Premier Jay is walking while bikie criminals run amok
I am not sure who the South Australian Police Commissioner is. Is it still Mal Hyde? Or did we get a new one? You wouldn’t know. Whoever he is, he is, as they say, a quiet man who keeps to himself.
In fairness, it’s not as if the South Australian Police Service has been doing nothing. Earlier this year, via its Twitter site, SAPOL courageously announced that it was launching an all-out blitz on one of the gravest threats to civil society - jaywalking. In a joint venture with Channel Nine, cameras were mounted at some of Adelaide’s most lethal intersections, places such as Beehive Corner which are a magnet for these dangerous criminals, with the offenders being nabbed and shamed as they went about their despicable enterprise.
We can all sleep safer as a result.
We can also sleep safer as a result of the repeated reassurances from the SA Police that the recent bout of drive-bys and shoot-outs by chaps who share a common love of motorcycles and leather jackets with skulls on them is in no way a “bikie war”. Heavens above, who would describe it in such inflammatory language? At best it’s a minor stink, maybe a kerfuffle, but it’s certainly not a war.
It’s important that we keep these things in perspective. The take-out message for that non-criminal section of the South Australian community is simple. Just keep your head down next time you’re having a focaccia. And should you or a friend happen to be grazed by a stray bullet, just remember it’s not a war. And while you’re at it, don’t cross the road unless the little green man is flashing.
A couple of years ago in Sydney there was a memorable moment of biff at the Sydney Airport, in broad daylight on a Sunday afternoon, where more than a dozen bikies kicked and punched another bikie to death in front of travelling families and tourists. It happened right next to the baggage carousel in the arrivals lounge. It was one of those moments which, as a South Australian then resident in the Harbour City, made you yearn for the peace and order of little old Adelaide.
The events here over the past three months have shown this kind of thinking for the sentimental nonsense it is.
An 11-year-old boy, the son of a bikie gang member, gets shot twice in the leg in a suburban home. Bricks are thrown from the house, visitors arrive wearing horror masks from the Royal Show.
Just another quiet day in suburbia.
In charming North Adelaide, bullets fly around a café popular with young families and dating couples, the poor owner saying the next day that it’s business as usual and they are trying as best they can to keep operating normally.
It’s not just that Adelaide is starting to resemble Sydney for the level and nature of unchallenged violence in very public places. It’s worse than that. The influence of bikie culture in Adelaide is so overt that people will talk about certain pubs being bikie pubs, certain lawyers being bikie lawyers, and the bikies can even get a soft run on the Sunday night news for handing out a few teddy bears to kiddies with terminal diseases.
The bikies have gone mainstream. And it’s a credit to them, as they are more effective than the courts, more organised than the Parliament, and driven by a clearer set of work priorities than the police, who are too busy sitting behind speed cameras or poncing about at pedestrian crossings to have a proper crack at little events such as raging gunfire in a North Adelaide café.
The laws which former Premier Mike Rann trumpeted prematurely as the nail in the coffin for criminal biker gangs have been struck down by the High Court. Lawyers acting for bikies argued that the laws represented a grave threat to our civil liberties, and that if the police could break up a gathering of people purely because they happened to be in the same biker gang, there was nothing stopping them doing the same to the local Rotary Club.
Of course it’s unlikely that the local Rotary Club has an amphetamine laboratory out the back, or settles its differences over, say, the selection of exchange students by blowing off each other’s kneecaps.
The pedants at the High Court – not all of them, thank you dissenting judge Justice Dyson Heydon – swallowed much of this claptrap and knocked down Rann’s laws, on the specific grounds that they did not give enough discretion to the State Magistrates Court in how the law would be applied.
Whatever. All that matters is that we as a community are left with the kind of mayhem we have witnessed over the past three months. The courts have done nothing. The cops say it’s not a war. The new premier hasn’t grabbed hold of the issue. Perhaps he could start by picking up the phone to Commissioner Whatshisname. He might even suggest to him that the full resources of the crack jaywalking unit be relocated to something more important, such as making sure no-one gets shot in the head while they’re having a flat white.
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