03 December, 2013

We're Not Gonna Take It

Sunday just gone we headed into the city early to join one of many protest rallies being held throughout the state of Queensland and other major Australian cities to voice our concerns over the newly introduced VLAD legislation or the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Bill. The pdf I have just linked to is the official legislation of the Queensland government. I know 17 pages is a lot to read through but these new laws which Premier Campbell Newman has introduced are an atrocious violation of civil liberties and are very scary in their broad definitions. It's an issue that has the potential to negatively affect a lot of people and it is well worth becoming aware of the effects it could have on you.
This controversial legislation was introduced with little to no public consultation, because the majority of the public strongly disagree with it. Under the guise of targeting 'criminal bikie gangs' and the 'war on drugs', these laws are in no way specific to these sections of society and have been intentionally worded to incorporate almost all members of society and the potential for them to be used against all of us is downright frightening. Marketed as necessary legislation, the political spin fails to recognise that the laws are in no way limited to these alleged criminal elements.
Aside from drawing unnecessary and discriminatory attention to a broad selection of members of the community including recreational motorbike riders and enthusiasts, tattoo shop owners and tattooed members of society, the new laws impose heavy mandatory sentences on any individuals deemed to be 'vicious lawless associates'. Regardless of the offence, individuals deemed to be 'vicious lawless associates' will receive an automatic mandatory sentence of 15 years in addition to the standard sentence (yes, even if the sentence would only be a fine or community service) or an additional 25 years if you are an office bearer (president, treasurer, etc) of an association.
While the government maintains that ordinary citizens will not be affect by this legislation, the proof remains that they already are. Protest organiser and President of Queensland's Liberal Democrats, Gabriel Buckley has reported that some recreational riders are being stopped up to three times on their way to work. Personally, I know of legitimate tattoo artists and shop owners who have built a reputation for excellent work and who have honed their craft for decades and who are now losing business, being harassed by police and are now required to submit their finger prints - none of whom are members of so called bikie gangs.

However I think the worst so far was the raid on the Vietnam Veterans Club House. What disrespect to men who put their lives on the line and served our country to guarantee our freedom. A freedom that is now under threat. If ever I've heard of a group of men who need to spend time with each other to heal and who can understand what each other has been through, it's these men. Sadly both the media and government choose to ignore the thousands of dollars raised each year by the charitable activities of motorcycle clubs. Speaking of which, all protest rally attendees were encouraged to bring toys to donate to the Smith Family for disadvantaged children on Christmas. Pretty tough crims, eh?
There are many details and complexities to this bill which is best explained by this article on Guest Lawyers, including examples of its practical applications and implications in wider society. If you read no other literature regarding these new laws, read this! It's scary stuff people! I don't normally post about politics here or anywhere else but this is really important to me and a lot of people I know and it should be important to you too!

The turnout on Sunday was fantastic and the sight of thousands of bikes streaming into the city was extremely impressive, not to mention the noise! But it's time we all made some noise about this new VLAD legislation and let these dodgy politicians know that we will not have our freedoms infringed upon. So if you see a petition sign it, a cause join it and get ready to raise your voice at the next rally on Australia Day. Before it's too late. Before you or someone you know and love is serving a mandatory 15 or 25 year prison sentence.

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