#MYTH: The proposed legislation will be used to target other groups, like motorcycle clubs or football clubs.
#FACT: No. If you’re a member of one of Tasmania’s many law-abiding motorcycle clubs then the proposed colours prohibition laws will not affect you. The new laws are targeting criminal motorcycle gangs. Clubs like the Motorcycle Riders Association, Tasmanian Motorcycle Council, Harley Owners Group, Ulysses Club, God Squad and Vietnam Veterans etc won’t be affected.
#MYTH: The proposed new consorting laws will affect anyone who’s a member of an outlaw motorcycle gang, including children.
#FACT: No. The proposed consorting legislation will only apply to criminals convicted of serious offences who continue to associate with other criminals for criminal purposes.
#MYTH: Not all outlaw motorcycle gang members are bad – they are just guys who love to ride.
#FACT: Outlaw motorcycle gangs are criminal enterprise businesses who use the wearing of colours to recruit and intimidate members of the public. It’s also used to threaten people to deter them from reporting crime or giving evidence.
#MYTH: Outlaw motorcycle gangs aren’t a problem in Tasmania.
#FACT: There are currently a number of outlaw motorcycle gangs in Tasmania with a total of 259 outlaw motorcycle gang members. A number of members and former members have convictions for serious crime or have been in prison. Outlaw motorcycle gangs are first and foremost organised criminal gangs which are significant players in controlling the importation and distribution of drugs, especially ice and speed, into Tasmania. Their business model involves serious violence and drug trafficking and they are constantly trying to expand their numbers in Tasmania to increase their drug trafficking network.
#MYTH: People’s civil liberties are under threat.
#FACT: No. The proposed legislation strikes a balance between individual rights and the protection of the public. Unless you’ve been convicted of a serious crime, are over 18 years old and continue to commit crime – you won’t be affected. Other states have implemented strong laws to protect the community from outlaw motorcycle gangs. There’s a danger that if Tasmania doesn’t do the same, these gangs will move their activities into Tasmania.
#MYTH: Police time would be better spent dealing with crime.
#FACT: Crimes such as burglary, stealing, and armed robberies are often ice-related and there is clear evidence that outlaw motorcycle gangs are involved in the importation and distribution of drugs. Just because their criminality is not affecting you directly does not mean they are not contributing to crime. We need to ensure that the community feels safe and is safe.
#MYTH: Wearing a patch doesn’t make you a criminal
#FACT: If you aren’t a criminal involved in an outlaw motorcycle gang like the Rebels, Outlaws, Devils Henchmen or the Bandidos, we’re not interested in you. Outlaw motorcycle gangs are first and foremost organised criminal gangs whose members traffic drugs, launder money and use serious violence to extort money and enforce debts. They are not, as they would like you to believe, recreational motorcycle clubs.
#MYTH: Outlaw motorcycle gang members are a club, not a gang
#FACT: Outlaw motorcycle gangs can be distinguished from other motorcycle clubs by their criminal activities. The obvious overt sign is the “1%” image worn by outlaw motorcycle gang members, often displayed prominently on their leather jackets and frequently observed in tattoos on members.
The criminal activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs distinguish them from other recreational motorcycle groups who gather purely to socialise and ride motorcycles. Unlike these other bodies, outlaw motorcycle gangs self-identify as ‘1% ers’, their view being that if 99% of people who ride motorcycles are law abiding, they are the 1% who are not.
#MYTH: Not all outlaw motorcycle gang members are bad. It’s a police/media beat up
#FACT: The activity of outlaw motorcycle gang members ranges from public nuisance through to high level organised criminal activity and involvement with some of the most significant criminal syndicates operating in Australia. Outlaw motorcycle gangs are involved in violence, murders, shootings, drug manufacture and distribution, and intimidation. The reach of outlaw motorcycle gangs is not restricted by state or national borders. Criminal activities conducted by outlaw motorcycle gangs are often facilitated by their involvement in both legitimate and illegitimate business.
#MYTH: Outlaw motorcycle gangs should be welcome as long as they behave themselves. Police are over-reacting.
#FACT: Outlaw motorcycle gangs are significant players in controlling the importation and distribution of drugs, especially ice and speed, into Tasmania. Their business model involves serious violence and drug trafficking and they are constantly trying to expand their numbers in Tasmania to increase their drug trafficking network. Tasmania does not want to become a safe haven for these gangs. Other States have implemented strong laws to protect the community from them and there is a danger that if Tasmania does not do the same, these gangs will increase their criminal activities here.
#MYTH: The new laws are unconstitutional. It will stop people from having contact with their family.
#FACT: No. In 2014, the High Court ruled in a 6:1 majority, that NSW’s consorting legislation was valid.
The High Court accepted that it was ‘reasonably appropriate…to serve the legitimate end of the prevention of crime’. Our laws will have defences for consorting that occurs with family members, for seeing a lawyer, a probation officer, a doctor, work, training, and religious or lawful political protest activity, amongst other defences.
#MYTH: It’s just scaremongering.
#FACT: The size and influence of outlaw motorcycle gangs in Australia has expanded considerably over the past decade. Tasmania has 259 outlaw motorcycle gang members – that’s more than South Australia. With new laws being introduced in other states, it’s likely the outlaw motorcycle gangs will come here in even greater numbers.