Anti-bikie laws will
smear other motorcycle riders in Tasmania, rally hears
Proposed laws which would ban the
wearing of designated outlaw motorcycle gang (OMCG) colours in Tasmania
would tar other bike riders with the same brush, opponents say.
More than 100 motorcycle riders gathered in
Devonport on Sunday to protest against the laws.
The riders are concerned the crackdown could
convince the community that law-abiding motorcycle riders are potential
"I'm not saying all bikers are good, there's bad
eggs, definitely, but you can't tar them all with the one brush," Doris
Smith, who organised the gathering, said.
She opposed banning any club colours, including
those of OMCGs.
"Any bike rider will look like a criminal in my
opinion — we want to go for a ride and not get harassed," Ms Smith said.
A petition Ms Smith started
opposing the proposed laws
has attracted more than 8,000 signatures.
Tasmanian Motorcycle Club president Paul Bullock
said most of the state's licensed motorcyclists would share Ms Smith's
"It goes to all motorcyclists, and there's 50,000
licensed riders in Tasmania, so that's 14 per cent of the voting
population," he said.
"There's bad people in all organisations, it
doesn't matter whether it's police, lawyers, or clergymen.
"Do you tar the whole lot with one brush? I don't
Some OMCG members, including Rebels and Bandidos,
attended the rally.
'Nothing to fear' for most bike riders
Police Minister Michael Ferguson urged Tasmanians
to read the proposed laws for themselves and have their say before public
consultation closes on May 11.
"I think a lot of people will be shocked at just
the level of organised crime and drug empires that are built up using a
small number of clubs as their distribution network," he said.
"Most of the motorcycle groups in our state who
are law-abiding groups have absolutely nothing to fear because they
won't be affected."
The proposed law would also ban OMCG members
convicted of serious crimes from associating with other gang members in
public and private.
In a statement, Tasmania Police said OMCGs were
significantly involved in importing and selling illegal drugs in Tasmania.
It insisted law-abiding riders would not be affect.
"The new colours prohibition laws are targeting
members of Tasmania's main criminal motorcycle gangs: Rebels, Bandidos,
Outlaws, Devil's Henchmen and Black Uhlans," the statement said.
"Motorcycle clubs like the Motorcycle Riders
Association, Tasmanian Motorcycle Council, Harley Owners Group, Ulysses
Club, God Squad and Vietnam Veterans etc won't be affected.
"The proposed consorting legislation would only
apply to criminals convicted of serious offences who, based on evidence,
continue to associate with other criminals."