Fear a factor in deterring submissions

Tasmania Police says fear of outlaw motorcycle gangs was a key factor in receiving only four supportive submissions out of 102 in relation to the proposed Outlaw Motorcycle Gang legislation.

“We know that people are afraid of outlaw motorcycle gangs – their violence, their drug dealing and their threats – and this is undoubtedly a key reason as to why only four supportive submissions were received,” said Acting Assistant Commissioner Tony Cerritelli.

“Those in the debt of outlaw motorcycle gangs through drug use and those who have experienced first-hand their violence and intimidation would be quite understandably too fearful to make a submission.

Despite strong media support for increasing public understanding of the fact that the proposed legislation to ban colours will only apply to identified outlaw motorcycle gangs, a large number of submissions opposed the legislation on the false understanding it will apply to regular recreational motorcycle groups.

“Those with vested interests have promoted a lot of misinformation about the laws and who they will apply to.

“The banning of colours will only apply to clubs that exist for the sole purpose of profiting through drug trafficking, violence and other criminality. Currently in Tasmania these are The Black Uhlans, The Devil’s Henchmen, The Outlaws, The Rebels and The Bandidos.

Genuine recreational, lawful clubs will not be affected,” A/Assistant Commissioner Cerritelli said.

“Tasmania is at risk of being the safe haven in Australia for outlaw motorcycle gangs. Other states have implemented laws to make it difficult for these criminal organisations to conduct their business and if we don’t act we will see more and more setting up here,” he said.

Opposition to the consorting legislation was based largely on examples of it being used elsewhere to charge outlaw motorcycle gang members with consorting when they were seeing their lawyer or going to court.

“If people read the information pack online it’s clear that the proposed Tasmanian legislation has strong mechanisms in place to prevent it being used in these kinds of circumstances, or against family members,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Cerritelli said.