The Rebels Motorcycle Club's
recent annual run to Mildura sent chills down the spine.
It wasn't the bearded bikies
rumbling purposefully down the highway who caused disquiet
as much as the number of police, many heavily armed,
dispatched to intercept them along their journey.
The Apple Isle contingent, for
example, was stopped as the bikies rode off the Spirit of
Tasmania. No offences were detected.
Those same riders were among
the growing pack stopped at a roadblock outside Wedderburn
in northern Victoria. There, police issued a handful of
traffic infringement notices and charged a couple with drug
possession, but by Acting Assistant Commissioner Jack
Blayney's admission, this was "not what I would say would be
The pack, by now grown to
about 500, was stopped again in Mildura where the Rebels'
stay had been "incident-free".
If 500 footballers or even 500
Holden drivers had converged on the city, it is odds-on the
level of offending would have been higher. But would they
have warranted calling out police from every state, the AFP,
the air wing, the operation response unit, road policing
specialist units, the dog squad and taskforce detectives?
Outlaw motorcycle gangs engage
in vile and violent crime. And - though they don't have a
monopoly on that - to think otherwise is to believe that the
guy found outside a Sunshine West clubhouse really had
self-inflicted his injuries with a knuckleduster.
What is alarming is the
singling out of one group regarded as unacceptable by the
Have we really become a
country where people are summarily stopped and searched
because of the subset of society they belong to... for who
they are rather than what they have done?