Civil Liberties

Rebel Without a Legislative Act



Think waiting in a long queue at the airport landing mat is the worst part of arrival? Try getting bludgeoned to death moments after exiting the plane.

Gang warfare erupted in Sydney Airport's domestic Qantas terminal yesterday when up to 15 bikies fatally bashed a rival in front of terrified passengers.

The 28-year-old man, believed to be a member of a bikie gang, was treated for severe head injuries at the airport but later died at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

Yeah, a "bikie gang" sounds more like a bunch of boys terrorizing across the playground on Fisher-Price trikes. But the incident has rekindled debate about how to control gang violence, and Australian officials are calling for national legislation that would make bikie gangs—and membership in them—illegal.

An "anti-bikie" law already exists in South Australia, and New South Wales is looking at similar legislation, which allows the attorney general to declare gangs and organizations illegal "without any challenge or appeal." Groups more dangerous than motorcycle gangs have also begun making a fuss about the proposed law in NSW, which could extend far beyond the asphalt:

Lawyers and human rights defenders representing six groups have written to the [NSW] Premier, Nathan Rees, demanding to know why they were not consulted on the plan to extend already "unnecessary" police powers.

The NSW Attorney-General introduced legislation to Parliament this month that would allow police to search the homes of people not suspected of any crime, but whose homes adjoined those of people who are. The laws build on state terrorism legislation in 2002.

Bikie gangs are preparing for a real fight by—yep—banding together. Objecting to their freedom of assembly rights (among others) being violated, motorcyclists have formed a political party, Free Australia, as well as organizing poker runs protesting legislation.

As today's op-ed in the Sydney Morning Herald shows, the debate hasn't divided the country between upright citizens and mangy motorcycle thugs. The SMH sums up the argument pretty well:

Immediately after Sunday's events, politicians vied with each other to look tough…

This State Government passes draconian laws too readily. NSW already has perhaps the harshest anti-terrorism laws in the country. The Government is seeking, unjustifiably in our view, to extend to other crimes than terrorism the right of police to search houses covertly. Introducing South Australian-style gang laws, which allow the Police Commissioner and the Attorney-General to proscribe organisations while keeping secret their reasons for doing so, is a dangerous overreaction—one which infringes on ordinary democratic rights while not addressing the problem.   

… The various outrages committed in Sydney's continuing gang war—assaults, drive-by shootings, murders—are already illegal. So, of course, are drug-dealing and gun-running….

Like anti-terrorism laws, this legislation blurs the lines between real threats and government nuisances. The distinction, though, should be clear. That is, until Hezbollah members jump on the back of Harleys and call themselves the Hell's Bowlers.

Reason has discussed Australia's disdain for gang fun before. 


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  1. Thank God the guys in that picture are wearing shorts. When I see a rainbow of Vespas (and this is the first time), I think “gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay…”


  2. Raivo Pommer


    Italien wird wohl eines der ersten L?nder sein, mit denen die Schweiz ?ber ein neues Doppelbesteuerungsabkommen verhandeln wird.

    Die Schweizer Aussenministerin Micheline Calmy-Rey hat am Montag in Rom ihrem italienischen Amtskollegen Franco Frattini die Lockerung des Schweizer Bankgeheimnisses gegen?ber Ausl?ndern erl?utert und die Position der Schweiz dargelegt.

    Frattini m?chte mit ?konkreten Massnahmen? auf die vom Bundesrat am 13. M?rz beschlossene Auflockerung des Bankgeheimnisses reagieren, wie er nach dem Treffen mit Calmy-Rey sagte. Zur Debatte steht eine Revision des Doppelbesteuerungsabkommens nach den internationalen Standards. Sowohl Calmy-Rey als auch Frattini bezeichneten das Verh?ltnis zwischen Italien und der Schweiz als vorz?glich.

  3. We need more laws like that here and laws to control bashers like sage too.

  4. STFU, bitch.

  5. sage,

    You are missing Elemenope beat up a girl in the pets are slavery reason endorsed puppy love thread. He might need some help. Perhaps JiggleTits should join in too.

  6. Oh please, I hope our post-apocalyptic biker-gang future isn’t rainbow colored.

  7. Pooter Looters on Scooters.

  8. I suggest we summon our primate overlords to squash this bikie gang uprising:

  9. I’m hoping that saying “bikie” with a bad-ass Aussie accent doesn’t sound as ridiculous and pussified as it does in American tongue, but I’m betting it does.

  10. And I thought Quadraphenia was the ultimate in Vespa gang violence.

  11. That picture reminds me of Gaye Bykers on Acid. A band I was in opened up for them in on their (rather problematic) 1990 US tour.

  12. Back in the mid 80’s I was working for the government, and stationed in the Mediterranean. There was an Italian hamlet nearby. The local hooligans would ride mopeds and hang out in front of the gelateria (i.e. ice cream parlor). To be fair, you could buy beer at the gelataria, but the young toughs never did. They just stood out front looking cool, licking their cones.

    When I was in Spain a huge moped gang (over one hundred) rode down the road one day like they were Hell’s Angels. The sound of a hundred wining mopeds killed the illusion.

    Born to miiiiiild

  13. “Gang fun” = beating a guy to death? That’s a leap, even for “Reason.” But if it allows you to make fun of queers, I guess it all makes sense. To Reason.

  14. Seriously, Australia, “bikies?”

  15. I wonder if Toecutter and Kightrider were in a “bikie” gang.

  16. “Knightrider”.

  17. Assuie: Ah Bugger . . .

    Me: I think you mean something different than when my English co-workers say that . . .

    Aussie: I recokon so . . .

  18. Effeminacy in Australian biker gangs? Really? For real?

  19. Whoa! And we thought things were bad in the US, Hells Angel?s and Banditos move over, these scooter thugs are serious, this reminds me of our silly government reacting to the chimp scare of 2009. -MJL

  20. “Knightrider”.

    The Night Rider. That was his name, the Night Rider. Remember him when you look at the night sky.

  21. Whoops, Tim, you know what David Hasselhoff shows do to you. They mess up your brain.

  22. One of the most prominent features of Australasian slang is the addition of “y” sounds to the ends of words, often in combination with contraction. Hence bikie. c.f. Nicknames, e.g. Nathan Astle = Asty, Matthew Ridge = Ridgy, anyone called Smith = Smithy, Zinzan Brooke = Zinny, Sean Fitzpatrick = Fitzy. Interesting exceptions come with names already ending in y, e.g. Muzza or Muz for Murry, and Barry is always Bazza or Buzz.

    It is unknown whether anyone referred to as Buzz is required to be a bit “wild” and participate in activities such as extreme sports or psychedelic drug consumption.

    ps. Members of genuinely menacing motor cycle gang criminal organisations that murder witnesses, run vertically integrated crystal meth operations, conduct gang rapes etc really are referred to as bikies. (pronounced bike-ies)

  23. As the Ayatolla of Rock and Rolla, I’m getting a kick out of these pansy blokes on Vespas.

  24. Most people over here in OZ think the government is going too far with these laws. And yes, bikie in an Aussie or Kiwi accent doesn’t really sound effeminate. You wouldn’t say that to their faces either, some of these guys are pretty mean hombres.

  25. Seriously, Australia, “bikies?”

    “Bikies”? Crikie!

  26. Why doesn’t Australia just ban hurting people?

    Everyone would be so calm and peaceful!

    Okay, I’ll stop the sarcasm. They need to stop pretending like a law is going to solve all of their problems and legalize open-carry of hand-guns.

  27. No, Epi was right. It’s Knight Rider.

    And thanks, now I have the theme song running through my head. The original, not the stupid remake that’s on now.

    Damn kids today.

  28. Posting that Moped pic didn’t do the subject matter any favors. It’s a pretty serious civil liberties attack in Australia with similar activities in Canada and California (attempted confiscation of Mongols insignia).

    While there is no shortage of criminal activity surrounding some of these folks it is mostly being overblown as a way to get funding. Think Patriot Act.

    There may also be a racial angle at work in AU as well. The amount of Arab influence in the 1% clubs is upticking.

    All that said you still have to wonder why “outlaws” are upset at being outlawed.

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  30. Colorful Race,also See some of the largest bike events in the country
    and see someone ride an American Chopper.

  31. See some of the largest bike events in the country
    and someone ride an American Chopper.

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