To be fair to the Government, and its genuine
attempt to crack down on serious law-breakers, let's also dismiss
the drama over whether those arrested are holed up in solitary
confinement or dressed in pink jumpsuits, or forced to choose
between calling their family or their lawyers.
Despite all of that, the fact that this law and
the Government's credibility in the law-and-order debate now rests
on the Yandina Five shows a failure on several levels.
Government is rapidly losing the PR war, and community support,
because of the focus on two specific cases.
In the Yandina case, one of the accused has told
the court he was simply delivering pizza, that he had never owned a
Harley-Davidson motorcycle, ridden with a motorcycle gang, or
attended club functions.
If that proves right, the law and its policing is
going to look very silly.
In a second case, lawyer Bill Potts claims a group
of childhood friends from Victoria have been thrown into jail
because they met up together on the
Gold Coast for a holiday.
Now the correct place to test all assertions -
both from police and the defence - will be before the courts,
but a failure in these first celebrated cases will prove costly for
a government and a leader already being compared to Joh
But already, what was aimed as a genuine assault
on illegal activity - a good news story for a government needing to
be seen to be doing something - has become the butt of dinner table
jokes about ordering pizza.
And that's a loss in the PR game.
Government has singled out this issue at the expense of so many
others in a bid to go to the polls showing it is determined and
successful; that it is tough enough to take on the big boys of
crime, and determined to win.
That's admirable, if not high-risk, particularly
given the amount of other crime we are more likely to fall victim to,
and some of the punishments being meted out for those.
Where's the outrage over the trashing of a house
after an out-of-control Facebook party by a group of thugs who need
to grow up?
Or the crackdown on unruly teenage groups after a
couple were bashed and mugged in an Ipswich park this week?
Or where are our policing priorities when a man is
fined for stretching his leg while riding a motorbike to work?
The Government is hellbent on making outlaw
motorbike groups its target; so there is no loophole if it misses
Thirdly, our state's
judicial system has form in doing a poor job. Remember the High
Court ruling to quash Jayant Patel's conviction on the back of the
Or if you need other examples, look at the
controversy that enveloped the trials of American Gabe Watson or
politician Pauline Hanson or former magistrate Di Fingleton.
So how can we be sure that a law that is extremely
tough by any standard will be policed and implemented fairly and
Incidentally, it comes at the same time a video
surfaces of alleged police brutality in arresting a young man,
and a debate about police removing "service" from their job
description and adding "force''.
The Government is right to take aim at outlaw
bikies but, to borrow a crime analogy, if you're going to fire all
your bullets you need to hit the target.
Am I the only one beginning to feel uneasy that
too many shots are going astray?