Police Research confirms the majority of the
members of MC Clubs do not have any serious
criminal history, and 7 of the 26 clubs subject
to VLAD laws do not have members with serious
The innocent deserve
protection, and should not be the subject of
these draconian VLAD laws.
The research, as provided to
the Courier Mail last week, confirms that these
laws effect people with no serious criminal
history, and target 7 clubs whose members do not
have any serious criminal history.
According to an article
published on the weekend, police “researchers”
told the Courier Mail that “…more than 70 per
cent of members of some bikie clubs have serious
criminal convictions” and that “nearly half of
all members of the top 19 violent outlaw gangs
had convictions for serious crimes.”
Statistics can be manipulated
and I would like to make some comments on these
ones in particular.
The public is being asked to swallow these
figures and conclude that the VLAD laws are
justified because some of the members of clubs
have a criminal history.
It is important to remember
these laws allow for severe mandatory
sentencing, solitary confinement, fear of being
seen in public, the reversal of the right to
bail and innocence, and other denials of natural
justice and human rights.
These sorts of laws should not be passed
lightly, or without careful research on who will
They should not undermine the rule of law, or
civil rights, nor should they prevent freedom of
the right to protest, or the right to associate.
Unfortunately this is not the
case with the VLAD laws.
This is why these laws have come under strong
criticism from Judges, Amnesty, human rights
groups, and organisations across the globe.
They offend Australia’s treaty obligations, and
involve a serious erosion of civil liberties,
freedoms, and rights.
The means never justify the ends, and these
means are undeniably draconian.
Let’s look at the police
“statistics” – noting the Courier Mail did not
provide much detail, because they actually
demonstrate that the majority of members of
these clubs do not have criminal histories.
Firstly, these statistics
choose to only refer to 19 of the 26 clubs named
– so how do they justify the laws applying to
the other 7 clubs named on the list?
Does that mean they made a mistake naming the
Presumably the statistics for those clubs are
insignificant which is why they have not be
mentioned in the Courier Mail.
Lest we also forget that they have named a club
(The Scorpions) that does not even exist in
Australia – why include them!
So much for carefully researching and vetting
which clubs deserve to be subjected to draconian
Secondly, on their own
“statistics”, 2/3rds of members of the majority
have any serious convictions.
Why tar all members with no history with the
same brush then?
Why are these laws being used to target clubs
where less than 1/3 of members have a criminal
Why are persons with no criminal history subject
to the same draconian laws?
Can the loss of the presumption of innocence
really be justified where the majority effected
have no history at all?
Finally, the statistics also
fail to differentiate between criminal histories
which predate membership of a motorcycle club,
and therefore have no relevance to their
membership of the club, or their current
lifestyle. As a lawyer I was always taught that
people can rehabilitate, and indeed I have seen
first and people change their lives around when
they mature and start building a family life.
To judge someone on their past is a mistake.
People do change.
Sometimes people need a place to belong – such
as a club – to help them achieve their life
Many Vietnam veterans for example joined clubs
when they returned from fighting for Australia –
yet these guys are also subject to the same
draconian laws, even if they only joined for a
few months in the 1970s (the laws are
retrospective too by the way!).
These are men that fought for Australia, yet now
they fear marching on ANZAC Day!
What is happening to our country!
Then there are the funerals
that are being stalked by police trying to catch
more than 2 club members arriving at the same
time to mourn the death of a friend.
I cannot see how that can be justified
(especially when the deceased was not even a
member at the time of his passing which has been
the case on at least two funerals this year).
Surely some things are sacred – births death and
marriages would have to be three of the
ceremonies that deserve respect.
Laws should not target people
simply because of what they might do.
Laws should not punish people for who they
choose to befriend, or associate with.
If the majority of members do not have
convictions, then why are they being targeted?
If only a minority of members have any criminal
history, then how can they justify why are these
clubs being declared to be “criminal
How can they justify targeting their friends,
family and associates?