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Labor to repeal bikie anti-association laws if elected in Queensland, says Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk


13/2/2014 - Annastacia Palaszczuk says Labor would repeal controversial anti-bikie laws if they were voted in. Picture: Steve Pohlner Source: News Limited

LABOR has vowed to repeal Queensland’s controversial anti-association laws targeting bikies if elected in a sudden policy reversal.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk revealed on Tuesday night her party would dump laws in a shift away from the party’s previous statements that it would keep the laws but send them to a parliamentary committee for a review.

Ms Palaszczuk also attempted to push for a parliamentary inquiry into the laws in State Parliament, saying Premier Campbell Newman’s pledge to listen and consult more meant it was time to go back to the drawing board.

“These laws are completely unworkable and have gone too far, affecting innocent Queenslanders whose only crime is to ride a motorcycle,” Ms Palaszczuk told State Parliament.

“It is time for the Premier and the Attorney-General to admit that they got it wrong, go back to the drawing board and revise these laws,” she said.

But the push for a review by the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee was crushed by the Liberal National Party, which instead passed a motion to read that the laws were working in combating crime.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie attacked Ms Palaszczuk for wavering between “nine or ten different” positions on the laws before finally deciding her party would repeal the legislation.

He accused Labor of threatening to take Queensland back to a time where the previous Labor administration had introduced laws to combat gang crime but failed to declare a single criminal organisation.

Labor introduced the Criminal Organisation legislation in 2009, which at the time was billed as the toughest in the country in cracking down on crime gangs.

“We make it clear we want to rid the state of Queensland of criminal gangs,” Mr Bleijie said.

“It’s a shame the Opposition doesn’t agree with that,” he said.

“Let’s look at where they actually stand on this issue because I’m as confused as a scrambled egg where the Opposition actually sit on this issue.”

Mr Bleijie referred to reports in The Courier-Mail in which Ms Palaszczuk stated she would not repeal the laws if her party was elected at the next election, despite ongoing criticism of VLAD legislation.

But Ms Palaszczuk said her party was ready to start the process of developing its own “workable anti-crime gang laws” over coming months.

“Labor acknowledges that criminal organisations pose a threat to the safety and security of Queenslanders and Labor has consistently stated its support for laws that target criminal motorcycle gangs - but in a workable, rational fashion,” she said.

Labor MP Jackie Trad said the VLAD laws as they stood were “chaotic and unworkable”.

“They are the supertrawler equivalent in law enforcement sweeping everyone up and treating them as guilty before being proven innocent,” she said.