Opposition to change bikie anti-consorting bill due to human rights concerns
The ACT Human Rights Commission is concerned an Opposition bill to create anti-consorting laws to tackle outlaw bikies in Canberra has 'inadequate safeguards' and could lead to human rights breaches.
While the government is working on anti-fortification laws in an effort to target outlaw motorcycle gangs, shadow Attorney-General Jeremy Hanson has instead released a bill modelled on interstate anti-consorting laws.
But advice to Mr Hanson's office from the ACT Human Rights Commission shows it is concerned a raft of measures should not be included without major changes, as they could "result in a disproportionate and/or unjustified interferences with human rights".
The commission has warned several proposals could breach human rights, including: the definition of a serious offence, the criteria and duration of control orders, interim control orders, limited appeal rights and prohibitions on working in 'deemed industries'.
Mr Hanson said he would be making all of the commission's recommended changes to the legislation and was meeting with the parliamentary counsel's office on Wednesday to discuss those amendments.
The commission has urged the Opposition to define a 'serious offence' in line with the NSW confiscation of assets laws, which include a list of specific offences linked to organised criminal activity, rather than simply define it as all offences with a five year prison term or longer.
It also voiced concerns that there was no requirement to prove a person under a control order needed to be involved in criminal activities by a listed organisation.
"Of particular concern is the power to impose a control order on members, including former members, of a declared organisation without any finding of previous or current criminal activity by that member," the commission wrote.
It also urged the bill to better delineate treatment of minors under control orders, as the current bill does not differentiate between adult members of an OMCG or those under 18, as well as calling for an explicit time limit on control orders, as such orders could remain in place 'indefinitely' under the bill.
The commission also voiced concerns about the "inherent dangers and unfairness associated with closed hearings and the use of secret criminal intelligence", where the subject of a hearing does not get a chance to refute or test allegations made against them.
Mr Hanson said he believed the commission's recommendations had strengthened the bill and he wanted to make sure the proposals struck the right balance between "an effective law and order response to the OMCG problem and address human rights concerns".