MORE than 300 bikies and supporters today mounted a protest on wheels in defiance of the State Government's proposed anti-association laws.
The 66km cross-city run
from Beeliar to Nowergup was organised by the United
Motorcycle Council WA as a show of solidarity against
the laws, which they say are an undemocratic crackdown
on their right to associate with each other.
The legislation would give police the power to ban bikies from associating with each other and visiting certain places.
Seven WA bikie gangs - the Coffin Cheaters, Rebels, Gypsy Jokers, Club Deroes, Outlaws, God's Garbage and the Vietnam Veterans - have banded together to form the WA council in a bid to fight the proposed laws. The Comancheros, Finks and Rock Machine gangs are not part of the action.
Today, prominent lawyer Jonathon Davies, from the Australian Lawyers Alliance, publicly joined the fight with an address outside the Ocean View Tavern on Wanneroo Road.
``Bikies will always be regarded as a marginalised group…What I would say to the community is don’t look at the messenger, look at the message,’’ Mr Davies said.
``We are losing the fundamental rights and freedoms that our ancestors spilt blood to establish and maintain. We are so apathetic that we are moving towards governments by arbitrary decree.
``This year it will be motorcycle clubs. Next year it will be your political party and the year after that your church or synagogue.’’
UMC WA spokesman and Coffin Cheater Peter ``Fuzzy’’ Godfree said the protest ride was a public show of opposition to the laws and the rally should send a strong message to the Barnett Government.
The group claims the legislation ignores rules of evidence for criminal cases, presents secret information and throws out the time-honoured presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
``We believe the anti-association laws won’t work, they won’t curb crime at all. They are a waste of time…If anything they are going to breed a new class of criminal,’’ Mr Godfree said.
In November, the High Court declared as unconstitutional South Australia's controversial bikie laws banning members from associating, casting doubt on WA’s laws.
In the test case, lawyers for two South Australian members of the Finks motorcycle club argued a section of the legislation undermined the constitutional independence of magistrates.
United Motorcycle Councils have been formed by bikie gangs in New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland. Seventeen gangs have rallied together to form the Queensland council, there are 18 affiliate clubs in NSW and five bikie gangs have formed the SA chapter.
A spokeswoman for Attorney-General Christian Porter said ``introducing legislation to target organised crime remained a top priority for the State Government’’. She did not say when the proposed anti-association laws would be presented to Parliament.
Mr Porter has previously claimed the laws were vital in WA to stop criminal enterprise.