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Queensland laws on bikie gangs and sex offenders will fail: Tony Fitzgerald

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THE man who presided over Queensland's historic corruption inquiry has launched a scathing attack on the Newman government's bikie and sex offender laws.

Tony Fitzgerald QC has warned Queenslanders not to be duped by laws he views as dangerous.

This month, the government gave itself the power to bypass the courts and keep some sex offenders in jail indefinitely.

Parliament also passed new laws that mean judges must now impose two sentences on criminal bikie gang members who commit a serious crime - one for the crime itself and another for being part of a declared criminal gang.

Mr Fitzgerald says Queenslanders should understand the gravity of the laws, which he warns are likely to fail.

New laws will fail, Fitzgerald says
 

"History teaches us that claims that repressive laws will reduce serious crime are usually hollow and that laws which erode individual freedom and expand a state's power over its citizens are fraught with peril," he writes in an opinion piece in The Courier-Mail.

He says parliament could chose to enact any law.

But parliamentarians "don't have a 'mandate' to give effect to prejudices and ill-informed opinions, ignore ethics and conventions or attack fundamental values such as personal freedom or essential institutions such as the judiciary".

Mr Fitzgerald says both sets of laws are populist and suggests they exploit the fears of less-educated Queenslanders.

He cites Wikipedia's definition for a demagogue, saying it provides an uncomfortable insight into modern politics.

"A demagogue ... is a political leader in a democracy who appeals to the emotions, fears, prejudices, and ignorance of the less-educated citizens in order to gain power and promote political motives."

Mr Fitzgerald is also scathing about how the government has handled concern about its laws.

Last week, Premier Campbell Newman called critics of the sex offender laws "apologists" for pedophiles.

"It is extremely arrogant and socially destructive for politicians to slander citizens who disagree with their 'political solution' or to denigrate the judicial branch of government and its generally conservative judges, who must make sometimes unpopular decisions in accordance with the law and available evidence and their oath of office," Mr Fitzgerald writes.

"And it is incomprehensible that any rational Queenslander who is even remotely aware of the state's recent history could for a moment consider reintroducing political interference into the administration of criminal justice, even to the point of making decisions about incarceration."

Mr Fitzgerald said he wrote the piece as a private citizen who was not aligned with any political party.

"I am a private citizen who has noticed that more problems are solved by thoughtful discussion than political grandstanding and personal abuse," he said.

The premier's office declined to directly address Mr Fitzgerald's criticisms today.

A spokesman for Mr Newman said the government was simply delivering on its plan to make Queensland safe.

- See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/queensland-laws-on-bikie-gangs-and-sex-offenders-will-fail-tony-fitzgerald/story-e6frgczx-1226748089355#sthash.sNKVnMFQ.dpuf

Queensland laws on bikie gangs and sex offenders will fail: Tony Fitzgerald

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THE man who presided over Queensland's historic corruption inquiry has launched a scathing attack on the Newman government's bikie and sex offender laws.

Tony Fitzgerald QC has warned Queenslanders not to be duped by laws he views as dangerous.

This month, the government gave itself the power to bypass the courts and keep some sex offenders in jail indefinitely.

Parliament also passed new laws that mean judges must now impose two sentences on criminal bikie gang members who commit a serious crime - one for the crime itself and another for being part of a declared criminal gang.

Mr Fitzgerald says Queenslanders should understand the gravity of the laws, which he warns are likely to fail.

New laws will fail, Fitzgerald says
 

"History teaches us that claims that repressive laws will reduce serious crime are usually hollow and that laws which erode individual freedom and expand a state's power over its citizens are fraught with peril," he writes in an opinion piece in The Courier-Mail.

He says parliament could chose to enact any law.

But parliamentarians "don't have a 'mandate' to give effect to prejudices and ill-informed opinions, ignore ethics and conventions or attack fundamental values such as personal freedom or essential institutions such as the judiciary".

Mr Fitzgerald says both sets of laws are populist and suggests they exploit the fears of less-educated Queenslanders.

He cites Wikipedia's definition for a demagogue, saying it provides an uncomfortable insight into modern politics.

"A demagogue ... is a political leader in a democracy who appeals to the emotions, fears, prejudices, and ignorance of the less-educated citizens in order to gain power and promote political motives."

Mr Fitzgerald is also scathing about how the government has handled concern about its laws.

Last week, Premier Campbell Newman called critics of the sex offender laws "apologists" for pedophiles.

"It is extremely arrogant and socially destructive for politicians to slander citizens who disagree with their 'political solution' or to denigrate the judicial branch of government and its generally conservative judges, who must make sometimes unpopular decisions in accordance with the law and available evidence and their oath of office," Mr Fitzgerald writes.

"And it is incomprehensible that any rational Queenslander who is even remotely aware of the state's recent history could for a moment consider reintroducing political interference into the administration of criminal justice, even to the point of making decisions about incarceration."

Mr Fitzgerald said he wrote the piece as a private citizen who was not aligned with any political party.

"I am a private citizen who has noticed that more problems are solved by thoughtful discussion than political grandstanding and personal abuse," he said.

The premier's office declined to directly address Mr Fitzgerald's criticisms today.

A spokesman for Mr Newman said the government was simply delivering on its plan to make Queensland safe.

- See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/queensland-laws-on-bikie-gangs-and-sex-offenders-will-fail-tony-fitzgerald/story-e6frgczx-1226748089355#sthash.sNKVnMFQ.dpuf

Queensland laws on bikie gangs and sex offenders will fail: Tony Fitzgerald

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Hi D Discover news with your friends. Give it a try.
To get going, simply connect with your favourite social network:

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THE man who presided over Queensland's historic corruption inquiry has launched a scathing attack on the Newman government's bikie and sex offender laws.

Tony Fitzgerald QC has warned Queenslanders not to be duped by laws he views as dangerous.

This month, the government gave itself the power to bypass the courts and keep some sex offenders in jail indefinitely.

Parliament also passed new laws that mean judges must now impose two sentences on criminal bikie gang members who commit a serious crime - one for the crime itself and another for being part of a declared criminal gang.

Mr Fitzgerald says Queenslanders should understand the gravity of the laws, which he warns are likely to fail.

New laws will fail, Fitzgerald says
 

"History teaches us that claims that repressive laws will reduce serious crime are usually hollow and that laws which erode individual freedom and expand a state's power over its citizens are fraught with peril," he writes in an opinion piece in The Courier-Mail.

He says parliament could chose to enact any law.

But parliamentarians "don't have a 'mandate' to give effect to prejudices and ill-informed opinions, ignore ethics and conventions or attack fundamental values such as personal freedom or essential institutions such as the judiciary".

Mr Fitzgerald says both sets of laws are populist and suggests they exploit the fears of less-educated Queenslanders.

He cites Wikipedia's definition for a demagogue, saying it provides an uncomfortable insight into modern politics.

"A demagogue ... is a political leader in a democracy who appeals to the emotions, fears, prejudices, and ignorance of the less-educated citizens in order to gain power and promote political motives."

Mr Fitzgerald is also scathing about how the government has handled concern about its laws.

Last week, Premier Campbell Newman called critics of the sex offender laws "apologists" for pedophiles.

"It is extremely arrogant and socially destructive for politicians to slander citizens who disagree with their 'political solution' or to denigrate the judicial branch of government and its generally conservative judges, who must make sometimes unpopular decisions in accordance with the law and available evidence and their oath of office," Mr Fitzgerald writes.

"And it is incomprehensible that any rational Queenslander who is even remotely aware of the state's recent history could for a moment consider reintroducing political interference into the administration of criminal justice, even to the point of making decisions about incarceration."

Mr Fitzgerald said he wrote the piece as a private citizen who was not aligned with any political party.

"I am a private citizen who has noticed that more problems are solved by thoughtful discussion than political grandstanding and personal abuse," he said.

The premier's office declined to directly address Mr Fitzgerald's criticisms today.

A spokesman for Mr Newman said the government was simply delivering on its plan to make Queensland safe.

- See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/queensland-laws-on-bikie-gangs-and-sex-offenders-will-fail-tony-fitzgerald/story-e6frgczx-1226748089355#sthash.sNKVnMFQ.dpuf

SA chapter of Mongols bikie gang to remove clubhouse fortifications by the end of the year

 
 
SA Police raid the Mongols Motorcycle Club's Thebarton clubrooms earlier t...

SA Police raid the Mongols Motorcycle Club's Thebarton clubrooms earlier this year. Source: News Limited

THE Mongols bikie gang anticipates fortifications surrounding its Thebarton clubrooms will be removed before Christmas, a court has heard.

Lawyers for the club and for the State Government appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court today over SA Police's application for an anti-fortification order.

In October, The Advertiser revealed most of Adelaide's 56 Finks bikies were patching over to the feared, US-based Mongols Motorcycle Club .

It also reported SA Police would seek a court order that heavy fortifications surrounding the Mongols' Thebarton club rooms be torn down .

It was only the third such application since the creation of anti-fortification legislation in 2004, and was expected to be a major showdown between police and the outlaws.

An SA Police raid on the Mongols Motorcycle Club's Thebarton clubrooms earlier t...

SA Police raid the Mongols Motorcycle Club's Thebarton clubrooms earlier this year.

The Mongols, however, opted not to fight the application, exclusively telling The Advertiser they would make changes to their club rooms without court intervention .

They vowed the Thebarton complex's 2.4m steel gate would be lowered, its steel cage removed and its wooden sleeper fence swapped for Colorbond either before, or soon after, the scheduled court hearing.

The club attributed its decision was part of its change in attitude as members patched over from the notorious Finks gang.

An insider said members had realised they must "change or die" and adopt a "zero tolerance" attitude toward drugs, alcohol and violence .

SA Police raid the Mongols Motorcycle Club's Thebarton clubrooms earlier t...

SA Police raid the Mongols Motorcycle Club's Thebarton clubrooms earlier this year.

Today Solicitor-General Martin Hinton, SC, said the matter was likely to resolve without court intervention.

"I've provided the club with draft minutes of order (for the fortifications to be removed), but it's not so easy as tearing these things down," he said.

"We have to take into account what the Port Adelaide Enfield Council wants to do in terms of planning and development permissions.

"We might need to chat about things with the council to make sure all the 'i's are dotted and 't's crossed."

Lawyers for the club said they were confident the fortifications would be down by Christmas.

Mr Hinton asked the court keep a close eye on the matter in the meantime.

He said that, should it go to trial, he would need 2 days to lead evidence from 10 witnesses.

"I'm confident we will get to a negotiated outcome, but I don't want to take my foot off either," he said.

Magistrate Simon Smart adjourned the case for mention next month.

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