Queensland’s new bikie laws are a serious
invasion of fundamental human rights, according to
University of Adelaide Senior Lecturer in Law Dr
Last week, the Queensland Government
introduced tough new bikie laws that see bikie gang
members face a minimum of 15 years in a maximum security
jail on top of their initial sentence unless they
co-operate with police. Jail terms also apply for riding
in groups and wearing club colours in hotels.
“These new laws are an incursion of the
right to be free from arbitary detention, the right to a
fair trial before an independent judge and the right to
free speech and association,” Dr Appleby says.
“Mandatory sentences, which are
historically unusual, severely limit a judge’s ability
to consider the full circumstances of a case in
determining an appropriate penalty.”
Since the “war on bikies” commenced in
the 2000s, various anti-bikie measures have been put in
place and the High Court has found a significant
While controversial, Dr Appleby says many
aspects of the new Queensland law are likely to be
“The legislation – and the way in which
it was pushed through Queensland’s parliament –
highlights the inherent dangers in Australia’s
constitutional system, which relies heavily on
democratic institutions for the protection of individual
rights,” Dr Appleby says.
“The laws in Queensland were introduced
and passed in the course of parliament’s three sitting
days last week. Each bill was declared urgent and no
outside consultation or committee scrutiny occurred.
“This is certainly not the first time
that we have seen this type of fearmongering and abuse
of parliamentary processes to pass extreme measures that
erode fundamental liberties of the few in the name of
protection of the many. This reflects a failure of the
community as well as a failure of the parliament and,
ultimately, the Constitution.
“Too often we have seen the opportunistic
passage of legislation that targets perceived threats
without a full analysis of the actual danger posed and
whether the measures will address that danger
Dr Appleby presented a paper entitled
State Law and Order Regimes and the High Court: Past,
Present and Future today before the Australian
Association of Constitutional Law (NSW Chapter).