Outlaw colours will stay legal, for now
April 29, 2012
Campbell Newman speaks on the measures his government is planning to curb the ongoing bikie violence. Photo: Harrison Saragossi
THE Premier, Campbell Newman, has ruled out legislating against members of outlaw motorcycle gangs wearing their colours - for the time being.
''This is Australia,'' he said. ''We don't go after people because of the clothes they wear, the tattoo they may have, the way their wear their hair.
''We go after the people who break the law, who are a threat to society.''
Mr Newman called the escalating bikie violence in Queensland's south-east ''concerning'' and said the government was working on a response.
''We will have the toughest gun laws in Australia to deal with some of these activities we have seen in recent times,'' he said.
The Police Minister, Jack Dempsey, who has handled the portfolio for just two weeks after the resignation of David Gibson from the role for alleged driving offences, said Queenslanders could expect the announcement of the new laws ''within days''.
''As we speak now, laws are being formulated and will be presented within the next couple of days in relation to having some of the toughest illegal firearm laws across all the states,'' he said.
''The people of Queensland need to be reassured that Queensland is a safe place, illegal activities will not be condoned and the police service have the resources and will be using the full force of those resources against people who commit these types of illegal activities.''
Mr Dempsey said the government was also examining ways of extending mandatory sentencing times to better bring the courts' punishments ''in line with the community expectations''.
While he said his aim was to ensure ''that all these illegal groups are not feeling comfortable in their beds and their homes'', Mr Dempsey said the banning of gang colours was not on the agenda.
''It doesn't matter what you wear, it is what you do in those colours,'' he said. ''In relation to illegal firearms, in relation to illegal gangs and organisations in Queensland and their illegal activities, that is not [condoned], that is illegal.''
Meanwhile, in Sydney's Kings Cross there was a beefed-up police presence on the lookout for bikies defying the new ban on wearing gang colours and emblems.
The ban by the NSW Premier, Barry O'Farrell, which includes bikies running tattoo parlours, was part of a wider response to tit-for-tat shootings that last week included an attack on a house rented by former Nomads president Sam Ibrahim.
Barrister Wayne Baffsky said another recent amendment, the Criminal Organisations Control legislation, was laughable and dangerous. Mr Baffsky, who acts for the United Motorcycle Council, a group representing the major outlaw clubs, predicts a second High Court challenge that will cost NSW millions of dollars while wasting police and court time.