motorcycle gang protest treatment by government, media
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
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,
"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
"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
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
The Rebels plan to return to
Federation Square on Sunday. They are also planning to protest at
the Herald and Weekly Times building.