The fashion police will be out in force in Queensland where “bikie colours” will be banned in public because they create fear; although there may be a loophole.
The controversial ban is one of many proposals under the Queensland Labor Government’s long-awaited review of the controversial VLAD laws.
While there is a little relief for some motorcycle riders in the proposed laws, the ban on colours has been extended from licensed venues to any public place because “members of the public have the right to enjoy themselves in licensed premises free from any fear or intimidation”.
Although the fines on licensed venues have been reduced, those who wear colours in public would be fined up to $45,712 on a first offence and face 18 months’ jail on a third offence.
Ex-Detective Inspector and now university professor Terry Goldsworthy says “we now have the fashion police alive and well in Queensland”.
“I look forward to seeing the evidence of linkage between the wearing of an item of clothing in public and the commission of acts of organised crime activity,” he says.
However, there is an interesting loophole in the new laws that allows you to wear “colours” for a “genuine artistic, educational, legal or law-enforcement purpose”.
While most motorcycle clubs forbid their colours and official logos to be worn or used by non members, the Hells Angels make big business out of selling supporter fashion gear.
It is unknown whether you would be allowed to wear such apparel under the new legislation’s “loophole”. You could argue you are wearing it for a “genuine artistic, educational or legal” purpose.
And what about “pseudo colours” of recreational clubs such as Ulysses, the fictional Sons of Anarchy or colours of overseas bikie gangs not operating in Australia? Would these be considered to cause fear among the public and land you in jail?
How would the police practically be able to patrol such laws? After all, shortly after VLAD was introduced police accidentally arrested a Mt Isa man for showing his “colours” because he was wearing a Sons of Anarchy t-shirt.
And what would they make of this t-shirt?
Unlike the previous government’s 11th-hour rushed legislation, these proposals will be debated in coming months and aren’t planned to be introduced for at least two years, or after the next election.
Many of the intricate details are yet to be sorted out and there will be a five-year review of the new laws.
The good news is that members of declared outlaw motorcycle club will not be prevented from working in various industries such as tattooing, electrical, security, towing, racing and plumbing.
However, Terry attacks the proposed new consorting laws for those over the age of 18.
“The person accused of consorting does not need to have any criminal history, only those they consort with do,” he says.
“Those included as being capable of consorting include anyone convicted of an indictable offence for which the maximum penalty is at least five years’ imprisonment. That would include a lot of people convicted of having possession of a couple of joints of marijuana. Why this wasn’t limited to organised crime offences is beyond me.
“You might also have to be careful of who you LinkedIn with, befriend on Facebook and don’t like the Tweets of those you don’t know as electronic communications is now expressly provided for.”