This week the NSW government introduced, passed and gazetted legislation it claims is necessary to control the activities of “outlaw motorcycle gangs”. It was prompted by the brawl at Sydney airport in which a motorcycle gang member was murdered, and broadly based on similar SA legislation.
The government had claimed the legislation was too complex to introduce before June. Then it introduced it at such short notice that most MPs had just a few hours to review it before voting. Yet the only ones to vote against it were the socialist Greens. The Liberals, Nationals, Christian Democrats and both Shooters Party MLCs voted in favour.
The legislation introduces a mechanism for declaring organisations to be criminal so that restrictions can be placed on the activities of their members.
Organisations are declared by a Supreme Court judge on application from the police. The grounds may be secret “criminal intelligence” and evidence by “victims”, and can occur without notifying the organisation. There is no right of appeal or review. The police then apply for control orders on designated members of the organisation and the cancellation of their licences (as bookies or bouncers, handling cash at casinos, driving tow trucks, and firearms). Again, this can occur without their knowledge. The affected individuals are then served with notice of the control orders, advising them they may not associate with each other. There is an opportunity to appear in court after the orders have been served, with limited grounds for appeal. However, the consequences of the control order have immediate effect.