november memories / 11

NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)

11th November, 1965 : Hundreds of citizens of Whangarei went on to the offensive tonight and cleared a motorcycle gang out of their town. The Hell’s Angels, as the gang is known, had been making life uncomfortable for everyone. A week ago, however, they ended up on the wrong end of the stick in a bout of fisticuffs with some burly young British seamen. About 300 people engaged the Angels in a brawl that could have ended seriously had the police not then stepped in and ordered the Angels out of town. They mounted their bikes and left, pursued by police, Transport Department cars and about 80 private citizens.

[Queensland today : “CAMPBELL Newman insists he won’t bow to intimidation after being targeted by menacing calls at home and online attacks over Queensland’s new anti-bikie laws. The Premier brushed aside the personal threats as the architect of state laws to ban outlaw motorcycle gangs, former South Australian Labor attorney-general Michael Atkinson, reached across party lines to declare that Queensland had the “magic formula” to put the bikies out of business.

The crackdown has been backed by the federal government and is being closely examined by Victoria and Western Australia, where anti-association laws covering bikies came into force at the weekend. NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell yesterday called for uniform national laws to tackle the gangs.

In South Australia, Mr Atkinson had carriage of the initial 2008 law to declare them illegal organisations and subject their members to control orders. The High Court, however, struck down the original SA control order regime, as well as similar provisions in NSW. …

Mr Atkinson, who received deaths threats over the original SA bikies law, told The Australian that Mr Newman should not be frightened of doing “what you have to do for the public good”.

He predicted other states would follow the Queensland line.

“Queensland finally found the right formulation that would get past the current majority on the High Court and . . . is going to go ahead and introduce anti-bikie laws that are far more oppressive than anything I ever contemplated,” said Mr Atkinson, now Speaker of the South Australian parliament.

“That’s the irony. And so Queensland, having found the magic formula, I imagine the other states will follow.”

The Newman laws impose an additional mandatory jail term of 15 years for rank-and-file gang members and 25 years for office bearers on top of any sentence for a serious criminal offence.

Triggered by a bikies’ brawl on a Gold Coast restaurant strip in September, they also ban members of declared bikie gangs from associating in groups of more than two and from investing in tattoo parlours, a notorious front business for the gangs. …

Mr Atkinson said Australia needed “extraordinary laws to deal with an extraordinary criminal formation that has the ability to pervert the justice system”.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/premier-newman-says-controversial-measures-were-clear-strong-and-will-stay/story-e6frgczx-1226753075671#sthash.tji5vgMo.dpuf]

About Avadoro Worden

Iconoclast
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