gang members commit less than 1 per cent of reported crimes in the
ACT, a new report claims.
Criminologist and former cop Dr Terry Goldsworthy's review of
ACT Police's powers to target bikies said there had been no
dramatic increase in the number of members in the ACT.
But the opposition has maintained their calls for
anti-consorting laws, saying ACT had become a safe haven for
Mr Goldsworthy, who is an outspoken critic of
anti-consorting laws, said bikie crime perceptions did not
always correspond to reality. His report, tabled in the ACT
Legislative Assembly on Thursday, noted there had been no
recorded murders by bikie members in the last 19 years.
The report said ACT was the only state or territory without some
variation of anti-consorting or anti-association laws.
"When faced with moral panic, it is often the knee jerk reaction
of governments to enact draconian laws that have little real
practical value," it read.
The report said while the number of gangs in the ACT had
increased from two to four between 2015 and 2019, the number of
members and associates had decreased from 64 to 51. It said
members committed less than one per cent of crime in the ACT,
and serious offences represented only 16.5 per cent of overall
charges on bikie members.
The gang members were minor contributors to the number of
overall drug and violence offences.
"The media's preoccupation and perceptions do not match the
reality of the [out law motorcycle gangs'] criminality in the
ACT," the report read.
The review made 15 recommendations, including that the ACT does
not introduce a consorting style offence. The report came as
Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay introduced a bill into the
Assembly that would give police the power to confiscate money or
assets when a person can't show they have been legally obtained.
The ACT is the only jurisdiction without an unexplained wealth
The scheme was a recommendation of the Goldsworthy review.
Mr Ramsay said the report showed the steps the government was
taking to clamp down on bikies were working.
"We don't underestimate and we don't downplay the impact that
outlaw motorcycle gangs ... can have in the ACT," Mr Ramsay
said. But he said the report placed the risk in perspective, and
it showed the ACT was a safe community.
Shadow Attorney-General Jeremy Hanson said bikies saw the ACT as
a safe haven.
"The facts are quite simple, since other states introduced bikie
consorting laws they've seen a decline in bikie gang numbers and
activity," he said.
"We've seen a fourfold increase in bikie gangs and an explosion
of violence in the suburbs. We are committed to community
safety, no law is a silver bullet but we want to give our police
all the tools necessary so they can go out and deal with the