There is considerable doubt tonight as to whether the draconian Anti Association laws passed by a number of states and being mooted by WA can work.
A test case in South Australia involving two members of the Finks bikie gang went to the High Court after the Attorney General placed a control order on them, restricting their communication between one another. Six of the seven High Court Justices determined the laws were unconstitutional because it undermined the independence of magistrates.
The laws were implemented as a knee jerk reaction to a brawl at Sydney Airport where one member was killed by a rival gang. The result is a threat to the right of every Australian to associate freely with any other individual or group.
The law should be imposed on any acts of violence, however it is an anathema to use the breaking of the law to impose draconian legislation on the whole of the population in order to carry out this responsibility. Certainly there are elements within the biker community who act illegally. There are also those within many other areas of society, including politics, who commit crimes. The fact that political crime is mostly ‘white collar’ does not mean that it is any less criminal.
Should it be illegal to contact your local member, because a number of MPs over the years have been convicted of everything from misappropriation, fraud, corruption, through to sexual misconduct with minors? Sounds like a criminal class to me.
Spokesman for The United Motorcycle Councils of Australia, Russell Wattie, had this to say:
Spokesman for United Motorcycle Council’s Australia, Russell “Camel” Wattie, said the ruling would have major implications not just for South Australia but for all states which had gone down the path of restricting their citizens’ legal rights.
“This is a victory for all Australians, with the High Court sending a clear signal that it’s not acceptable for governments to crush the rights that should be guaranteed in any open and democratic society,” Camel said.
“These laws were never about motorcycle clubs and their members, despite the governments’ PR spin. They were a disgraceful attempt by the government and police to trample long-standing legal and civil rights of all citizens.
“The High Court has seen straight through the South Australian government’s false claims about combating organised crime. It’s ruled that no government has the right to take away the legal protections that have underpinned western society for hundreds of years.”
The defeated laws gave police unfettered power to use secret, false and illegally obtained evidence against individuals, took away the right to an open and fair trial, and shut down all avenues of appeal.
They also allowed the police to pronounce individuals guilty by association, and reversed the time-honoured presumption of innocence.
“The Rann Government has now spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars trying to defend its disgraceful abuse of power. Other states will no doubt do the same.
“It’s time these governments had some respect for proper legal process and democratic freedoms. They should apologise for their disgraceful behavior and should not attempt to reintroduce their discredited legislation.”
While this has been a blow to these laws there is a united bloody-minded determination by MPs to go ahead with keeping them in place. Every state government has today indicated they will. This action strikes at the heart of the freedoms of every Australian in all walks of life and have no place in a free society.