Bikies set to have firearms confiscated
NATASHA BODDY, LUKE ELIOT, The West Australian May 3, 2012, 5:22 pm
Members of outlaw motorcycle gangs and criminal organisations banned from possessing guns under the Government’s anti-association laws are likely to have their weapons permanently confiscated and their firearms licences cancelled.
The tighter controls around weapons are set to be included in the Criminal Organisation Control Bill under a series of amendments to be put forward by the Government as the Upper House debates it in detail.
Attorney General Christian Porter said the Government amendments related to various minor and technical matters as well as tighter provisions about weapons confiscation for people the subject of control orders under the laws.
Under the legislation, the Police Commissioner will be able to apply for a control order against anyone who is a member of a declared criminal organisation or a person who regularly engages in criminal behaviour.
As part of the control order, they would not be able to associate with another person who is also the subject of a control order and they will be banned from receiving or providing funds to a declared criminal organisation and prevented from participating in any of the organisation’s events open to the public.
They will also be banned from recruiting new members and they could also face tougher conditions, including being banned from possessing firearms and working in gambling, bettering, motor vehicle or security industries.
The legislation is now on the brink of being passed by State Parliament and has entered its final stage of Parliamentary scrutiny after the Upper House started debating the Bill in detail this week.
The Bill will be required to return to the Lower House before the laws are passed by State Parliament, which is expected to still be some weeks away.
The United Motorcycle Council of WA today joined forces with unions, Aboriginal groups, the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee, Forest Rescue and civil libertarians to protest against the legislation at Parliament.
Around 30 people attended today’s rally at Parliament House, speaking out against the proposed laws and voicing concerns that minority groups, Aboriginal people, union members and even children could be unfairly targeted by the laws.
UMCWA spokesman Peter Godfree said motorcycle clubs were being used a scapegoat for the “totalitarian” and wide-reaching legislation.
“In the whole 160 pages of the Bill, the word bikie is not mentioned once which means there is a very broad range of our community that it can be used against,” he said.
“Anyone who has a criminal record could have a control order put on them and a law which takes away any basic human right, like this does, is not the right answer to a law and order problem.”
Mr Porter has repeatedly maintained the laws will be used only against outlaw motorcycle gangs and other declared criminal organisations and said there was “no conceivable way” they would affect children or organisations which did not engage in criminal activity.
WA Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said the anti-association laws were complex and police would be careful about how they applied them.
“There will be a lot of work done internally before we make our first foray into that new legislation,” he said.
“This is one tool in the whole range of tools we have to use. I don’t think the tensions will go away because of anti-association laws but it’s another tool in the toolbox for us to use in those circumstances.”