr Newman and Mr Bleijie be sacked immediately considering they knowingly broke the laws of the state or can they hide behind Parliamentary Privilege ? Does the Police Commissioner have the power to direct unlawful activities to be carried out by his subordinates ?.Every day these Bills are allowed to be in existence and allowed to be enforced is another day that innocent citizens AND Police alike face fear of losing their jobs, their basic Human Rights violated and worse. There is no"war" except the one Mr Newman and Mr Bleijie are busily creating through misinformation and "jackboot" responses to a cause they have created..These Bills are antogonistic in their nature and so is their enforcement..By not following the correct protocols to introduce a Bill, who has the power to remove these dangerous criminals from Office ?.Every "fact" they represent to the public is the reverse of their accused. They accuse an element in our society of being criminal without proof yet there is public proof of their criminality.,They accuse an element in our society as using standover tactics for a gain of power, yet these two people (abusing their power) use the Police Service to defend their arrogance by using standover tactics at a street level..They accuse an element in our society of being drug dealers who, after years of surveillance, even the ACC has deemed as not being a threat or a serious player in the drug world..My question would be: If these Bills can be rushed through overnight, why can they not be overturned overnight and the perper-traitors be charged with Criminal Offences ?.Is this something your Office has the power to do ?.Thank YouConcerned Citizen Devo 

richardjbarber's picture richardjbarber

I am a long time motorcycle rider but not a bikie. I want to say that Newman's attack on ALL bikies is cowardly and disgusting. Very un-Australian. Newman is abusing his position to carry out a personal or political vendetta or dislike. While bikies tend to be unfriendly to other riders and the general public that is no reason for the rubbish that is going on here in Queensland. The basis of our legal system and rights is being changed on the whim of a dangerously ignorant man and a party of fools. Please there must be some way to check this arrogant man and lock our rights in where fools like this cannot abuse us with impunity. We need a Bill of Rights that politicians cant break and a way to make them accountable. What can we do?