No. Anyone who would suggest so is a dill. And possibly also a lawyer.

Police investigate the Robina shooting, which was all a bit of a zany mix-up really which shouldn't be blamed on bikies. Photo: Jono Searle

Not since the freedom rides through America’s Deep South in the 1960s has there been such an emotionally-charged call for basic freedoms. Except in this case the call for freedom has been mounted by organisations which have links to drug crime, gun-running, extortion, assault, murder, not to mention a steadfast refusal to cooperate with the police, even if it’s one of their own members who has been bashed or maimed.

Organisations which, when it comes to civil liberties, are more likely to be depriving others of their liberties – such as the liberty to board a plane with your kids without seeing someone beaten to death with a bollard at the airport in broad daylight, or to spend the afternoon shopping at a Gold Coast mall without being shot in the crossfire of a bikie war.

Australia’s motorcycle gangs get quite antsy at being labelled “outlaws”. Maybe they’re not outlaws. Maybe they’ve just been unlucky in a public relations sense, where these benign organisations have accidentally attracted a few “bad eggs” who have given the rest of them a bad name.

If that’s the case it’s been quite a long run of bad luck, as the frequency with which houses have been shot up, passersby exposed to or victims of violence, has been totally off the scale this past year.

Against this backdrop governments have been under pressure to act, and to take drastic action such as that by Barry O’Farrell in NSW, where bikies have now been barred from wearing their colours in Kings Cross or identifying badges such as their “1 per cent” logo, signifying the 1 per cent “who don’t fit and don’t care”.

I’d have thought that if you’re serious about not fitting and not caring that you would be more inclined to laugh off the superficial and symbolic actions of a government in banning your colours, than organising some sooky rally saying your precious freedoms have been trampled on.

Still, full marks to the bikies for having a go. The bit which amuses me is the support they enjoy from other people, who are not actually members of these gangs, but in the case of lawyers have a vested commercial interest through the lucrative legal work the gangs generate (through bad luck of course).

It is hilarious that someone can spend four years at law school and still be unable to muster anything beyond a year 10 debating argument that the threat to the bikies’ civil liberties is a threat to us all. It is even more amusing to hear them hailing last Sunday’s little get-together in the Cross as some peace-loving statement which proved once and for all that the biker gangs are not at war.

It was the funniest thing I’d heard since the Bra Boys offered to use their diplomatic skills to defuse the Cronulla riots, presumably because Kofi Annan had something on that day.

Over the past couple of years we have heard from the biker gangs’ lawyers that attempts to prescribe biker gangs as outlaw or criminal organisations could have ramifications for any other community group.

The argument goes that the local Rotary Club could be deemed a criminal gang and prevented from meeting at the local pub every Tuesday to talk about building playgrounds or sending kiddies overseas on exchange scholarships. Now we are hearing that if the bikers are banned from wearing their colours, there is nothing to stop the state from banning footy fans from wearing their scarves or the scouts from wearing their badges.

The thing about barracking for the Roosters or the Swans or having your knot-tying and fire skills badges from the Scouts is you are not usually also in the business of running meth labs or jerking out people’s eyeballs. As such you should be safe from the scrutiny of the law.

The refrain of the bikies and their lawyer mates is reminiscent of Basil Fawlty’s crazed line in Fawlty Towers – this is exactly how Nazi Germany started. It is not.

The only fascists around here are the ones who don’t think random violence which harms innocent people is a problem, and who refuse to cooperate with the police as they try in vain to restore order.

Most commented


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    • acotrel says:

      06:59am | 08/05/12

      I am the secretary of a Motorcycling Victoria affiliated club and I don’t like patch gangs. They are still usually all motorcyclists, and love their machines and the people involved with them.  However what I react badly to, is the organised crime that some patch gang members get into.  If the laws we already have to deal with crminals are inadequate, they should be changed.  Special laws for ‘bikies’ only give patch gangs notoriety, and they thrive on that.  As far as ‘colours’ are concerned, what would you change them for?  The only equivalent I can think of would be to have each patch gang member carry a big identifying sign. Other gangsters are not so easily identified.
      If people like the law and order freaks in the Liberal Party believe they can crush the patch gangs, they should think again.  In trying to do that, they stand to inadvertantly reinforce the bad aspects of the gangs.

    • Bev says:

      07:16am | 08/05/12

      If people like the law and order freaks in the Liberal Party believe they can crush the patch gangs, they should think again.

      The first government to propose and attempt to bring in these type laws was the South Australian LABOR government.  Other governments have taken up their lead.

    • gobsmack says:

      07:01am | 08/05/12

      What a silly article.
      News flash Mr Penberthy - lawyers paid to represent bikie clubs are going to present arguments supporting the interests of those clubs.  “Their lawyers mates” is a cheap jibe.

    • Tombowler says:

      09:47am | 08/05/12

      Pentherby clearly harbours some distaste for lawyers, I can’t imagine why. He argues that the claims of lawyers about civil liberties are “hilarious” and “year 10 debating”. I suspect he simply fails to understand or is wilfully blind to to the arguments made by non-bikie representing and fairly altruistic members of the profession.

      It is not a question of the Rotary Club or Girl Guides being proscribed next week, it is more an issue of whether, in ten or twenty years with a government characterised less by benevolent incompetence and more malign authoritarianism has a few issues with social unrest and proscribes a couple of trouble makers. Anyone seen what’s happened in the anti-Putin rallies in Russia this week?

      That would be a serious and horrible outcome, one for which the benefit does not outweigh the risk. Pentherby et al talk endlessly of how bikies kill, maim, deal-drugs etc. Under the Criminal Consolidation Act,  all are currently offences carrying substantial maximum terms of gaol. Why then, are they not being arrested and charged for these flagrant breaches?

      The answer, once you cut through all the bullshit about ‘codes of silence’, is that they cannot be proved. If they cannot be proved to the proper standard, then all dickheads like Pentherby are doing is at best speculation but, to my mind, closer to slander.

      Less focus on drink-driving, speeding and other revenue raising enforcement, that has become the primary role of various Police Forces and more long-term, hard-yards investigative work ought to do the trick. I suspect the coppers would be much happier working on cases of genuine importance and being able to exercise their real skill (and most coppers are pretty good at real police work). Criminal Lawyers will still have the work and most don’t really give a shit about whether their client goes to gaol or not as long as they discharge their duty and ensure that it’s fair and the charge is properly tested.

    • Bruno says:

      12:56pm | 08/05/12

      silly? I think the word you’re looking for is courageous. unless you live in the west you do not know what you are talking about. You think they’re cool. They’re not. The 1%ers is just a neat sounding catchphrase. They join gangs because they’re scared individuals. You think its brave to walk around with a gun. Its brave to live a normal life and putting up day to day with all the rubbish. They themselves admit they dont fit in and they dont care hence they dont deserve the same rules that apply to the rest. They’re terrorists. Unless you’ve been in a pub and seen three blokes get knocked unconscious by 15 of them,  and have to be revived by ambulance medics you do not know what you’re talking about. BTW why was this incident not reported roughly 4 weeks ago. The riot squad and ambulances heard about it, why did the media not. Brave is the battler who thought 15 on 2 is a tad unfair and so he copped it too.

    • TracyH says:

      07:12am | 08/05/12

      Is it just the 1% gangs this applies to? If so, whats to stop them removing the 1% reference? What about clubs such as MRA, and the other 99%ers? Whilst I agree with the sentiment, I believe, like most prohibition tactics, there will be ways around it.

    • Lexi says:

      07:22am | 08/05/12

      (a) bikers and bikies are different. I think you mean bikies.
      (b) if bikies are wearing their colours at least the rest of us can see what you might refer to as “trouble coming” and take evasive action if necessary.
      (c) I actually agree with the civil libertarians and lawyers - it IS the thin edge of the wedge. It IS fascist. In Australia we used to have freedom of expression and freedom of association.
      (d) if they are undertaking illegal activities, then arrest them. Surely meth labs and assaults are sufficient grounds for arrest? Taking away their right to wear leather with a badge on it doesn’t change how many people are going to talk to the cops…
      (e) this law is tantamount to saying “the mafia makes drugs and kills people and has a code of silence. And speaks Italian. Ergo, if you aren’t allowed to speak in Italian anymore, there will be no crime relating to the mafia. Speaking Italian is banned!”.

    • Bev says:

      07:57am | 08/05/12

      I have to agree.  This legislation will spread ripples like a stone thrown into a pond.  Any person who rides a bike or any person who associates however harmlessly is in danger of being sucked into the maw.  This is the reason that the high court is to be applauded for striking down these laws.  They are the good guys here in thinking through the broader implications of any such legislation.

    • M says:

      08:45am | 08/05/12

      Agreed. If the police are unable to use existing laws to do their jobs then they are incompetant.

    • Hel says:

      09:58am | 08/05/12

      I agree with everything you just said. The airport bashing didn’t happen because laws are too lax. I’m pretty sure that even back then it was illegal to beat someone to death with a metal pole.

      It’s still bullshit for the bikies to protest on behalf of civil liberties. Bikers are not bad people. Bikies are. You don’t join the Bandidos thinking it’ll all be weekend joy rides and charity runs. They’re criminal organisations. You don’t join the nazis for the camaraderie.

      Yep, Godwin’s. Got it.

    • Bruno says:

      01:03pm | 08/05/12

      point (b) - so if I’m at the park with my family and they turn up for whatever reason I am required to leave and adjust my day because some criminals on bikes turn up.

      point (c) - They themselves admit they dont fit in and they dont care hence they dont deserve the same rules that apply to the rest.

      Protecting their civil liberties in order to protect ours. If the world went to shit you think they would protect you. Unless you’re good looking and youngish then you might get away with providing some services otherwise they would feed your kids to their kids.

    • TheRealDave says:

      07:52am | 08/05/12

      Simple Solution:

      Make it a ‘Safety Issue’.

      New law, nationwide: If you ride a motorcycle on a public road you must wear appropriate high visibility safety gear at all times. Appropriate safety gear means high visibility long pants and long shirt. Approved high visibility colours include bright orange, bright yellow and bright pink. Failure to do so incurs a fine of $500 and 4 demerit points.

      They’ll look very ‘Outlaw’ in nice bright pink.

    • centurion48 says:

      08:22am | 08/05/12

      @TheRealDave: You might be surprised to know that there already exists black reflective material (made by 3M).

      I know (hope) your comment was in jest. The logical extension would cover cyclists, pedestrians, dogs and cats.

    • Peter says:

      08:35am | 08/05/12

      That right there is the sort of “do good’er / nanny state” decision making that stems from laws like this which teeter on breaching everyone’s civil liberties!
      I ride a bike (registered / insured dirtbike) which I ride legally in approved events and facilities. I don’t want to be associated with OMCG’s any more than I want popularistic law making deciding what I can and can’t where when I do get out on my bike.
      All of us motorcyclist will be lumped together because the general public decides we’re all stupid for choosing to risk our lives riding motorcycles and it’s easier to make “one size fits all” laws, like this suggestion, for us.
      I want my government and police to take back control by enforcing the laws we already have. There’s enough laws now to charge and jail people who are running drugs, shooting and bashing each other in public, be them from a OMCG or anywhere else.
      We don’t need new laws. We need governments and police who can successfully catch those breaking the existing ones and bring the perpetrators to be held accountable!!!
      We are loosing our grip on a safe society and we need to see “real” action to restore the balance and control.
      A new division of “fashion police” won’t cut it!

    • M says:

      08:44am | 08/05/12

      So because of the actions of a few bikies I am forced to wear fluro whilst riding my motorcycle?

      You can stick that fascist thought bubble back where the sun don’t shine.

    • cr says:

      08:45am | 08/05/12

      cars would stil run you over with the old excuse i did not see the bike officer sorry bout that can i go now ive got to be some where important

    • TheRealDave says:

      08:57am | 08/05/12

      No, I’m dead serious. And No, no logical gymnastics needed. Its for motorcycles only. No need to cover pedestrians, dogs, cats or any other ridiculous extrapolation. Motorcycle riders and passengers only. Whether they are so called ‘patched’ clowns or weekend riders or daily commuters.

      The added benefit is that all riders are more highly visible at all times. Making them look like clowns is just an added bonus.

      Also, they can make any ‘reflective’ colours they like - just only ‘approve’ the highly visible safety ones only.

    • M says:

      09:13am | 08/05/12

      If it’s a safety initiative, then surely the benefits would be equally successful if the policy were extended to cars as well?

      We wear fluro, you wear fluro. We wear helmets while riding, you wear helmets while driving.

      Approve only hot pink and fluro strips and mandate a minimum coverage area for the front and back of the car. 2 square feet should be appropriate. It’ll make you guys easier to spot and help us avoid getting run over, so you can’t come out with the “sorry mate, didn’t see you” excuse.

    • Dieter Moeckel says:

      10:08am | 08/05/12

      Or maybe a a bright yellow ‘Star of David’ on their chest!

    • M says:

      10:36am | 08/05/12

      Is the Star Government issue fluro yellow, Dieter? Cause if it’s not then the Real Dave won’t have a bar of it.

    • Les says:

      11:19am | 08/05/12

      So the onus then is on the motorcyslist to be seen!!!! Not the iphone using, make up applying, cd changing, arguing, perving, half asleep, half drunk driver to pay attention outside the confines of the car/truck (includes 4x4’s), use mirrors correctly setup, turn their head to check and drive without distractions. So if there is an accident the driver screams he’s not wearing a vest and all fall just dribbles away and the rider get screwed over twice.
      35 yrs a rider.

    • Pauline says:

      11:20am | 08/05/12

      I agree that if motorcyclists are required to wear fluoro safety gear, everyone else who’s near a road, or in fact outside a building or enclosed vehicle should also be required to wear fluoro.  A few months of that visual assault and car drivers won’t be seeing motorcyclists again anyway.  Do not give yourselves yet another excuse for not using your eyes and putting the blame on us.

      On another question - I’m a member of the Ulysses club.  We wear “colours” but we’re proud of being the “old” riders.  The God Squad et al all wear “colours”.  None of us are criminal organisations, but you’re tarring us with exactly the same brush and you’re banning us from showing our affiliations, in exactly the same way as the team colours for sports fans or the Scouts. 

      ... and just so you know, I do wear a fluoro yellow and reflective safety vest when I’m riding, and yes, I’ve had more than enough near-brushes from cars because the driver couldn’t see me.  At least I hope they didn’t see me…

    • Borderer says:

      12:41pm | 08/05/12

      Awesome thinking there TheRealDave, except that the highly criminal are no longer riding bikes, ie Notorious. Affecting them riding is like saying you can no longer drive to work but have to catch the bus, you aren’t going to stop working because your mode of transport has changed, just like they’re not going to go all stright and narrow because they aren’t riding.
      You also forgot all those other shootings in Sydney at the moment, any similarly genius ideas, you know, there are only multiple shootings a week compared to the one the other week with bikies?
      By the way, I ride a bike but I’m not a 1%er, but you know what, I might just decide to be if some idiot tries to impliment that as law.

    • Shinsengumi says:

      03:25pm | 08/05/12

      TheRealDave:  I’m a rider.  My helmet’s brightly colored with reflective, shiny bits, and my leathers are bright white, red, orange, and purple.  My bike’s brightly colored and is pretty loud.  It doesn’t matter how loud or bright I am, when I ride past people putting their makeup on in their mirrors driving with their knees, texting, arguing, reaching around to smack their kids, swerving over lanes, not indicating & cutting across 2 lanes of traffic to take that exit at the last possible second without warning, tailgating 1 foot off my rear, doing burnouts in the wet to almost take me out as I sit stationary at a red light, etc etc it really makes no difference.  Plus, all the people who ride in my office, my yacht club, social group, and suburb don’t sell drugs, murder people, or any of that stuff.  You want to punish 10’s of thousands of legal, working, normal people just like you because you want to geek rage on a handful of ‘nike bikies’?

      Of course, you have heard the term ‘nike bikies’?  Of course you have, and I don’t need to link this SMH article: 

      If you were listening to TripleJ a week or so ago you would have heard a very informative talk about ‘Nike Bikies’ and you’d know they are the real problem here, and, they don’t ride bikes.  They’re some of the fiercest movers & shakers in bikie gangs atm and they don’t ride.  So what then?  your fluoro doesn’t even tar the targets of your scorn?

      Futhermore, if your desire is to target criminal gangs, perhaps we should start with Union officials and Policiticians?  Maybe tourist-tazering, accountant-bashing Police?  Seems like they’re the most successful criminal gangs we have, given the immunity Craig Thompson & Peter Slipper enjoy from the law wink

      Also, Centurion’s comments, if you had any real life experience, are valid.  The amount of pets running onto the road, mauling people, plus oblivious ipodestrians, and red-light-running cyclists is quite remarkable.  They are just as much of a danger as we not-deserving-of-basic-human-rights riders are wink

    • OverDave says:

      04:28pm | 08/05/12

      “Outlaws” as you put it, drive cars, trucks, utes not only bikes.  So why stop at bike riding attire.  Why not make them wear hi vis pink shirts and have flags and flashing lights on their vehicles too.  Oh but hang on, that would mean anyone that rides a bike and drives a car would be required to do the same!

      Get over your self Dave.  I think you should be fined $500 and 4 demerit points for even suggesting this.

    • Michael says:

      08:58pm | 08/05/12

      Only if you are legally required to drive a bright orange volvo while wearing a helmet, of course it will be for safety reasons only.
      The only time I’ve been hit by cars, I was wearing fluoro pink wet weather gear, for some reason they seem to fixate on it. I’ve had far fewer near misses and no hits while wearing black or camo, and simply taking responsibility for making sure they don’t get me.
      Seriously, as well, if you are genuinely serious, I think that you cannot be too bright intellectually. Mind you some idiot politician will probably pick up the idea, seems like most of their “safety” initiatives come from similar trains of thought,ie be seen to be doing something, “doesn’t matter if we know it won’t work, as long as we’re seen to be doing something.”

    • Granvillian says:

      07:52am | 08/05/12

      Hmmm, having potential crims visible and wearing patches, or having them blend in with the crowd. I know which I’d prefer.

      Let’s not forget that ‘Notorious’ ramped up the drug wars by operating like a one percenter club without the patch visibility, thereby giving them an edge over the more traditional outlaw clubs.

      It’s bad policy in that it won’t effect the clubs a bit, but it will let them operate with a greater level of stealth. Dumb, dumb, bad legislation, and very likely able to be challenged under the UNCHR.

    • Matt says:

      08:12am | 08/05/12

      Great article Penbo. I find it hilarious that self-described “outlaw” bikies whinge and moan when they are taken at their word. These criminal gangs (and they are criminal gangs - even the ones who aren’t criminal glory in the reflected “glamour” of the ones who are) have no respect or concern for the rest of the “straight” world. Why should they expect any concern or respect for their rights in return?

    • Shinsengumi says:

      04:20pm | 08/05/12

      I find that funny too.  Especially when Channel 10 makes a hit TV series about the Cross’s criminal empires, and encourages the actor who plays Ibrahim in the last one to hang out with him for a few weeks.  Yep, that’s definitely sending a consistent message to these gangs.  I wonder how many of the Nike Bikies were inspired to greater acts of evil based on the popularisation of the crims in Underbelly?  How many of them want to characterise themselves after those characters now?  The ‘straight’ world has sent a message to these people that they’re worthy of being turned into stars on TV.

    • M says:

      04:51pm | 08/05/12

      Oh please don’t harp on about how young people are influenced by what they see on television.

    • Hel says:

      08:23am | 08/05/12

      I agree with everything you just said. The airport bashing didn’t happen because laws are too lax. I’m pretty sure that even back then it was illegal to beat someone to death with a metal pole.

      It’s still bullshit for the bikies to protest on behalf of civil liberties. Bikers are not bad people. Bikies are. You don’t join the Bandidos thinking it’ll all be weekend joy rides and charity runs. They’re criminal organisations. You don’t join the nazis for the camaraderie.

      Yep, Godwin’s. Got it.

    • Hel says:

      09:57am | 08/05/12

      Sorry, this was in reply to @Lexi at 8.22am. Musta hit the wrong button.

    • Hel says:

      09:57am | 08/05/12

      Sorry, this was in reply to @Lexi at 8.22am. Musta hit the wrong button.

    • Dieter Moeckel says:

      10:18am | 08/05/12

      What a bullshit differentiation ‘Bikie” - bad; ‘Biker’ - good. It isn’t riding the bike that makes one a criminal its the behaviour of the person riding it.
      The law to prohibit ‘colours’ is akin to prohibiting uniforms. And it is not ridiculous to refer to it as the ‘thin edge ...’ could it legitimately be applied to football fans i.e. leads to hooliganism?

    • M says:

      10:39am | 08/05/12

      Dieter, the difference between bikers and bikies as far as colloqiualisms go is pretty standard. Bikie generally means a patched club member, biker just means someone who rides a motorcycle.

    • centurion48 says:

      08:29am | 08/05/12

      @Penbo: I hear that a lot of criminals have tattoos. I would support a ban on people with tattoos only being allowed in public after the children have gone to bed. That should at least get rid of Collingwood Football Club and most of the NRL players.

      And don’t get me started on Port Adelaide being seen in public wearing teal uniforms. It is as bad as having a football team named The Swans. Swans FFS!!! What genius thought a friggin’ swan might be a good totem for a footy team.

    • adam says:

      11:39am | 08/05/12

      The original home ground of the team known as The Swans abutted a lake in South Melbourne. On said lake there wher many swans, hence the name.

      We used to prefer the moniker blood stained angels, however the VFL didn’t like this nickname as it was a reference to the blood bath GF, which they wish expunged from history.

      I think the mullet haircut should also face some form of public restriction

    • MarkS says:

      08:45am | 08/05/12

      “It is hilarious that someone can spend four years at law school and still be unable to muster anything beyond a year 10 debating argument that the threat to the bikies’ civil liberties is a threat to us all. “

      The reason it is a year 10 debating argument is that even school children can see the obvious truth of it. Something that appears to be beyond your mental grasp.

    • Rose says:

      09:17am | 08/05/12

      Rubbish, there isn’t truth in it, it is a lazy argument. We have every reason to demand that any legislation is carefully written and holds up under the tightest of scrutiny, but because it’s difficult to do shouldn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.
      As I have no intention of ever being associated with any group that could, even at a stretch, be deemed outlaw, I have no reason to worry that my civil liberties will be affected, and I am 100% certain that every every one that doesn’t associate with outlaw gangs that would be protected as well.
      The government needs to take every avenue available to them to squash these gangs, they offer absolutely non benefit to anyone in Australia but cause untold grief and destruction.

    • AdamC says:

      10:28am | 08/05/12

      I agree, Rose. The slippery slope argument is only valid where a proposal will have the effect of creating a precedent or endorsing a principle whose application will be difficult to limit once the threshhold argument is conceded. For example, the ‘thin end of the wedge’ is the reason I am against Gillard’s loathesome ‘licence to punt’. This is because, whilst on some levels I thought it was a well-designed policy, once you accept that the Feds have a role in protecting gamblers from themselves, at what point do you stop?

      In this case however, the stop sign is clear. Not to mention, to the best of my knowledge, people have never enjoyed a ‘freedom of association’ which extended to unfettered, unregulated membership of an organised criminal gang.

      So, it is not so much that the argument is lazy, in this case, but that it is invalid and, depending on who is making it, potentially dishonest.

    • MarkS says:

      12:56pm | 08/05/12

      Sporting clubs may not be in any danger. Pity really Canterbury & Carlton could do with a bit of banning.

      But News Corp employees? Better hope the Greens never win power.

      Have no intention of ever being associated with any group that could ever be deemed outlaw?

      Christian church was outlawed once, so where unions. Could go on, but the simple fact is that many very worthy organisations are illegal throughout the world. Often because they embarrass the jerks in power.

      How long did it take to turn the howling of the wolf to be the subservient barking of the dog? Be a nice little subservient drone if you wish, but your masters will not reward you for it.

      Problem is that consorting with criminals had the safeguard that you had to prove they were criminals. What they are doing here is making the decision of what is a criminal organisation a political not a legal judgment. If you cannot see the danger in that there is no hope for you.

    • M says:

      01:10pm | 08/05/12

      So because police are unable to pin them for the crimes they allegedly commit, you want to stop people from associating with each other based on vague definitions of criminal enterprise?


    • AdamC says:

      01:39pm | 08/05/12

      MarkSm, given the hysteria being expressed on this site, including your own, I decided to do a little research on the detail of these initiatives that have driven certain Punchers to discover a, seemingly hitherto dormant, affection for personal freedoms.

      Anyway, from what I can gather, the effect of O’Farrell’s recent announcements will be to prohibit the wearing of the colours of certain ‘declared organisations’ at licensed premises in certain areas. (This measure appears primarily geared to preventing standing-over and other anti-social behaviour in venues.)

      Under the CRIMES (CRIMINAL ORGANISATIONS CONTROL) ACT 2012 (NSW), organisations may be ‘declared’ by a judge, not the Minister. There is a hearing process as well, in which organisations can submit evidence and argue against the declaration.

      Under section 9 of the Act, Judges can ‘declare’ an organisation where:

      “a) members of the organisation associate for the purpose of organising, planning, facilitating, supporting or engaging in serious criminal activity, and

      (b) the organisation represents a risk to public safety and order in this State.”
      So, unless there is something wrong with my understanding of how this process works, your hysterical extrapolations of the power to ‘declare’ organisations to include Churches and unions look a little silly. Even a horribly compromised organisation like the HSU may potentially meet the first criterion, but not the second..

      That it not to say we may not have a situation in future in which a government ceases to criminalise organisations it sees as political enemies. This is not one of those cases.

    • M says:

      02:45pm | 08/05/12

      Under those definitions, the Catholic Church could be declared a criminal organisation.

    • Moo D Cow says:

      09:08am | 08/05/12

      Give an idiot a hammer, and all the world becomes a nail.  Similarly with governments and banning things.

      Mind you, prohibition, the banning of drugs, is what has created an amazingly profitable industry over which criminal organisations fight.  The illegality of the industry means that legal means of dispute resolution are not available, hence their recourse to illegal means, such as drive-by shootings.  Maybe drive-by shooting should be an Olympic sport?

      However, once a government bans one group, it will ban another to solve another problem; problem being a term used to describe what the government doesn’t like.  From there, more groups will be banned.

    • Dieter Moeckel says:

      10:25am | 08/05/12

      Spot on Moo its the idiotic war on drugs that give these gangs their raison d’être. Extra prohibition simply leads to extra crime by definition.
      Decriminalise and control drugs and the gangs need to sell candy to kids.

    • DEN says:

      09:09am | 08/05/12


    • Marc says:

      09:33am | 08/05/12

      You’re, or YOU’RE, depending on whether you want it in caps or not.

    • Glen says:

      11:35am | 08/05/12


    • ShamWow says:

      09:24am | 08/05/12

      Who cares about pissy amendments to the law so they can’t wear their colours?! How about you give the police what they need so they can shut them down.

    • M says:

      09:45am | 08/05/12

      What, like making dealing drugs and driveby shootings illegal? Giving the police the powers of arrest? Giving them guns and tasers to help arrest dangerous suspects?

      Wait a minute, they already have those powers, they already have the equipment, and those laws are already in place.

      Logical conclusion: Police are incompetent.

    • ibast says:

      12:18pm | 08/05/12

      Like possession, trafficking, firearm, assault laws etc?

    • ShamWow says:

      12:47pm | 08/05/12

      I would make the assumption that police resources are not being directed, in adequate volume, to address the issue. Less RBTs, speeding and bus lane traps and more effort towards tackling this serious issues is required.

      Passing useless laws is easy, taking serious steps to actually tackle the issue may be harder but is the only way to bring results.

    • James says:

      05:52pm | 08/05/12

      M - there’s another logical conclusion to go along with that one: Police are corrupt.

    • AdamC says:

      09:39am | 08/05/12

      The only element of this article that I do not agree with is the summary dismissal of the ‘thin edge of the wedge argument’ as a ‘Year 10 debating technique’. In my view, in some situations, the slope really is slippery, such as where freedom of expression is being compromised. (Where does it end, etc ...) However, the idea that someone has an inherent right to associate with criminals in an organised gang is ridiculous.

      The colours ban is an attempt by the police to take back the streets. It is symbolic, it is important. It is not an infringement on anyone’s civil liberties. Now, there may be problems with the legislation in that, if the Minister’s discretion to ban an organisation’s colours from the Cross is too broad, but that is a technical issue.

      People who see creeping fascism and totalitarian oppression everywhere are almost funny in their paranoid absurdity.

    • Bev says:

      10:52am | 08/05/12

      People who see creeping fascism and totalitarian oppression everywhere are almost funny in their paranoid absurdity

      A bad example but it does illustrate the point.  If I had said to you 20 years ago that smoking restrictions would end up with smokers being banned from open spaces and that there would be a blackmarket in tobacco run by criminals you may well have said the same thing.
      It’s all about boiling frogs something the state and those who wish to impose their ideas on you are good at.

    • M says:

      11:13am | 08/05/12

      How is being told what you can and cannot wear by the government not an infringment on civil liberties?

    • AdamC says:

      11:36am | 08/05/12

      Bev, I agree with you. In an above comment I make clear that I do agree with the ‘slippery slope’ argument where there is a proposal the scope of which, once endorsed, will be difficult to limit. I opposed Gillard’s notorious licence to punt for just that reason. Your smoking example is also valid.

      M, because being able to wear your criminal gang uniform and attend particular licensed premises in a particular area with your equivalently-uniformed criminal gang buddies is not a valid ‘‘civil liberty’. Nobody is forcing these people to be members of criminal gangs, after all.

    • Vince says:

      11:39am | 08/05/12

      I would have thought banning “colours” amounts to an infringement of one’s freedom of expression.  But i agree with you otherwise.

    • M says:

      12:48pm | 08/05/12

      It might not be valid for you, but for most people the ability to wear what they want in public venues is taken as a given, so long as it doesn’t cause offence.

    • AdamC says:

      02:13pm | 08/05/12

      M and Vince, but you simply do not have an unlimited right to be a member of a declared criminal gang. These measures limit the ability of criminal gang members to express themselves through dress only in connection with their membership of a declared criminal gang. It is not restricting their freedom to say, do or wear what they want generally. It also doesn’t stop them from wearing their gang regalia on the street, only in certain licensed premises.

      There seems to be a lot of logical gymnastics going on here on the part of the anti-camp. It isn’t rocket science.

    • M says:

      02:52pm | 08/05/12

      Actually, you do have that right. If you don’t commit any crimes, or can’t be proven to have commited any crimes, then the standard is usually innocent until proven guilty. And as far as I’m aware, guilt by association isn’t usually enough to convict, not until those anti association laws were brought in. And they’ve been declared unconstitutional anyway.

      So, you’re declaring that all bikies joined Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs for the express intent of commiting crime, based on knee jerk legislation that governments introduced to make the job of incompetent police easier, and justify the errosion of civil rights by saying ‘Well, they’re all bad eggs anyway, aren’t they? They joined a gang!”

    • AdamC says:

      03:07pm | 08/05/12

      “So, you’re declaring that all bikies joined Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs for the express intent of commiting crime, based on knee jerk legislation that governments introduced to make the job of incompetent police easier, and justify the errosion of civil rights by saying ‘Well, they’re all bad eggs anyway, aren’t they? They joined a gang!””

      No, M, I am agreeing with the proposed, limited restrictions on gang members parading through licensed venues in King’s Cross wearing full gang regalia. It is not a matter of ‘guilt by association’ (I am not convinced you understand what they term means) or ‘civil rights’. (BTW, are you seriously comparing not being able to sit with white people on a bus and not being able to wear your criminal gang uniform to a strip club? Honestly, you are opening youself up to ridicule!)

      The legislation, quite legitimately, limits the ability of declared criminal gangs to organise and parade openly. I am still unsure of what fundamental freedom that actually infringes upon.

    • M says:

      03:17pm | 08/05/12

      Lets start with this “declared criminal gang” nonsense and the idea that the government can tell you who you can and cannot share a beer with.

    • AdamC says:

      04:13pm | 08/05/12

      Yeah, M, only ‘the government’ aren’t really stopping you from drinking with anyone. You can still drink with your bikie gangster mate, so long as he isn’t in his gang regalia. Indeed, if you go for drinks in western Sydney, he can still even wear his gear. So you will have to excuse me if I am unconvinced that this is quite so horribly oppressive as some naive people seem to think it is.

    • Bev says:

      04:22pm | 08/05/12

      I am still unsure of what fundamental freedom that actually infringes upon.

      The right to free public assembly and association.  The same right used to have street marches or to have a gathering on the local park of like minded people.  This does not give you the right to obstruct others going about their business or wreck others property.  Hence for a street march you must get permission because you are obstructing others. Legally an assembly can mean three or more people.  It means you can meet friends for coffee or at the pub, it is fundamental to leading your life. Please don’t draw a long bow and suggest this will be banned however that said this exactly how Russia treated it’s citizens.  3 or more gathered together attracted suspicion.

    • Bev says:

      05:10pm | 08/05/12

      AdamC says:05:13pm | 08/05/12

      Yeah, M, only ‘the government’ aren’t really stopping you from drinking with anyone. You can still drink with your bikie gangster mate, so long as he isn’t in his gang regalia

      If this were so this law is either:
      A smoke screen by government so as they appear to be doing something or it is a totally useless law as they can still gather to talk, plan whatever just not in uniform.  Actually since the police will know who they are they will use this law to harass them anyway even if they are not doing anything illegal.  That goes for anyone else talking or sitting with them.

    • M says:

      07:15pm | 08/05/12

      I don’t have any bikie mates, I’m talking about basic personal freedoms that everyone should have regardless of who they associate with.

    • Bev says:

      09:48am | 08/05/12

      Who cares about pissy amendments to the law
      Since these type laws affect the most basic of your rights I would hardly call them that.  Try typing William Penn into google and educate yourself.

      I did submit a comment about William Penn but it seems it was moderated out.,

    • Blind Freddy says:

      10:09am | 08/05/12

      There are already enough laws to prosecute “bikies” when/if they break the law. Just enforce the ones we already have. Association with otthers, in a pluralist, democracy shoid not be a crime.

    • George says:

      11:09am | 08/05/12

      It is clear that the lawmakers and police haven’t been able to work out how to stop the illegal actvities of the bikies.  There is much political rhetoric (especially around election time) about seeming to be tough on law and order but very little action.  In SA, our previous Premier was going to shut down and dismantle bikie fortresses (part of his pre-election promise).  He was in power for 10 years and not one bikie fortress was dismantled - even more were setup.  The SA Labour government is all talk.

      The increased spate of violence in public places is frightening.  One of my favourite places for a coffee in North Adelaide was the scene of a shoot-out not that long ago.

      The laws have to target the illegal activities of the bikie.  The term bikies is also slowly losing relevance as a large and growing number of members don’t even own a motorbike.

    • Jack says:

      12:10pm | 08/05/12

      Like cooking meth, selling drugs, extortion, robbery and assault?

      I agree. We should totally make those illegal things illegal.

    • Shinsengumi says:

      04:08pm | 08/05/12

      “It is clear that the lawmakers and police haven’t been able to work out how to stop the illegal actvities of the bikies.”

      No, it is that they haven’t worked out a CHEAP, FAST way of stopping them.  We must remember that Police get their orders from the Minister.  The Minister hands down Police priorities, and decides which areas get funding.

      The Minister’s priorities are overwhelmingly focused on revenue generation.  Therefore, the orders handed down to Police are to focus on revenue generating policing.

      For centuries British police have been prosecuting illegal gangs with existing laws.  We’ve inherited the core of those laws.  We have all the laws we need in order to stop, and prosecute these criminals.  The Police Minister is not willing to allocate budget for Police to do it.

    • RyaN says:

      11:15am | 08/05/12

      Problem, reaction, solution. Nothing more, nothing less.

    • M says:

      11:18am | 08/05/12

      Governments should by now realise they need to treat the cause, not the symptoms.

    • Just some guy says:

      11:27am | 08/05/12

      Wouldn’t it be sensible to introduce laws similar to the RICO laws the US has. They specifically cover criminal and corrupt organisations.

    • Farken says:

      12:14pm | 08/05/12

      The ban on bikie colours: are scouts and sports fans next? yes if they go around killing people any one who is not stupid should know that !

    • Jimmy D says:

      12:40pm | 08/05/12

      Excellent article and it is a shame that the bikies won that high court challenge. As a law abiding citizen I encourage any new law which attempts to eradicate these lawless gangs. Do they seriously think that they will garner public support via the civil liberties argument? Come on O’Farrell tighten gun laws and throw the book at these guys.

    • Bev says:

      02:34pm | 08/05/12

      I will repeat. Google William Penn and the Bushel case.  What was established in 1670 is entirely relevent now.  It is one of the cornerstones of our rights today. Judging people guilty by association or dress is not justice.  Corporation “suits” have caused untold misery and death do we ban “suits”?  it will not change what they do only inquiry and building evidence and convicting the guilty does that.

    • Year 10 student says:

      01:04pm | 08/05/12

      I was planning on Saturday to go into the Cross, deal some drugs, punch a few people, and possibly even finish off the night with a drive by.  Now I’ve been told I can’t wear my colours.  Bugger.  I guess I’ll stay home with Mum & Dad and watch repeats of The Voice instead.  I love Delta so much.

    • M says:

      01:57pm | 08/05/12

      Clearly the system is failing our students

    • headache says:

      01:14pm | 08/05/12

      Removing the citizenry’s capability to resist is the first step of a malignant government.

    • James Hunter says:

      01:28pm | 08/05/12

      Lets be carefull that the wearing of patches does not constitute being in a gang. Last election I recall hundreds of people near polling booths wearing like arm bands . Naughty.
      Agan of gangers doing roadwork all wearing the same dranded vests in bright colour with their gang name prominent. Just down the street opps ther is another gang all with jackets and hard hats(no doubt to deflect police batons) all branded Telstrs ! Now if that is not a name to engender fear and violence in ordinary people I know nothing. Nothing. NOTHING. !!!
      We will obviously be on Red Alert when the next USA ship is in port. These guys(mostly) all wearing their gang colours and all speaking in a secrete club code. !
      If ordinary laws are insufficient fix them but if any of the members of numerous motercycle clubs of the “Non Bike” genre who never the less wear a club patch on their jacket are affected by this , or the scouts or Telstra or the usnavey then we realy are sinking into Right Wing Ratbag Territory. and we know whose idea it was. !!

    • Sheridan says:

      01:44pm | 08/05/12

      I am over it!! I am effing sick of walking into a shop in my jacket and carrying my helmet (GREAT to carry a phone and purse in and being treated like I’m going to shoot someone!! I am a highly visible black and PINK bimbo scooter rider NOT A BLASTED BIKIE!!

      Mind you it did come in handy once when I was being bullied by a property manager just after my father died and my husband turned up on his bike with his jacket, boots and helmet lol.. Lucky me :D

    • Scooter Terrorist says:

      01:48pm | 08/05/12

      I think we are all missing the point. The term ‘Bikie’ is losely being associated with groups formed that perform in or encourage illegal activity. If you wear a patch and you are part of a group that has known criminal links, criminal activity etc. then I can understand why they would want to try and curtail these activities through law. Just like you can’t go running around Germany with a swaztica (not all people associated with the Nazi’s were bad), we are trying to legislate against know criminal organisation and the promotion of those. Lets leave the term ‘Bikie’ out of it as it just creats confusion.

    • Dave says:

      02:08pm | 08/05/12

      Yeah, you’re right, these laws could never be misused. The same way the laws designed to protect children from paedophiles are not being misused to charge and convict 15 year old girls who take a photo of their boobs and send it to their boyfriend of producing child pornography.

      Oh, wait, that is happening. These laws are often misused and upheld by idiotic judges. It5’s already illegal to shoot or bash somebody, so leave it at that. Allowing the police to decide who you can and can’t associate with when you have not been charged, let alone convicted of a crime is just ridiculous.

    • iansand says:

      02:43pm | 08/05/12

      When draconian anti terrorist legislation was ppassed following 9/11 a few namby pamby civil libertarians were criticising the restrictions on commonly accepted rights.  They were pooh poohed on the basis that there was an extreme threat requiring extreme measures.

      When the first attempt at anti bikie legislation was passed in NSW part of the justification was that we already have laws like this for terrorists, and bikies are an equally serious threat.

      Now where did I put my crampons?  This slope is getting decidedly slick.

    • Tanya says:

      02:47pm | 08/05/12

      The patches are just an identifying feature like a Yakuza tattoo. Surely removing the right to wear or display them will only make them more difficult to identify. Aren’t they the thing that differentiates a criminal bikie gang from a motorcycle club?

      Changes to the law need to centre around enabling investigators to better infiltrate and break criminal organisations and harsher penalities where crime is proven to be organised.

    • Fed Up says:

      02:54pm | 08/05/12

      I thought The Age readers were supposed to comprise the educated elements of society, yet you are all bickering over ridiculous suggestions that have nothing to do with the article at all. How did this argument turn into car vs. bike riders? The point that we need to get these scum down and these stupid measures aren’t going to cut it. Until our police force/magistrates have the cojones to actually go after these outlaws we will continue to see the violence escalate as they keep expanding their territories and we keep getting caught in the cross fire.

    • Danny - D says:

      03:01pm | 08/05/12

      Has anyone looked at corruption in the NSW police force? Have we forgotten about Mark Standen? When corruption is this rife at this level, what chance have we got? Do we think he was acting alone? Changing laws about what colours people wear isn’t going to do a thing, getting people who can enforce the current laws appropriatly might though…

    • Jay says:

      03:29pm | 08/05/12

      You will all change your tune when these lunatics decide to engage in a shoot out in the streets that ends up killing innocent bystanders and even children. These clowns are nothing but stand over men who push drugs, prostitution and and have no qualms in killing. The police know who they are and where they are but all these blubbering liberals protect them. One day we will have a proper and thorough investigation and it will reveal the degree that these gangs have infiltrated the Public service.

    • iansand says:

      03:54pm | 08/05/12

      How many card carrying communists were in the State Department?

    • LC says:

      08:56pm | 08/05/12

      So arrest them and be done with it.

    • Matt says:

      03:50pm | 08/05/12

      Please don’t use ‘Biker’ and ‘Bikie’ interchangeibly. This is Australia, not the U.S.A and not the same thing.

    • Stephan says:

      03:52pm | 08/05/12

      Hmmm - is the problem “patch” gangs, bikies or the violence?

      I think it’s the violence or am I completely mistaken.

      Patches are worn by the armed services, the poilice, security guards,etc, etc.  The first three perpetrate LEGAL violence on people.  The Bikers perpetrate ILLEGAL Violence.

      Solution?  Get rid of patches. 

      Oh yeah, that’ll work to remove the association away from members of society. NOT!!!!.

    • Grafton68 says:

      05:24pm | 08/05/12

      “organisations which have links to drug crime, gun-running, extortion, assault, murder, not to mention a steadfast refusal to cooperate

      I thought you were talking about the police!

    • Sandra Yandell says:

      06:49pm | 08/05/12

      Lets really stamp out the bikies alleged income. Mandatory drug testing on all police officers, prison officers, politicians and journalists. Personally I am bored of hearing about the bikie threat. My family get fleeced by cops for the most trivial offences, taxed to the hilt by incompetent governments and now get government media drip fed through journos. A real journo would ring up these bikies and ask to spend a week with them so they can see the waste of taxpayers cash on bikies with various taskforces I mean in SA when bikies go for a “ride"they shut down major transport routes and have half the force following them yet the most they ever get is trivial traffic offences. The war on bikies is just election fodder and frankly I am sick to death of it. How many bikies get charged for raping a child, abusing a woman? I know who I would leave my family with. Not the big blue gang thats for sure!

    • Jay says:

      11:20am | 11/05/12

      You are very nieve person.Hopefully no one in your family dies or is affected from drugs.if they are go thank you mates in these gangs.

    • Susan says:

      07:22pm | 08/05/12

      Sorry for the flippancy but in the 70’s when I hung around a few clubs, I found - just on the social level - the women FAR scarier than the men.  But back then it was well known in Sydney just what power - economic power I am referring to - certain clubs had in Aussie and the strong connections that existed with the U.S..  Bikie isn’t a term I’ve ever heard any Australian biker who wears colours would use btw and it’s not even an Aussie vs American usage issue as far as I know. I think “bikie” is more a politician/media term although in the 70’s biker wasn’t heard that often here.

      Not quite sure why the attacks on lawyers given that, clearly, a lawyer is paid to defend and locate an argument of defence.  Same applies to defending anyone including pedophiles (unfortunately).  That’s what the law requires.  I’ve heard a few arguments from Mr. Murphy re Mr Newton that I find as offensively amusing and that seem such a credibility stretch.

      I’m not convinced that banning colours will change anything, however, I’m sympathetic with the police and the issues they are trying to address. But I’d prefer to see a biker wearing colours - that I can identify - than someone just all in black (or similar). This said, does the presence of the colours stir up issues with others…yes.  So, no easy solutions and I would give the police the benefit of the doubt.

      But these clubs are, in the main, businesses, run with the latest tech and legal savvy (try and rip off the Hells Angels rocker for example and see how long it takes you to be summoned) and then a somewhat traditional (old fashioned?) bureaucracy.

      A few of the “CEO’s” are a load more flash and brash than they were years ago and, indeed, I suspect a few aren’t really bikers (in the heart sense) at all. You virtually never see them on a bike for example or riding with their members.  They are the sports or luxury car guys and I’m not quite sure why clubs these days want leaders so dissociated with the bottom line of riding an actual bike.

      It would be like the CEO of Qantas never flying and taking a boat to the U.S.

    • LC says:

      09:37pm | 08/05/12

      Meh. It’ll get turfed out by the High Court just like Rann’s unconstitutional anti-bikie laws with anti-association clauses and, how did it go….oh yeah…gave them the power to “bulldoze bikie fortresses” (snort).

      But seriously, anyone who supports these laws should consider a move to North Korea, seeing as they don’t like freedom of expression too much.

      All the laws required to stop them killing people, being stand-over men, dealing drugs etc exist, let them do their job. And the courts could do their bit by actually handing out serious jail time for offenders.


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