Media Release by Terry O’Gorman

Vice-president of the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties

The failure by the Premier and the Attorney-General to even publish the details of yesterday’s Cabinet decisions about new bikie legislation demonstrates a new level of arrogance by the Queensland Government.

Civil Liberties Council Vice-President Terry O’Gorman said that it was bad enough that there was absolutely no consultation before Cabinet considered the new laws, but for Cabinet to tick off on the new laws yesterday without the details of those laws being subsequently published represents a return to the non consultation in relation to law and order legislation that characterised the 70s and 80s in Queensland.

“For the Premier to say that ‘civil libertarians and commentators will have their chance to pass judgment on whether those laws are effective’ and that there will be deliberate bypassing of the scrutiny of these new laws by the Parliamentary Committee process represents an unequivocal return to the Bjelke-Petersen era where laws passed in this manner where only the Police were consulted were roundly condemned in the 1989 Fitzgerald Report”, Mr O’Gorman said.

Mr O’Gorman said that for Mr Newman to say that he will ‘listen to debate down the track’ and that he is happy to ‘remove them’[1] at a later time just shows how arrogant the current Government has become with its thumping majority and no opportunity for review of the laws by an Upper House, which is the situation in other States.

Mr O’Gorman repeated that the Civil Liberties Council position is that any urgency in relation to Gold Coast policing following recent bikie flare-ups had been more than adequately met by the $20m which the Premier suddenly found to put more Police on the beat on the glitter strip.

“The bikie issues of the last 2 weeks have all been about urgently increasing Police numbers, not urgently and without any consultation at all changing legislation and increasing Police powers”, Mr O’Gorman said.

Mr O’Gorman said that the legislation which the Courier Mail described last week as “the most extreme ever introduced into the Queensland Parliament” must be subject to the Parliamentary Committee review process.

“It is bad enough that there has been absolutely no consultation on these new laws outside the QPS and the Attorney-General’s Department.  There is no real, as opposed to feigned, urgency for Parliament to pass these new laws without consultation and without involvement of the Parliamentary Committee review process”, Mr O’Gorman said.

Mr O’Gorman said that one of the main criticisms that the Fitzgerald Report made of the Bjelke-Petersen years was that law and order legislation was introduced with no consultation and with input only from the Queensland Police Service and the Attorney-General’s Department.

“Premier Newman is reverting lock stock and barrel to that era and is cynically and without proper explanation bypassing the important Parliamentary Committee supervision process before these new laws are introduced”, Mr O’Gorman said.

Mr O’Gorman said that history shows that once new criminal laws are introduced, they are never repealed, and the Premier’s promise to look at repealing them in the future is part of the con sale job that he has so effectively done on the Queensland public in relation to these unnecessarily hurried bikie laws.


[1] See Brisbane Times “Bikie Legislation to Bypass Checks and Balances” by Amy Remeikis Oct 8 2013 3.52 pm