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Moves on Outlaw Motor Cycle Gangs

johnboy 31 March 2009 33

Simon Corbell has announced he’s going to prepare a report on the Outlaw Motor Cycle Gang problem that is about to engulf us unless we move fast.

    Development of the report will also the assist the Government on national discussions on this issue, particularly the next meeting of Commonwealth, State and Territory Attorneys General which will be held in Canberra in April this year.

    The Government proposes to provide the report to the Assembly by the last sitting in June.

For the Liberals Jeremy Hanson has been driving the issue with his latest media release:

    “Meanwhile the weak and indecisive Police Minister continues to dither on this issue and offer a timid ‘wait and see’ approach.

    “It is clear that those tasked with enforcing our existing laws require additional powers to disrupt and dismantle serious and organised crime networks and have made unambiguous representations to that effect.

This has been prompted by a letter from the Australian Federal Police Association to Hanson (text below).

The real issue here is not the current OMCG problem (not to be confused in any way with other people who ride motorcycles) but what would happen if we fell out of step with surrounding NSW. Until NSW acts it’s a non-issue, but if we were to be left behind the risks, as voiced by the AFPA would be huge.

Text of the AFPA letter below:

    31 March 2009

    Dear Mr. Hanson,

    The Australian Federal Police Association (AFPA) strongly concurs with a number of points that you made in your press release dated 26 March 2009. The AFPA is seeking a bipartisan approach by the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government and Opposition in relation to the enactment of specific organised crime legislation to address the deficiencies within current ACT legislation.

    The ACT is at risk of becoming an oasis for organised crime syndicates including, but not limited to Outlaw Motor Cycle Gangs (OMCGs), if we fail to follow NSW’s lead to enact tougher & specific organised crime legislation.

    Organised crime poses significant challenges to the criminal justice system. The criminal law and law enforcement are traditionally designed to prosecute and punish isolated crimes committed by individuals. The structure and modus operandi of criminal associations, however, do not fit well into the usual concept of criminal liability. Moreover, it is difficult to hold directors and financiers of organised crime responsible if they have no physical involvement in the execution of the organisations criminal activities. Equally, those who are only loosely associated with a criminal gang and provide support on an adhoc basis often fall outside existing concepts of accessorial liability.1

    Australia is a signatory to the Convention against Transnational Organised Crime. As such, there is an obligation on the ACT Government to have laws that can effectively combat transnational and organized crime. The new laws in South Australia are designed to disrupt and dismantle organized crime groups including OMCGs.

    At the November 2007 Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency Management-Police (MCPEMP) meeting each jurisdiction agreed to ‘review its legislation pertaining to the disruption and dismantling of serious and organized crime and consider enacting complementary and harmonized legislation to achieve this outcome’.2

    The Australian Crime Commission has stated that OMCGs are one of the most visible groups in the organised crime landscape. Further, that they present a significant threat to law and order at a jurisdictional level and have national and international links that will ensure that they feature in any list of high risk crime groups for the foreseeable future.3

    In Australia OMCGs are involved in numerous and continuous criminal activities including the organized theft and re-identification of motor vehicles; illicit drug manufacture; importation of illicit drugs and importation of precursor drugs; distribution of illicit drugs; murder; fraud; vice; extortion, blackmail; assaults and other forms of violence; public disorder; firearms offences; and money laundering. They continue to intimidate and threaten the public safety and profit from crime.4

    Police have seized from premises connected with OMCGs fully automatic assault rifles, thousands of rounds of ammunition, ballistic vests, and a range of prohibited and dangerous weapons (including double edged knives, stun guns disguised as mobile phones and knuckle dusters).5

    The South Australian Government advises that the effect of the South Australian reform program has seen displacement interstate of some members of criminal groups that could be targeted by South Australia’s new laws. Displacement of this kind may continue to occur in order to evade the reach of the legislation.6

    The Australian Crime Commission has also given an opinion that ‘anticipating legislation that will effectively outlaw OMCGs in South Australia, there are indications that some outlaw groups have already relocated to other jurisdictions’.7

    The NSW Government, NSW Police Force and the NSW Crime Commission have stated that a key area for improving the national response to organised crime groups would be closing legislative gaps between jurisdictions which can be exploited by increasingly sophisticated crime syndicates.8

    The AFPA has no doubt that if NSW enacts amendments in line with the South Australian organised crime legislation, that organised crime, including OMCGs, will be further displaced and that the ACT, being located half way between Adelaide and Sydney, will be a safe haven for organized crime without specific organised crime fighting legislation.

    Yours sincerely,

    Jon Hunt-Sharman
    Australian Federal Police Association

    1 Dr Andreas Schloenhardt University of Queensland TC Beirne School of Law 4 April 2008
    2 Letter from the NSW Minister for Police Mr David Campbell MP dated 19 May 2008 pg 1
    3 Australian Crime Commission submission to the Inquiry into the legislative arrangements to outlaw serious and organized crime groups pg 9
    4 Submission of the Government of South Australia to Australian Crime Commission Parliamentary Joint Committee June 2008 pg 16
    5 Ibid pg19
    6 Ibid pg 46
    7 Australian Crime Commission submission to the Inquiry into the legislative arrangements to outlaw serious and organized crime groups pg 10
    8 Letter from the NSW Minister for Police Mr. David Campbell MP dated 19 May 2008 pg 2

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33 Responses to Moves on Outlaw Motor Cycle Gangs
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monomania monomania 9:10 am 19 Apr 09

That’s Jim Jones’ question.

monomania monomania 9:07 am 19 Apr 09

Jim Jones said :

If you weren’t referring to guns (which, given your liberal discussion of the subject, it was entirely reasonable to assume), then what were you referring to?

What are these ‘tools necessary to defend themselves’?

johnboy said :

Gun control is offtopic people, let’s move back to the subject.

Maybe so, but why can’t we first get an answer to Jim J,s question. Force Shields?

Danman Danman 8:44 am 19 Apr 09

Bikies are as old as the 1950’s, enforcing the law against them is just as old…Nothing new to see – media trends buck and weave.

willo willo 11:57 pm 18 Apr 09

what’s the latest on this? any of the laws been changed as yet?

johnboy johnboy 11:16 am 01 Apr 09

Gun control is offtopic people, let’s move back to the subject.

Jim Jones Jim Jones 11:07 am 01 Apr 09

If you weren’t referring to guns (which, given your liberal discussion of the subject, it was entirely reasonable to assume), then what were you referring to?

What are these ‘tools necessary to defend themselves’?

I agree with you on most of your points, but – unless you’re advocating some sort of arms race between bikies and the general populace – I really do fail to see what relevance this has.

jakez jakez 11:00 am 01 Apr 09

Well I at least think the ACT should wait until there is some evidence that there has been a mass migration to the ACT, that it is causing an increase in violent crime, and that the AFP can’t handle it.

Jim Jones Jim Jones 10:54 am 01 Apr 09

jakez said :

Jim Jones said :

“give the people the tools necessary to defend themselves”

Yeah – none of this would have happened if everyone had lots of guns.

I never said anything about guns however I think that is a really lame rebuttal. If you want to go there at least do it with dignity.

Do it with dignity? Why should I start now?

jakez jakez 10:52 am 01 Apr 09

Jim Jones said :

“give the people the tools necessary to defend themselves”

Yeah – none of this would have happened if everyone had lots of guns.

I never said anything about guns however I think that is a really lame rebuttal. If you want to go there at least do it with dignity.

peterh peterh 10:31 am 01 Apr 09

Jim Jones said :

“give the people the tools necessary to defend themselves”

Yeah – none of this would have happened if everyone had lots of guns.

once, long ago, we had access to lots of guns. now we don’t. my day to day life has been changed, but I can defend myself if and when i need to. just because I don’t have a gun doesn’t mean that I am weak or unable to survive. if you want the right to bear arms, go to the US.

or rip off your sleeves.

johnboy johnboy 10:25 am 01 Apr 09

caf said :

I dunno – economics applies as much to criminal enterprises as any other, and the ACT market just isn’t big enough to sustain all the nation’s organised crime. They’d have to venture across the border to carry on business, so they’d still be under the heel of NSW law.

Agreed, but if they can do all their meeting and planning here out in the open before heading out into NSW un-associated that may well seem attractive.

It’d be the headquarters functions more than the operations.

But having moved HQ here I doubt they’d be content to watch the Rebels work.

caf caf 10:23 am 01 Apr 09

I dunno – economics applies as much to criminal enterprises as any other, and the ACT market just isn’t big enough to sustain all the nation’s organised crime. They’d have to venture across the border to carry on business, so they’d still be under the heel of NSW law.

Jim Jones Jim Jones 10:06 am 01 Apr 09

“give the people the tools necessary to defend themselves”

Yeah – none of this would have happened if everyone had lots of guns.

johnboy johnboy 10:04 am 01 Apr 09

Yes Jake, and if I were King that’s what I’d do.

But until I can get an end to drug prohibition through I think being out of step to NSW on this is really stupid.

jakez jakez 9:36 am 01 Apr 09

ant said :

And I used to enjoy your posts, jakez. I guess we’ll just have to agree to having different views on this topic.

…oh goddam it. Now I feel really bad. Stupid ego and angry disposition.

johnboy said :

The issue is that while I oppose these laws anywhere in Australia sometimes you have to be realistic.

Transforming Canberra into a pirate city astride the Hume Highway is too high a price to pay.

You think when the leading trans-national crime gangs are ensconced here that we’ll have a superior civil liberties regime?

We won’t dare walk down the street let alone consort freely.

Wow I never thought I would say this but I think you watch too many movies.

Jake’s solution to the bikie gang problem:

1, legalise drugs, removing the black market and violence involved
2, Legalise gambling, removing the black market and violence involved
3, prosecute violent crimes if and when they occur
4, give the people the tools necessary to defend themselves

I’m still working on a solution to the current gang problem we have in the ACT. The gang where the upper leadership wear suits and have an ugly gold pillared building in Civic, while the enforcers wear blue.

Danman Danman 9:08 am 01 Apr 09

I say ban people with more than one leg from associating with eachother, because most OMCG members have 2 legs.

Thats how absurd these laws are…

Ban a mate from having a beer with his other mate.
What if I have a mate who is a closet OMCG member, does that mean I am a criminal by association if I have a beer with them.

They are called outlaws for a reason. Top law enforcement agencies have coercive powers to interview criminals, and OMCG members stand b ytheir code of silence with steely determination, preferring goal instead of “ratting” – these laws will make no difference… It needs to be attacked on a per case basis. Maybe tighten up current laws, but last time I looked, having a beer and a chat with 2 mates was still a liberty that still existed in this free country we call home.

Jim Jones Jim Jones 9:05 am 01 Apr 09

I also suspect that it’s driven more by a concern to be seen to be doing something, rather than a legitimate attempt to fix the problem.

Jim Jones Jim Jones 9:04 am 01 Apr 09

I’m with Felix and Jakez – it’s stupid kneejerk policy stuff that would have little to no impact on the actual problem, while creating a gaping hole in our civil rights that could be all too easily misused.

Thumper Thumper 8:26 am 01 Apr 09

I’d be worried that legislation like this could be subject to widespread abuse. By all means charge people with crimes they commit, but don’t charge them with crimes that someone thinks they may commit sometime in the future.

However, if NSW go ahead then we have no choice but to follow.

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