Chris McCormack

Newman urges bikie laws to go wider to end ice scourge

UPDATE: OTHER Australian states should now consider implementing Queensland's tough anti-bikie laws, Premier Campbell Newman says.

Mr Newman, who labelled the High Court decision important and historic, said if everyone worked together with the same "effective" laws, then "Australia will be a safer place".

"I do indeed respectfully suggest to other states and jurisdictions that they have a good look at these now," he said.

"Crime doesn't stop at the borders of Queensland and it would be good to see everyone work together to make Australia a far safer place to combat these criminal gangs who are at the centre of so much criminal activity articularly involved in the production of methamphetamines, ice, which is a scourge in our community and they are also involved in the distribution of those drugs."

Mr Newman acknowledged not every element of the laws had been tested in the High Court challenge and his government was examining the decision.

"What has been upheld, for example, is the anti-association elements and that's a very important part of the decision," he said.

"People have rights under the law to explore other alternatives, and that's always been the case, but the anti-association elements have been upheld."

But he still claimed the court's decision to throw the challenge out as "a win for the people of Queensland who've been able to reclaim their streets".

"It's a win for families who've got every right to be able to have a safe night out in a restaurant precinct without fear of violence," he said.

"It is a win for shop keepers and shop owners who don't need in the course of their business to be intimidated or harassed by criminal gangs and it's also a win for parents who are worried about their kids being pushed to take illegal drugs, particularly ice.

"These are strong laws they are fair laws and they've just been upheld by the highest court in the land.

"I don't think other jurisdictions need too much encouragement - they can see what's happened here, they can see crime in Qld has dropped - depending on the location, depending on the category of crime, anywhere between 10-30%."

Sunshine Coast Independent MP Peter Wellington, who has campaigned strongly against the bikie laws, said Queensland had "officially became a Police State where you can be thrown in jail for having a beer in a pub if Police 'think' you might be associating with a member or former member of an outlawed motor cycle club".

"And forget about innocent until proven guilty now, you are deemed guilty before even being charged.

"Never before has there been a need for a Bill of Rights to protect the rights and liberties of Queenslanders; that will ensure everyone is equal before the law, that will allow freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of peaceful assembly and reintroduce the rule that you are deemed innocent until proven guilty,'' Mr Wellington said in a post on his Facebook site.


Mr Newman said the bikie laws might come up at the next COAG meeting but the federation reforms were a more likely topic.

He had to flee to the airport to meet further dignitaries.

The Mexican President and Indian Prime Minister have just touched down in Brisbane.

High Court throws out challenge to Qld bikie laws

THE Australian High Court has struck out a challenge to Queensland's controversial bikie laws.

The bikies' bid fell at the first hurdle when the court decided Hell's Angel Stefan Kuczborski did not have any legal standing to mount the challenge.

"Today the High Court, by majority, rejected a challenge to the validity of certain provisions of the Criminal Code (Q) and the Liquor Act 1992 (Q),'' a summary of the ruling said.

"The Court also held that the plaintiff lacked standing to challenge the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act 2013 (Q) ("the VLAD Act") and certain other provisions of the Criminal Code and the Bail Act 1980 (Q) introduced by the Criminal Law (Criminal Organisations Disruption) Amendment Act 2013 (Q) ("the Disruption Act").

"The plaintiff had not been charged with, and did not suggest that he had committed, or intended to commit, any offence. 

"Accordingly, no restriction was imposed upon the plaintiff's freedom of action by the VLAD Act, the new penalty provisions of the Criminal Code or the new provisions of the Bail Act.

"The High Court unanimously held that the plaintiff lacked standing to seek a declaration that those laws were invalid.

"The plaintiff argued that the laws creating the new offences in the Criminal Code and the Liquor Act impermissibly enlisted the court to give effect to the Parliament's or the executive's intention to destroy criminal organisations.

"This argument was not accepted.

"The majority of the Court held that these laws did not require the courts to proceed otherwise than in accordance with the processes which are understood to characterise the exercise of judicial power.''

The ruling does not close the door on any future High Court challenges.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie is expected to comment later this morning.

The VLAD laws were introduced last year in the aftermath of the highly-publicised bikie brawl on the Gold Coast.

Under the laws it is illegal for members or associates of declared criminal organisations to gather in groups of two or more.

A Sunshine Coast group, dubbed the Yandina Five, hit headlines earlier this year after they were caught drinking beers together at a hinterland pub and subsequently arrested and charged under the new laws.

The group's supporters embarked on an intense media campaign claiming the five men Steven Smith, Scott Conley, Joshua Carew, Dan Whale and Paul Lansdowne were innocent people simply caught up in the government's agenda.

But three of the five had strong links to the Rebels and are facing serious, unrelated, drug trafficking, production and weapons charges.

United Motorcycle Council of Queensland spokesman Mick Kosenko said on Thursday the laws were unconstitutional and amount to an attack on the judiciary, freedom of speech and the right to associate.

"I can see the overarching picture as to why the laws were introduced, but do not tarnish everyone with the same brush," he said.

"Why should I be persecuted just because I ride a motorcycle.

"There are worse people out there than me."

The Attorneys-Generals from five states and territories have indicated they will adopt the laws if they are deemed to be valid.



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