The roar of motorbikes echoed through Australia’s capital cities on Sunday as thousands of riders united in opposition to Queensland’s anti-biker/anti-association legislation.
The Australian Motorcycle Council (AMC) says the new laws, said to be aimed at criminal motorcycle clubs, have resulted in the harassment of law-abiding motorcyclists.
Many have reported being pulled over by police multiple times a day and questioned over links to outlaw clubs.
More than a thousand bikers, lawyer groups and civil libertarians protested outside Queensland parliament on Sunday.
Melbourne had a similar turnout, while 500 people gathered in Sydney and 200 in Hobart and Adelaide, AMC chair Shaun Lennard told media.
Mr Lennard says they don’t want to see the laws replicated in other states.
“We continue to reject the premise that simply riding a motorcycle makes you worthy of questioning about criminal activity,”.
“We fully support any reasonable action to crack down on crime, but we believe the laws go beyond that.
“It’s stereotyping and discrimination.”
Queensland organiser Gabriel Buckley says of primary concern is that the laws reverse the onus of proof for people accused of links to proscribed criminal groups.
“Any organisation can be listed as a criminal gang with fewer checks and balances,”
Police and the Newman government have previously asked ‘recreational’ riders for patience amid the biker crackdown, but concede there will be disruptions for law-abiding motorcyclists.
Premier ‘Herr’ Newman says he gets personal updates on the crackdown each morning and says 4 to 10 ‘outlaw gang members’ are being arrested each day for assault and drug, weapon and money laundering offences.
He asked for recreational bikers to be patient.
“I’m just saying to people who love their motorbikes, to understand that right now we’re trying to shut down gangs who manufacture drugs, sell them to kids, who infiltrate all parts of the economy and pretending they are just wonderful loveable outlaw types – they’re not,” he said.
“They are vicious gangs, who belt people up and intimidate business owners and cause scenes of mayhem.
“These policing efforts are very important to shut down these gangs, that’s what we’re doing.”
The AMC has launched a fighting fund to raise money for any High Court challenge to the laws and is due to meet with the state government on Tuesday.