Media release by Terry O’Gorman on behalf of the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties in relation to the Queensland Government’s announcement on new anti-bikie legislation. 

Terry’s letters to the Premier and the Attorney-General are available via the links.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie’s indication that new anti bikie laws would not be subject to consultation and that even the relevant supervising Parliamentary Committee would probably be ignored and bypassed was today attacked by the Civil Liberties Council as reviving the Bjelke‑Petersen era.

QCCL Vice-President Terry O’Gorman said that what has been described as the “most extreme legislation ever proposed in Queensland”[1] must be subject to stakeholder and Parliamentary Committee input before it goes to Cabinet and before it is introduced and passed by Parliament.

“For the Queensland Attorney-General to say that the need is urgent and the laws should be passed as soon as possible with no supervisory Committee process at all is a reversion to the Bjelke-Petersen tactics of using a huge Parliamentary majority to speedily ram laws through Parliament come what way”, Mr O’Gorman said.

“This misuse of the Newman Government’s huge Parliamentary majority in a one house Parliament was roundly condemned in the Fitzgerald Report in 1989 and that was why the Parliamentary Committee system which now exists was one of the focal points of the Fitzgerald Report”, Mr O’Gorman said.

Mr O’Gorman said that the Fitzgerald Report’s concerns for this type of misuse of Parliament should not be seen as some sort of historic relic simply because the Report is over 20 years old.

“This is the first major Parliamentary term of the LNP since the Fitzgerald Report with the exception of a short 2 year stint in power of the Borbidge Government in the mid 90s”, Mr O’Gorman said.

Mr O’Gorman said that the Attorney-General’s attempted justification for bypassing the consultation process which is supposed to be followed for all legislation, namely that “the need is urgent”, is utter nonsense.

“What has occurred on the Gold Coast with bikie groups in the last 5 days is a matter of putting sufficient Police numbers on the ground in the glitter strip to deal with a spike in law and order problems”, Mr O’Gorman said.

“The Newman Government’s extreme reaction to Gold Coast bikie incidents in the last number of days is a deliberate smokescreen to distract public attention from the fact that the second shooting of a Police Officer on the Gold Coast last Friday was painted in the media as a direct consequence of the failure of the State Government to bolster Gold Coast Police numbers, as the Police Union has been arguing for well over 18 months”, Mr O’Gorman said.

Mr O’Gorman said that the Premier, the Police Minister and the Attorney‑General had deliberately exploited public fear arising from two Gold Coast bikie disturbances over the last 5 days to distract public and media attention from the lack of Police resources controversy flowing from the non-bikie related shooting of senior Police dog handler Sgt Hamrey last Friday.

“The State Government’s diversionary tactic has been very successful”, Mr O’Gorman said.

Mr O’Gorman said that even after 9/11, Australian State and Federal Governments took deliberate steps to consult before introducing new terrorism laws.

“We call upon the Premier to override the Attorney‑General and insist that there be proper consultation and Parliamentary Committee supervision of the new laws before they are passed by the current Government’s thumping majority”, Mr O’Gorman said.