No apology for tough new bikie laws
QUEENSLAND'S justice leader has told the 3202 people who signed a petition labelling new anti-bikie laws "discriminatory and unjustified" that he would not apologise for his government's actions.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said the law reforms, which have drawn much criticism in relation to civil rights, aimed to rid Queensland of criminal groups which threatened the welfare of residents.
Rockhampton (Frenchville) resident Juan Yliche's petition was tabled in parliament on February 11 this year.
"Queensland citizens draws to the attention of the House to changes made to the legislation in regards to the VLAD laws which are discriminatory and unjustified, segregating and infringing on the rights of every Queensland individual who chooses to ride a motorcycle, associate with or is a member of any motorcycle club," it read.
"Your petitioners, therefore, request the House to abolish the new VLAD laws, reinstate former criminal laws and return the rights of Queensland citizens without prejudice or discrimination. That criminal offenders will be charged according to the crime committed, not by association or affiliation."
The Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment laws include significant mandatory penalties for members of organised crime groups convicted of serious offences and tougher bail laws.
Criminal gang members are now banned from gathering in groups, attending specific locations, wearing club colours at licensed venues and owning, operating or working in various occupational industries.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, who responded to the petition on Friday, said the legislation must be reviewed after three years and the results tabled in parliament.
"Such criminal groups are responsible for serious acts of violence and organised crime such as drug production and distribution and the extortion of legitimate business owners," he said.
"This government makes no apologies with regard to these tough new laws and is satisfied that the safeguards built into the legislation are adequate.
"A person charged under the new laws has the opportunity to prove that the organisation to which they are connected is not an organisation that engages in criminal activity.
"Any person who can prove this has a complete defence to the criminal offences created or aggravated by this legislation."