Bikies and the VLAD laws

bikie pic

Not in Queensland. Image credit ABC News

Bikies are bad. It’s that simple.

I’m not talking about guys on motorbikes who like to cruise around with their mates on a Sunday. I’m talking about the outlaw motorcycle gangs. They, too, like to cruise around on their bikes with their mates. But they are also like to deal in drugs and weapons. They are criminals.

In 2013, following a couple of incidents on the Gold Coast where bikies showed their disregard for not just the law, but society, the Queensland Government passed the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment (VLAD). They are harsh laws, the overwhelming aim of which is to make bikies change their minds or leave the state. The laws included highly controversial measures such as banning bikies from their own clubhouses and also wearing their ‘colours’.

When they were introduced, there was an outcry from the civil libertarians along with the bikies. They were labelled ‘draconian’ and ‘oppressive’ as well as ‘ineffective’ and ‘unlawful’. Appeals were made to the Supreme Court. Right now, the current Labor government who inherited the legislation from the LNP are looking at scrapping the controversial laws.

Whatever people may think of the laws themselves, it is important not to lose sight of the core principle behind them – bikies are bad.

This may not be immediately apparent. Bikies are sons and husband, brothers and fathers. They often lead ‘normal’ lives, running businesses and raising families. If you meet a bikie during the course of your day, you may wonder what the fuss is about.

The first clue comes from their own description of themselves. They call themselves ‘one percenters’, where the other 99% are law abiding. They proudly display ‘1%’ as part of their colours, to show the rules do not apply to them.

The violent crimes committed by bikies are mostly against each other or associates, and they don’t report them to police. Any time you hear on the news that the victim declined to talk to police, you can guess it is bikie-related. Although the violence is reserved for people known to them, they don’t care if anyone else gets in the way. They are comfortable with threats, extortion and blackmail in order to keep their activities under the radar. They are only held accountable for a small fraction of the crimes they commit.

A huge way in which bikies are a menace to society is through their involvement in the drug trade. As a police officer and a parent, I believe drugs such as ice and speed are the biggest scourge of today’s society and anything that can be done to keep drugs off the streets and away from potential new users is imperative to addressing this problem.

The way I see it, the laws may be excessive but they are a means to an end. I don’t want the laws watered down. I want bikies put on notice.

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11 thoughts on “Bikies and the VLAD laws

  1. Laws to make them leave the state just makes them another state’s problem. It doesn’t solve anything. Nor will they change their minds- I’m sure you know just how difficult it would be to leave a gang. I think the the law makers need to instead look at what makes people join these gangs. It’s the same as any other gang- OMG or terrorist group or extreme religious sect- our society marginalises certain groups. We refuse to let them belong, so they turn to others that will. I think the war on drugs is a pointless and in winnable one. We need to try something new.

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    • I think all the states should work together on this. I agree – there will always be people attracted to this culture but things such as the VLAD laws make it less attractive. I also agree that the war on drugs is like beating your head against a brick wall but I think anything that makes access to drugs harder (primarily for potential new users) is a step in the right direction. Thanks for your comments.

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  2. They’re pretty much modern-day outlaws, aren’t they? Unfortunately, in the same way we love to romanticise the ‘legend’ of Ned Kelly (who was basically a murderer), people are prone to misunderstanding – and mistakenly sympathising with – bikies as well.

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  3. I’m a little torn on this one. I completely agree something need(ed/s) to be done but not sure the original legislation got it right. I know the intent was there but it felt a bit desperate.

    I recall in my old job and life (even before VLAD laws came in) OMCGs were the subject of some high level discussions…

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  4. This is a difficult issue. I recall reading that members of such bikie gangs are usually a fairly dysfunctional lot and the gang provides them with a sense of family, belonging and emotional support. When we break up their ‘family’ they are left with very little and thus then impinge very obviously on the law abiding community through poor behaviour and criminal acts. So in one sense it may be better to leave them to be part of their gang and police them on the basis of when they do something illegal they pay the penalty — but belonging to their actual group is not made illegal. Until we as a community pay a lot more towards dealing with mental health issues then perhaps the gangs are the best of a bad solution. Jay, as usual, I enjoy reading your thoughts about these issues. Thank you.

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    • You make a good point about the function of gangs. But if it is just motorbikes they’re interested in, there are several legitimate clubs, such as Ulysses. I think the OMCGs exist because they embrace criminality – hence the 1%ers – and the sense of brotherhood is because they are all ruthless. Thanks for taking the time to read my opinions, and I appreciate your comments.

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  5. Your observations are typical of someone who finds it convenient to judge all guilty by mere association Is it possible your also religious and don’t believe that the church is complicit in the abuse subject sexually to children Or was it just a couple of priests. unlike you I accept not all coppers are thugs or discriminate but then someone like you pops up and I remember why I distrust authorities

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    • I wasn’t talking about ‘mere association’, I was talking about OMCG gang members. If you go through the lengthy process to become a bikie, you have made a clear decision to choose the ‘laws don’t apply to me’ lifestyle. That’s what I’m against.

      No, I’m not religious. What a very odd analogy to try to draw.

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      • How odd you say that Your saying that only bikies adopt the mindset that laws don’t apply to me
        What mindset do other groups or individuals who are accused , convicted , adopt when committing crimes is it well I’m not a bikie I respect the laws , but I’m going to break them anyways because I’m a criminal at heart judges call that behaviour deviate it describes action that is counter to public standard which translates to unlawful behaviour a drug dealer a thief a rapist a drunk driver child exploitation domestic battery a tax cheat but thank god I’m not a bikie sounds to me like you are trying to justify your discrimination I’m certainly not looking to argue with you I’m just perplexed why your attitude won’t allow the provisions for exceptions. That could or must infer that your observations are flawed hence my reference to the religious order just because some priests have committed vile acts on children does not mean that all priests are guilty or are complicit would you agree. If you do then where do you correlate your statement or distinguish some as opposed to all in your opinions on bikies where is your empirical measures without them one must conclude that your original statement is based on ignorance or discrimination

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      • The articles was about my opinions on bikies and the VLAD laws. That’s why I singled them out. It wasn’t about pedophiles, drink drivers or tax cheats. Might save that for next time.

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