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Thursday, July 30, 2015

AUSTRALIA - Controversial anti-bikie laws to pass State Parliament this week as Government and Opposition agree to cut outlaw gangs from 27 to 10

  • The Advertiser    
  • Adelaide’s Afternoon Newsbyte July 29

    ATTORNEY-GENERAL John Rau has agreed to cut the number of bikie gangs declared in legislation as outlaw groups from 27 to 10 following negotiations with the Opposition.
    State Parliament resumes sitting today after a three-week break, with debate to restart on the State Government’s controversial push to place new restrictions on gang members.
    The Liberal partyroom this morning agreed to fall in behind a compromise position struck following a week of negotiations between Mr Rau and Opposition Leader Steven Marshall.
    Seventeen gangs which do not currently operate in SA will be left off the list.
    However, the Liberal Party remains divided over laws some feel will create a police state.
    Attorney-General John Rau this morning confirmed the Government was prepared to declare o
    Attorney-General John Rau this morning confirmed the Government was prepared to declare only 10 gangs as organised crime groups under legislation, including the Mongols, Hells Angels and Rebels.
    Liberal Upper House MP Andrew McLachlan is expected to cross the floor when a vote is called this evening.
    Former Liberal leader Isobel Redmond and her one-time deputy Mitch Williams have both expressed grave reservations about the legislation in previous debate and there is speculation they will also vote against the party position in the Lower House tomorrow.
    The Government earlier this year announced plans to name 27 gangs as illegal organised crime groups using legislation, claiming existing laws that require police to provide evidence to the Supreme Court before a declaration is made were too complex.
    It was strongly opposed by the legal fraternity and civil libertarian groups, who claimed the laws would weaken the independence of the courts and risked unfairly limiting individual freedom.
    Mr Rau this morning confirmed the Government was prepared to declare only 10 gangs that currently operate in SA as organised crime groups under legislation.
    They include prominent gangs the Mongols, Hells Angels and Rebels.
    Mr Rau said he was making the offer in a bid to get the legislation passed this week.
    “Following discussions with the Opposition, we are offering a set of amendments in the hope that this will enable the bill to pass in the next two days,” he said.
    “I was only prepared to offer this compromise after discussions with the Police Commissioner confirmed that this bill still contains all of their priority targets.”
    The Opposition moved amendments in the Upper House that would allow gangs to be declared as outlaws under a ministerial regulation that would be subject to judicial review.
    Once a declaration is made, restrictions can be placed on members to prevent them meeting.
    The Liberals also wanted Parliament’s Crime and Public Integrity Committee to be given greater access to police intelligence used to determine that gangs were involved in organised crime.
    The Government has agreed to that amendment in the case of future declarations.