Could it be that motorbike riders are becoming more political?
Let’s hope not!
One of the best things about a ride is leaving all that behind us and just enjoying the freedom of the road and the camaraderie of good mates.
However, issues such as this rally on Saturday about the new police powers that could heighten discriminatory harassment of bike riders, has truly hit home and forced us to take a political stance.
Brisbane rider Paul Keyworth has taken things further and wants to kickstart the Motorcyclists Australia Party.
Paul, who rides a 2008 B King and 1997 YZF1000 Thunderace, says the idea started on a ride the day after the federal election.
“We stopped at the Pit Stop Cafe at Mt Mee and were discussing the election result,” he says.
“People said they didn’t care and voted informal and I asked how they would feel if we started a party.”
He now has a constitution, 10 signatures for a committee and needs 500 petition signatures to register the party.
Petitions are located at the Pit Stop, Maialla Restaurant on Mt Glorious and Shark Leathers on the Gold Coast.
Australian Motorcycle Council chairman Shaun Lennard says he has spoken with Paul, but says the AMC is apolitical.
“We don’t support one or the other, however we are happy to be part of the discussion,” he says.
“Even if there was a party established, it wouldn’t guarantee we would support it.”
Shaun says the challenge for minor parties is not the issues they stand for but the other issues that crop up during a term of government.
“Where do they stand on border protection, asylum seekers, social security benefits, etc?” he asks.
“All the people I know in motorcycling, their views range from the far left to the far right and I don’t know how they will mesh behind a political party or on a particular issue.”
Paul says he doesn’t think in terms of “left” or “right” but he admits he comes from a social justice background.
“I just don’t like those labels,” he says.
However, he says his party would support legalising marijuana, euthanasia and filtering.
Paul has worked with people with disabilities, has taught hospitality in jails, and worked with the Red Cross, homeless and young people.
He also ran a social inclusion project for Julia Gillard for a couple of years securing housing and employment for families.
Shaun warned of the problem of political allegiances if elected and cited the fact that the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party has now sided with Clive Palmer in the Senate.
“I dare say there are lot of left-leaning supporters of AMEP who are not excited about that,” he says.
“However, if (MAP) was successful and created some weight in the Senate there would be some benefits for motorcyclists as well.”
Paul says he would never side with anyone and would avoid becoming like a politician.
“This is a big challenge,” he admitted.
He hopes to have candidates ready to stand for the next federal election.
Paul will be at the rally on Saturday handing out his petition.
He believes the proposed anti-bikie law that will allow police to stop riders in groups of three or more is “a complete intrusion on our freedom”.
If you would like to know more you can contact Paul at: firstname.lastname@example.org