The ban on bikie colours: are scouts and sports fans next?
No. Anyone who would suggest so is a dill. And possibly also a lawyer.
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.
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