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Rebels motorcycle gang protest treatment by government, media

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The Rebels Motorcycle Club protest at Federation square.

The Rebels Motorcycle Club protest at Federation square. Photo: Jesse Marlow

Members of the Rebels Motorcycle Club descended on Federation Square in Melbourne's CBD on Saturday night to protest what they say is unfair treatment by the federal government and media.

Dean Martin, whose brother Shane Martin returned to his New Zealand homeland after losing his residency status, said club members feared anyone could be next.

Shane Martin, the father of Richmond Tigers player Dustin Martin, left voluntarily after Immigration Minister Peter Dutton revoked his residency status.

The Rebels Motorcycle Club make their feelings known.

The Rebels Motorcycle Club make their feelings known. Photo: Jesse Marlow

Mr Dutton said he had failed to meet the minimum character requirements to remain in Australia.


Dean Martin said Mr Dutton was victimising all club members.

"He's saying we're all criminals, drug dealers.

"None of us here have got criminal records and he's slandering us all the time.

"He's accusing us; he's chopping us off at the head, he reckons."

"Peter Dutton's pulling families apart.

"He's taken my brother away."

The Rebels, founded more than 40 years ago by Malta-born Alex Vella, is Australia's biggest bikie gang with more than 1100 full members.

In 2014, Mr Vella lost his Australian residency status on character grounds.

The "501 cancellation" means a person's visa can be cancelled if they fail section 501 of the Migration Act 1958 based on character. 

Mr Martin said his brother was not a criminal and had been unfairly targeted.

"He's got his own business... He's got three kids... One's just come back from Afghanistan, fighting for the Australian Army. What's his thanks from the Australian Government? Deport his dad under bad character grounds.

"This is why we're here. We're standing up for our human rights.

"My kids are Indigenous - their mum's Aboriginal - and it's like Stolen Generations all over again."

Mr Martin acknowledged that some Rebels members have been in trouble with the law.

"Of course, but so have the politicians." 

Fellow Rebels member, 'Stu-e', said the club represented a cross section of society.

"If someone does the wrong thing in our club, we throw them out," he said.

"Under this amended Immigration Act, the Minister has all power - he's judge, jury and executioner. He can hold anyone indefinitely without charge. He just says, 'not of good character'.

"We've got some problems with his character."

The Rebels plan to return to Federation Square on Sunday. They are also planning to protest at the Herald and Weekly Times building.