Other states to support Queensland’s VLAD laws in bikies’ High Court challenge
- 8 hours ago August 25, 2014
The laws, which had attracted widespread criticism when initially introduced, have now been given the backing of attorneys-general from New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and South Australia, a Labor Government.
They, along with federal Attorney-General George Brandis, have agreed to intervene in a High Court challenge to the laws, which will be heard next week.
If upheld, aspects of the laws, if not the legislation in their entirety, are expected to be rolled out nationally in the supporting states.
Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said just the Tasmanian and Australian Capital Territory governments, who do not currently have specific anti-bikie laws, had decided against helping defend the laws including the VLAD (Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment) legislation.
Under VLAD, bikie gang members and office bearers can face additional, mandatory sentences of between 15 and 25 years if they are found guilty of a range of offences.
“The Commonwealth, States and Territories all intervening means another six of the nation’s top legal minds are backing us up,” Mr Bleijie said.
“Criminal gangs and organised crime aren’t just Queensland issues, they’re national issues, and everyone has noticed the success the laws are having in disrupting these groups and their illegal enterprises.
“The criminal gangs were always going to try to get around the laws but so many others coming to the party is a strong message that communities across the country have had enough of them.”
The High Court challenge, brought on by Hells Angels members Stefan Kuczborski with the backing the United Motorcycle Council of Queensland, has been set down for the first week of September.
They argue the laws are unconstitutional as they deny gang members and their associates the right to free speech and natural justice.
The also say the laws undermine the integrity of the courts.
The State, however, argues the laws are valid.
Police have warned that if the anti-bikie laws are thrown out it would derail their efforts to clamp down on the gangs and their criminal activity.
The laws were passed last year in the aftermath of the infamous Broadbeach brawl when dozens of members of the Bandidos flooded into the mall during the busy school holiday period to confront a rival.
Other measures which would have banned bikies from working in Queensland’s building industry have been postponed.
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk has indicated the opposition intends to scrap the laws and replace them with “workable” legislation.
That position was backed by the Labor Party on Saturday during its annual state conference.