New Qld laws target ALL motorcycle groups

Shock New Queensland laws proposed to outlaw social riding groups.

From todays paper:

On Monday Queensland  Premier Anna Bligh announced her Government would draft laws over the next few months to declare groups involved in criminal activity as “prescribed organisations” and make membership of such groups illegal, along with other “lawbreaking” organisations such as “stunters” “forum riders” and “bike drifters”.

The move was in response to concerns about escalating tensions which erupted into violence last month.  But UQT criminal law expert Associate Professor Cornelius Schlewenhardt said the laws being considered by the Government were “counter-productive and potentially dangerous in their narrowness”, as many of the other mentioned groups were involved in offences that were just as serious in the eyes of the law.

“Some people have said these anti-biker laws target only the slow and the stupid – people who are silly enough to wear badges that say ‘I belong to a criminal group’,” Professor Schlewenhardt said. “The real danger are people who may not even identify themselves as members of outlaw gangs but  were involved in serious organised lawbreaking through the use of internet forums and word of mouth.These “gangs” used organised rides to perform illegal and potentially lethal “stunts” and high speed riding contests.”

Professor Schlewenhardt said that similar laws introduced overseas simply led to groups reforming under different names. “Most of the groups simply changed there names from the outlawed one to a similar, but legally acceptable version. For example, an outlawed “stunter” gang in Southern California simply changed the name of their gang to “OC Stunters” from the outlawed “OC Stuntaz” thwarting law enforcement officers efforts to outlaw them.”

An attempt by the Opposition to introduce similar legislation in October 2007 was voted down by the government but yesterday Premier Bligh said the new draft laws “were much better”. “There are a number of parts of the previous proposition that we believed were unprofitable,” she said.

Professor Schlewenhardt urged the State Government to wait for the conclusion later this year of a federal inquiry into legislative arrangements to outlaw serious and organised anti social motorcycle riding behaviour.

“It would be a silly waste of taxpayers’ money to ignore this research,” he said.

Yesterday Police Minister Neal Roberts moved to reassure the public should have nothing to fear from so-called “recreational” bike riders . He said the laws were necessary to prevent Queensland becoming a safe haven for illegal road riding activities, and their scope would not  be limited. “This is all about identifying criminal activity including speeding, drifting, burnouts and illegal modifications” Mr Roberts said.

“We intend to introduce a range of measures, including the assignment of an extra 40 officers during April to “Operation Tonto” which would be targeting rear mudguard modification offences.

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Its April the 1st today…

Happy April Fools day!

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