The Australian Motorcycle Council will start a fighting fund to support any High Court challenge to new anti-bikie legislation. (IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SIGN THE PETITION AGAINST THESE DISCRIMINATORY LAWS, CLICK HERE.)
The AMC move comes as police have questioned a man over concerns he was a bikie because he was wearing a Sons of Anarchy t-shirt and another man was arrested wearing a Rebels belt buckle.
AMC chairman Shaun Lennard says recreational riders are being caught up in the Queensland government’s crackdown on outlaw motorcycle clubs, despite new laws passed by the Queensland Parliament naming only a set list of 26 so-called ‘criminal motorcycle gangs”.
“There are reports all over social media of riders being stopped from one end of Queensland to the other, with police telling them it’s all part of an information-gathering campaign,” Lennard said.
He says the decision to launch the Australian Motorcycle Council Rider Rights Fighting Fund “is not taken lightly”.
“We have maintained a watching eye over actions of various Australian state governments over the past four years; actions claimed to be getting tough on crime which have been repeatedly struck out by the High Court. Existing laws should be used to fight crime,” he says.
“The AMC maintains our position that we support any reasonable law enforcement action aimed at targeting crime. But what we’re seeing in Queensland is not reasonable, and it’s not targeted. The Queensland Government might claim that these laws are only aimed at 26 proscribed clubs, but what we’re seeing on the ground is different. The action is targeted alright – potentially at every recreational motorcyclist.
“We have been inundated with requests of how people can support a challenge to these laws. The Australian Motorcycle Council is not taking legal action. We are provided a secure and independent place for people from across the country to make donations.”
Lennard says the AMC has not used the term “rider rights” in a long time.
“The AMC is involved in consultation with a range of governments and other organisations on a range of motorcycling issues. We’re working to relieve congestion in Australia’s cities, and we’re a world-leading rider organisation when it comes to improving motorcycle safety globally,” he says.
“But this is different. This is simply about defending people’s right to ride, and to mix with friends.
“Any monies donated to this fund in the initial six months – by the end of April 2014 – will be quarantined for High Court action against the Queensland laws. We’ll review funding for any other actions after that time.”
The campaign launch comes on top of confirmation that a Queensland LNP parliamentarian has been told by premier Campbell Newman’s office that he was not to attend a motorcycle show taking place as part of last weekend’s Karunda Festival, near Cairns. Michael Trout is the Member for Barron River, elected to parliament last year.