Harley: anti-bikie laws will ‘blow over’

HarleyThe hysteria over the anti-bikie laws will “blow over fairly quickly”, says Harley-Davidson Australia director of marketing Adam Wright.
While he admits that Vicious Lawless Associations Disestablishment (VLAD) Act and the proposed hotline to register rides with the police are “a bit scary”, he says we should learn from a similar crackdown on West Australian bikies in the 1990s.
“We did see some similar circumstances in Western Australia about 10-15 years ago which did have some impact on your average Harley-riding citizen where there was an element of concern about being wrongly targeted by the police,” he says.
“However, once the police were educated on the target audience it blew over fairly quickly.”
He says the meeting this week of recreational motorcycle groups, including HOG, with Police Minister Jack Dempsey and Police Commissioner Ian Stewart suggested police needed similar education.
“They said they would be educating their frontline units to ensure that they do target the right people,” he says.
Police may find it easy to get confused, especially if riders wear memorial ride patches and celebration patches.
“We certainly don’t recommend that any HOG members wear any skull vests which we don’t in this country, unlike some other countries,” Adam says.
Adam says Harley is not against a crackdown on organised crime activity, but is “a little concerned about the process”.
“We feel it’s a bit of blunt approach and not specifically targeted towards criminal activities and organisations,” he says.
“It may affect or impact on some of the independent rider groups out there.”
He says the police could easily be confused whether a Harley rider was an innocent citizen or a criminal bikie.
“Obviously these guys (OMC) are customers of ours as well because they do a lot of hard miles and they want a vehicle that is good quality, reliable and stands up to the test.
“That’s why they ride Harleys.
“We don’t condone any illegal activities, but from where we stand we are concerned about independent rider groups and if they are affected in any way from the fallout of these laws.”
Adam emphasised that motorcycle riders, particular Harley riders and HOG members, do “a lot of good things” for the community.
He pointed to the recent Harley-sponsored Pink Ribbon Rides that attracted more than 1000 bikes in Sydney alone and raised more than $80,000 for breast cancer research.
“A good majority of those were Harleys,” he says.
He also mentioned their sponsorship of Soldier On for returning servicemen, Layne Beachley’s Reach for the Stars, the Black Dog Ride “and the list goes on”.
“There is a lot of good that Harley does, so there is no denying it is of concern to us,” he says.
However, he played down fears that small groups of recreational riders out for a joy ride, rather than an organised group ride, would be targeted.
“From what the commissioner said there is the potential to target any larger riding groups.
They may be pulled over,” he says. “But I don’t think it will affect three or four mates out for a ride.”
He says the police are in the process of setting up an online register for any rider groups through Queensland.
“It will note that they are passing through certain towns, at certain times and with certain riders,” he says.
“We do support this, if they are trying to protect the public from illegal activities.
“If it’s a way to ensure that independent rider groups can still carry on, then yes it has to be done.
“Some may be concerned, but if you are a law-abiding citizen and doing what you do and just having fun there is no concern, even if you are pulled over by a member of the police.”

22 Comments

  1. Alanbstardmp, are you serious or taking the piss? Nothing to fear? I thought you were a student of history mate. And history shows the slippery slope of the erosion of civil liberties once Governments believe they can get away with it. Obviously you didn’t live in Queensland in the 1970’s.

  2. Bad analogy Chris

    “”The fight against Germany has now been waged for months by every Jewish community, on every conference, in all labor unions and by every single Jew in the world. There are reasons for the assumption that our share in this fight is of general importance. We shall start a spiritual and material war of the whole world against Germany. Germany is striving to become once again a great nation, and to recover her lost territories as well as her colonies. But our Jewish interests call for the complete destruction of Germany.” ~ Valadimir Jabotinsky, in Mascha Rjetsch, January, 1934

  3. And let’s not forget the core of the matter. We are doing NOTHING illegal. So why are we treated as criminals? Newman may as well go to the logical extreme and just ban all motorcycles from Queensland roads and be done with it.

  4. So what’s next when pulling riders over fails to detect large numbers of OMC members? Maybe id cards for all and uniformed police with checkpoints on the streets asking to see your “papers”.

  5. Trevor Y, the rationale that ‘if you are doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear’ is exactly the complacent attitude that is destroying effective democracy. It is an anathema to authentic democracy that citizens be screened to ensure he or she is doing no wrong. That is exactly the way fascist and national socialist states conduct their relationship with their citizens. We are all (and I mean ALL) entitled to the presumption of innocence at all times, not only after being accused of an offence. That you personally surrender that right erodes my right to demand that fundamental liberty.

    1. Trevor , the expression ‘ if you have done nothing wrong , you have nothing to fear ‘ was originally coined by Josef Goebells to allay the concerns of Germany’s pre WW2 Jewish population , need I say more or is the conclusion obvious ?

    2. and what would you know about fascist states. God that word is over used. If you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear is correct

  6. TrevorY. Your naïveté and acceptance that all police will act in a sensible manner is based on misplaced trust. There are so many examples, past and present of police powers being abused – see the Clive Palmer story on this site. There is an alternative. A political one offered by the Motorcyclists Australia Party. I’m struggling to get 500 signatures for registration due to the lack of engagement by bikers or apathy or whatever, yet 10,000 signed Mark’s petition. What’s wrong with this picture?? Go onto the facebook page. Make sure you put ‘The’ before the MAP and have your say.

  7. So far the commentary has been critical of Adam Wrights position, yet I am to see any constructive alternative measures being put forth to combat this escalating problem we have in society. I was living in Perth working during the 90’s and did see first hand the war between rival gangs on the streets. The police were pulling over Harley riders doing checks and letting us go on our merry way. If you’re a law abiding citizen and have nothing to hide, then I don’t understand what the issue is. Whilst many civil libertarians are up in arms due to the suggested changes to the laws, would you prefer the Bikies continue their wanton violence and drug distribution that may affect our children and friends in todays society? I think not.

    1. TrevorY, the catchphrase..”If you’re a law abiding citizen and have nothing to hide, then I don’t understand what the issue is.”.. is used far too often in these latter years The ISSUE is a further reduction in our personal freedoms, that will flow on to other sectors of the population. Newman is out to make a name for himself, that is all he is doing.

      The cops KNOW who the bad office bearers are in these outlaw clubs, go arrest them and leave the vast majority of riders alone. I refuse to give a ride itinerary with details of what towns and times I will be going through them, who will be with me if there is more than 3 riders, etc, prior to any ride. Should we meet some more mates along the ride route, we would not be able to ride with them according to the tweaks being applied to these new laws.

      Australians need to stand up and be counted. To show that we will not allow Our Freedoms to be taken away from us by some kneejerk reaction of those we pay and vote into office to do Our Bidding.

      Alternative methods? You do know the biggest problem with the outlaw clubs is they have been infiltrated by mostly-Arabic immigrants intent on continuing their historical criminal activities in Our Country?

      So, how about insuring the immigration policies and processes that allow these a-holes in get tightened up to prevent the same things from happening again?

      1. the OMG bosses are company directors. Rules of company law states one must be a fit and proper person to be a director. Cops should contact ASIC and declare them banned as directors

    2. Trevor , the problem is that the Police are knowingly pulling over people they are reasonably sure have nothing to do with 1%’ers . Stories are coming in about threats to issue defects etc unless ‘ intel ‘ is supplied and also of Police pulling over bikes AND cars as they leave Harley Dealerships and doing searches etc etc . The other issue is the simultaneous inclusion of motorcycles in the revised anti-hoon laws which could theoretically see any bike with a non ADR approved exhaust system impounded for 90 days for ‘ knowingly making excess noise ‘ . This is FAR worse that the crackdown in WA . Female riders are getting harassed also , no females are patchwearers as far as I know .

  8. Mr Wright, I do appreciate your opinions, but I cannot agree with what you infer. Yes I do believe it will blow over but not until the ignorance of the Qld Premier and Attorney General is brought to light and dealt with. Not only in this matter but also their standover tactics with the judicial system.
    The reason I pay taxes and registration is so that I can ride whenever, wherever and with whoever I choose, unimpeded. The fact that we have criminal activity in the motorcycle sector is a pity, but the government and police need to think outside the square and do their job in a far more discerning manner. It must be realised that for every minute a police officer is tied up doing licence and character checks on innocent motorcyclists, there would probably be a robbery, break and enter, drunk driver incident etc. taking place at that time.
    So I feel what you are saying is rather moot

  9. What a load of BS. These paid-for-by-your-taxes Public Servants DO NOT NEED to know where you and your law-abiding mates are riding, what time you’ll be going through any towns and who is riding with you. “When Injustice becomes Law, Resistance is DUTY.”

  10. Adam Wright sounds a bit like Neville Chamberlain in 1939, waving a piece of paper and declaring ‘Peace in our time,’ and where did that lead? The ‘she’ll be right attitude’ is unhelpful and myopic. Like the other bodies allegedly representing motorcyclists’ interests, being apolitical or apathetic is as good as endorsing the current shutdown of the democratic process. Time to wake from your slumber and get active, not through aggressive activity, but by being strategic and forward thinking.

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