Legislation to restrict members of outlaw
motorcycle gangs from wearing club colours has
passed through Tasmania's Parliament, but has
been amended to reduce the Police Minister's
Tasmania Police had
pushed for the laws to be introduced to help
curb the activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs
in the state — in particular the Black Uhlans,
The Devil's Henchmen, The Outlaws, The Rebels
and The Bandidos.
There were concerns
bikie activity in Tasmania was increasing
because most other states already had such laws.
The Legislative Council
sat late on Wednesday night to debate the
legislation, which ultimately passed on Thursday
by independent Murchison MLC Ruth Forrest were
all accepted by both houses.
They required the
Police Minister and Attorney-General to each
agree to list a group under the laws after
receiving written advice to do so from the
Ms Forrest said the
amendments attempted to address concerns the
legislation would give too much power to the
Police Minister alone to decide which groups
would be listed.
Attorney-General's credibility would be on
the line as much as the Police Minister's,
and I think this is an appropriate
approach," Ms Forrest said.
A decision to list an
organisation under the laws needs to be
advertised in the media, and Parliament's
Subordinate Legislation Committee could also
review a listing and seek to have it disallowed
if it was felt an organisation had been
The Government agreed
to Ms Forrest's amendments and the bill passed
through the House of Assembly for the final time
on Thursday afternoon.
'We still have grave
concerns about this legislation'
Greens leader Cassy
O'Connor said it was better the Police Minister
had to have advice from the Police Commissioner
before he could declare an organisation as
criminal, but the changes were "a bit like
putting lipstick on a pig".
"We still have grave
concerns about this legislation," Ms O'Connor
"The bill is still
a poor piece of legislation that potentially
will have wider consequences and we still
don't support it."
Labor MPs in the Upper
House supported Ms Forrest's amendments but
ultimately voted against the bill.
Labor MLC Josh Willie
said while his party supported the intent of the
legislation, there were concerns about the
provision of natural justice.
"We believe these
decisions are best placed in the court," he
Police Minister Michael
Ferguson said the passage of the legislation was
a win for public safety.
"This legislation will
give police the tools they need to crack down on
outlaw motorcycle gangs, as well as send a clear
message that organised crime gangs are not
welcome in Tasmania," he said.
The Government also
plans to introduce legislation to restrict
members of outlaw motorcycle gangs from
consorting with each other.
Ms Forrest warned
anti-consorting laws might not pass through
Parliament as easily.
"The real challenge is
going to be in the anti-consorting laws … there
will have to be very robust natural justice
provisions in that, and a court process to
ensure there are appropriate rights to appeal,"
Bikie colours ban passes
Tasmania’s Upper House
DAVID KILLICK and
CHANEL KINNIBURGH, Mercury
CONTROVERSIAL laws to ban
bikies from wearing their club colours in public
have been passed by the Legislative Council.
The Government introduced
legislation into Parliament to create the new offence of
wearing, carrying or displaying a prohibited item in a
The laws give the Police
Minister the power to ban the display of the club patch,
insignia or logo or an image, symbol, abbreviation,
acronym or other form of writing.
The laws were debated in the
Upper House until late on Wednesday night before it
adjourned and multiple amendments were made to
strengthen safeguards around organisations whose regalia
could be banned.