Bikies accused Government of backflip

REBELS and Hells Angels' members have accused Labor of a backflip following the release of a report by the Palaszczuk government-commissioned Taskforce on Organised Crime Legislation.

The taskforce released its 400-page-long review of the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act 2013 with 60 recommendations yesterday.

Cabinet has not been through all of the recommendations, but has already resolved that outlaw motorcycle gangs' clubhouses would remain closed and that wearing gang colours in licensed premises would still be banned.

Rebels member Mick Kosenko said the general public did not want the laws.

"People didn't want these laws; the general public didn't want these laws," he said.

"We had thousands of people showing up at rallies.

"We had the general public donate almost $600,000 for the High Court challenge. That's how much they didn't want these laws.

"I feel we helped Labor get across the line in the election - they know we helped them."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the new suite of laws recommended would include targeted consorting laws, new organised crime control orders and additional jail sentences with mandatory provision for serious organised crime.

The taskforce's recommendations would focus on drug and sexual offending, child sex offending, fraud and money laundering, serious violence, and attacks on the administration of justice.

The report found outlaw motorcycle gang numbers had reduced by 124 members to 798 members since VLAD laws were introduced.

"The VLAD laws only got two convictions," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"There will be no let-up from police… I want more convictions.

"The current laws will stay in place until new laws are in place."

Chaired by retired Supreme Court judge Alan Wilson, the taskforce included members from the Queensland Police Service, the Queensland Commissioned Officers' Union of Employees, the Queensland Police Union, the Bar Association of Queensland, the Queensland Law Society, the Public Interest Monitor, the Premier and Cabinet, and the Department of Justice and Attorney-General.

Justice Wilson said in the VLAD laws' current form, the offences would be difficult to prosecute successfully and might be constitutionally invalid.

"The taskforce report and that of the Commission of Inquiry make it clear that the existing laws are vulnerable to any legal challenge that is highly likely to come before the High Court," Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said.

"The fight against organised crime should never be a gamble. "At the end of the day, outlaw motorcycle gangs are still there, but they are operating underground."

The taskforce said it had recommended the repeal of the greater part of the VLAD laws and developed laws that preserved some parts of the legislation.

The report stated some parts of VLAD laws were excessive and disproportionate, and the new proposed model was better suited to combating outlaw motorcycle gangs and organised crime.

Fixed mandatory sentences under VLAD laws were considered excessively harsh, with the report stating they were "rendering the regime grossly disproportionate to what is tolerable in a civilised democratic society like Queensland, and they should not be persisted with". The Palaszczuk government will also provide $37.4 million over four years to tackle organised crime.

- ARM NEWSDESK



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