Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie Tom Huntley

'Time to put victims, not bikies and sex offenders, first'

QUEENSLAND'S most controversial law maker has vowed to continue his blitz on bikies and sexual offenders, saying it is time to put victims and families, not criminals first.

In an opinion piece released to APN today, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said the LNP was honouring its election commitment to make Queensland the safest place to raise a family.

"We wanted to rebalance the scales of justice in favour of the victim and not the offender,'' Mr Bleijie writes.

"That is why, over the last 18 months, we have taken such a strong stance on law and order.

"We have implemented Australia's toughest mandatory prison terms for repeat sex offenders, much stronger penalties for drug trafficking, gun offences and evading police.

"We are also on the cusp of implementing major reforms of our youth justice system.

"This week we continued to keep our promise to Queenslanders with more reforms targeting the worst of the worst sex offenders and criminal motorcycle gangs.

"In light of the past few weeks, it is worth making a comparison. In 2009, the Bligh government trumpeted its weapon against criminal motorcycle gangs - the Criminal Organisation Act 2009.

"It was meant to allow police, through the Supreme Court, to declare gangs criminal organisations and open the way to shut them down. Four years later, not a single declaration has been made.

"Fast forward to 2013 and scores of brazen Bandidos allegedly terrorised diners in Broadbeach on the Gold Coast, then surrounded the Southport watch house when their fellow bikies were arrested.

"In our short time in government, we have already made significant steps in tackling organised crime by implementing increased firearms penalties and the toughest unexplained wealth laws in the country; but Broadbeach was a tipping point. Enough was enough. Queenslanders demanded swift action.

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"The Newman Government this week passed, with bipartisan support, a range of reforms that will hit criminal gangs head on and from within.

"We deliberately and unapologetically made the legislation and penalties so severe to send a message to the bikie gangs that their time in Queensland was over.

"Days after the laws were passed in Parliament, there are already reports bikie gang members are handing in their colours and closing their clubhouses.

"I hope they are legitimately giving up their twisted brand of intimidation and violence but, if they are not, we have given police, the Crime and Misconduct Commission and the judiciary the tools to go after them. We will review these laws in three years to make sure they are working.

"As first law officer of the State, I regularly consult with the Queensland Law Society, members of the Queensland Bar Association and the heads of the judiciary.

"I also consult regularly with the community and especially victims of crime.

"This week, we passed amendments that would allow the Governor to detain the worst of the worst sex offenders indefinitely. It will be another layer of protection for victims and the community.

"Claims this breaches the separation of powers are unfounded. We implemented it with reluctance and only in the interests of community safety. This will be legislation of last resort with the pursuit of every other possible legal avenue first.

"It would have been easier to hide behind the "don't blame us, blame the judiciary" mantra of previous governments but politicians are the lawmakers and representatives of their community and when action is required, we must act.

"I will never criticise a judge or magistrate's decision, but I am entitled to respectfully disagree with them and challenge them. If the laws don't meet community expectations, it is up to us to ensure they do in the future.

"Many of our reforms have empowered the judiciary, ridding it of restrictions that forced its members to put the offender's rights ahead of the victim's.

"The Newman Government is conscious and respectful of the invisible line that separates the executive from the judiciary. Judges also have the ability to review government decisions and we respect that."

"Queenslanders can be assured this Government will act when change is needed and will always have their safety on our minds.''



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