Yesterday’s and today’s media claims that revised so called bikie laws will “lift ban on bikie bars” and will allow “bikies to get back licences for guns” have been described as incorrect and alarmist.

Queensland Council for Civil Liberties Vice President (Terry O’Gorman) said a reading of the Explanatory Notes to the new organised crime laws introduced into Queensland Parliament earlier this week noted:

The (Wilson) Taskforce recommended that people should not be refused a licence solely on the basis that the person is alleged to be a participant in a criminal organisation. The Taskforce recommended that licences should only be refused on the basis that there is evidence specific to the individual which demonstrates that the individual is not a suitable person to hold a licence (emphasis added).(1)

Mr O’Gorman said that the Explanatory Notes go on to indicate that “…however the new serious and organised crime offences (and the related control orders) are intended to become relevant in the assessment of a person’s suitability for a (liquor and gun) licence.”(2)

Further, in relation to the Weapons Act, the Explanatory Notes clearly indicate that a ‘fit and proper person’ test will continue to exist and require (the police) to make a decision whether a person is appropriate to hold a licence (emphasis added).(3)

“Therefore the scare scenario promoted by news reports over the last two days that bikies will be running bars and readily carrying guns are simply incorrect when fact-checked against the actual provisions of the new Serious and Organised Crime Bill” Mr O’Gorman said.

Mr O’Gorman said that the Civil Liberties Council intends to regularly put out ‘fact-check’ media releases between now and up to when Parliament debates the new organised crime/bikie legislation to debunk wrong information about what the new laws actually say.

“It is important to remember that the Wilson Report on which most of the new organised crime/bikie laws is based noted that bikies were responsible for less than 1% of serious criminal offending”.(4)

Mr O’Gorman can be contacted during business hours on 07 3034 0000 

(1) See recommendation 56 of Taskforce referred to at page 29 of the Explanatory Note
(2) See Explanatory Notes page 30
(3) See Explanatory Notes page 30
(4) See page 8 of the Wilson Taskforce which said “…OMCG Member crime rates before the 2013 suite (the Newman/Bleije VLAD Laws) were as a proportion of overall crime less than1% and, according to some figures, much lower”.