A defence lawyer says Queensland’s second wave of anti-bikie laws will backfire, because they will push people into seeking welfare or committing crime.
Queensland’s second wave of anti-bikie laws will backfire and burn taxpayers’ pockets, a criminal defence lawyer says.
Gang members will be barred from obtaining liquor, security, tow truck, construction, pawnbroking, motor dealing and book-keeping licences under the laws, which are expected to pass parliament on Thursday.
Criminal defence lawyer Debbie Kilroy says the laws will hurt families the most because supposed bikie associates will be banned from working in industries they have been legitimately employed in for decades.
“We’re going to see an increase and pressure on taxpayers in relation to Centrelink,” she told AAP.
“And we could possibly see people turning to crime when they’ve never had to before because they can’t gain employment.”
Ms Kilroy said it was outrageous the government was “pumping through” the legislation when so many people, including children, would be affected.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie introduced changes, which will also enable prisons to segregate bikies, at 10pm (AEST) on Tuesday.
He ordered the proposed changes to be scrutinised by the bipartisan legal affairs and community safety committee before Thursday.
It examined the laws on Wednesday without Labor MP Bill Byrne, who walked out of the committee because there wasn’t enough time to call witnesses or hear from experts such as the chief magistrate and car dealers associations.
But Mr Bleijie says the opposition shouldn’t be complaining about how long the committee was given to scrutinise the laws.
“We’ve given the committee a day, so I would have thought the opposition and Peter Wellington (Independent MP) would be happy with that. We’ve done what they asked us to do,” he said.
Mr Bleijie says the new legislation will also allow the police commissioner to give the media documentation detailing the criminal histories of gang members.
“I think as we fight the PR war from the criminal motorcycle gang members and their cashed-up, resourced lawyers, then this will allow the media to actually show Queenslanders the types of people that we’re dealing with,” he told reporters.
It’s also expected the government will close a legal loophole that allows criminal bikie gang members who have formally resigned from their club to escape prosecution.
At present, the legislation applies only to “a person (who) is a participant” of outlaw gangs, not “was”, meaning bikies who hand in their club colours can avoid being prosecuted under laws carrying tough new penalties.