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FactCheck: will the Queensland bikie laws affect innocent riders?

“This legislation will target only criminal motorcycle gang members. Other law abiding motorbike riders have nothing to worry about,” Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, press release, October…

The new laws against bikie gangs in Queensland are meant to be ‘tough’ but will innocent riders be affected? AAP image

“This legislation will target only criminal motorcycle gang members. Other law abiding motorbike riders have nothing to worry about,” Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, press release, October 8.

As part of a statewide crackdown, the Queensland government last week passed new laws targeting outlaw bikie gangs.

Queensland is now one of a few states attempting to target and prevent crimes associated with motorcycle gangs. But there are concerns, particularly from civil liberties groups who see the law as impinging on personal freedoms.

Repeating the claim above by Jarrod Bleijie, state premier Campbell Newman said in a statement last week that “law-abiding motorcyclists have nothing to fear”.

But the Australian Council for Civil Liberties says otherwise, claiming that inevitably innocent riders will be affected.

So who’s right? And what do the new laws really do?

The new laws

The new Queensland legislation targets “participants” or “vicious lawless associates” of named associations. To date, the associations are 26 outlaw motorcycle gangs, which include gangs like the Bandidos, Finks and Mongols.

The “participants” are defined as anyone who declares or advertises their membership of an association, including those who wear gangs patches. But it would also include those who are “non-patched” members of the gangs and others who associate with the club. At this time, it is not clear who this might include.

“Vicious lawless associates” are those who commit one of the serious offences named in the bill.

Under these definitions, there are a couple of ways in which non-gang riders and others may be affected by the legislation.

They could either be targeted by police on the suspicion that they belong to or are associated with a named outlaw motorcycle gang. Or they could be an innocent person who meets the definition of “associating” with an outlaw motorcycle gangs.

Suspicious minds

Under these new laws the police are able to stop and search people on suspicion of being a member or associate of one of the named outlaw motorcycle gangs. But the main way to identify a gang member is by the credentials on their back – their “patch”.

It’s hard to see what suspicion the police can have that a group of riders belongs to an outlaw motorcycle gang other than their patch. But it is largely left open to police interpretation and has the potential for confusion.

This has already been demonstrated by recent reports that two police officers confused a man’s Sons of Anarchy t-shirt, which featured a fictitious bikie gang symbol from the popular HBO series, with that of an outlaw motorcycle gang patch.

And we already have anecdotal evidence of non-outlaw motorcycle gangs groups attracting police attention and harassment.

Jacques Teamo, a member of the Bandidos bike gang, one of many bike gangs targeted by the new Queensland laws. (AAP Image

Regarding the second point, the definition of an “associate” is very broad and includes taking part “on any one or more occasions in the affairs of the association in any way”.

We do not know how the courts will interpret this definition, but the potential for affecting innocent people is certainly there. For example, the courts could well see a person who conducts a legitimate business, like installing air conditioners into a clubhouse or even hiring out a van to be used by a club, as an “associate”. This sees the potential for law-abiding people to get caught up in legal proceedings.

So while law-abiding people are not the target of the laws, they definitely have the potential to be collateral damage.

Verdict

The legislation specifically targets people who are associated with named outlaw motorcycle gangs. But its definition of this association is loose and allows opportunities for innocent people to be caught by the legislation.

In the end, the statement that law abiding motorbike riders have “nothing to worry about” cannot be claimed with any certainty.


Review

I agree with the author that the assertion that law-abiding motorbike riders have “nothing to worry about” is not entirely accurate. Without narrower definitions and measures in place to protect against overzealous policing, there is a real risk that the laws will be used expansively, as occurred with the NSW consorting laws passed last year.

The first person convicted under those laws was a mentally impaired young man who had no connection with bikie groups. He was sentenced to nine months in prison, although this was subsequently overturned.

There is a real concern about the potential impact of this kind of legislation on the general public. - Lorana Bartels.

Ever seen a “fact” that doesn’t look quite right? The Conversation’s FactCheck unit asks academic experts to test claims and see how true they really are. We then ask a second academic to review an anonymous copy of the article.

You can request a check at checkit@theconversation.edu.au. Please include the statement you would like us to check, the date it was made, and a link if possible.

Join the conversation

101 Comments sorted by

  1. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    So what's the other option - do nothing.

    These gangs have established sophisticated crime regimes and are affiliated with other gangs worldwide. Better to deal with the problem on the heavy-handed side now, rather than have an impossible situation later.

    It may already be too big to control, and perhaps yet another reason why to change drug laws and legalise many drugs now illegal.
    Drugs is probably not the only business of these gangs, but it would certainly be a staple of income.

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    1. susan walton

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Exactly. What on earth is the answer! The cops can never win it seems....and neither can the public.... no..it's all about the criminals and their rights, and rarely the victims who are forgotten about in our modern day thinking of desperately seen to be 'fair'.

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    2. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to susan walton

      Yesterday I spoke of education and rehabilitation. These are important ingredients in controlling crime, and hopefully reducing the number of potential criminals.

      But we are saddled with a panoply of career criminals who make life miserable for their victims. I know the three strikes policy is a tad draconian in the wrong hands, but when going gets tough the tough get going.

      Or we could let the people in immigration detention out, and put the recidivists in - with no revolving door.

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    3. Jeff Haddrick

      field manager

      In reply to susan walton

      The Queensland option seems to be to pass laws like headless chooks. Speaking of chooks, a few public incidents of dimwit bikies running amok and the chooks think the sky is falling in.
      It's not about criminals and their rights it's about the rights of every one.
      There were enough existing laws to deal with these matters.
      The poor police have shown a propensity to abuse any law or equipment at their disposal.
      Westminster democratic system: separation of powers
      Queensland democratic system: usurpation of powers
      back to the Jackboot Joh days - pathetic

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    4. Gavin Moodie
      Gavin Moodie is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Adjunct professor at RMIT University

      In reply to susan walton

      The better option is to enforce the existing laws which are easily adequate to convict criminal behaviour. These ancillary offences of conspiracy and association leave too much discretion to the police and courts to discriminate against people because law enforcement doesn't like the look of them, and transgresses the fundamental right of association.

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    5. Meg Thornton

      Dilletante

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Here's a suggestion, and it's based on a tactic which worked in the past: give the ATO a big personnel and training budget, and tell them "an auditing you shall go". Get some data sharing happening between the ATO and the police (the police supply the targets, the ATO goes checking through their books with a fine-toothed comb) and see what you can flush out by way of tax evasion, illegal earnings and so on. Accumulate evidence of wrongdoing, and build bullet-proof cases against the targets. Make…

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    6. Michael Rogers

      Retired

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      The other option is to gather evidence of criminal activity and prosecute according to law.
      Incompetent police forces have the fantasy that both could be made to be unnecessary.

      You are on the right track concerning the witless 'drug' laws.

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    7. Michael Rogers

      Retired

      In reply to susan walton

      The "cops don't win" unless you want a police state where you are a criminal on the say so of the police or other state official. The right to innocence until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt should never be surrendered. Ruling elites from time to time test the imagination of those they rule by attempts to wind back that right.

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    8. Ray Hughes

      IT Worker

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      "It may already be too big to control, and perhaps yet another reason why to change drug laws and legalise many drugs now illegal."

      Agreed. Let's imagine... The "bikie menace" is now contained, all appeals based on human rights are somehow unsuccessful, and every single "outlaw motorcycle gang member or associate" is behind bars. Serco are happily "donating" to LNP party funds in return for their new profit stream.

      So bikies are no longer running illicit drugs and the drug problem is solved…

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    9. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Meg Thornton

      Bit like Al Capone.....if you can't get him anywhere else, jail him for tax evasion.

      Sic 'em Tax Peeps.

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    10. Robert Tony Brklje
      Robert Tony Brklje is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired

      In reply to susan walton

      Here is the way it works. It is about protecting your rights and your families rights and the best way of doing that is by protecting the rights of others. The bar should be set as low as possible in order to ensure you and your families rights are always protected.
      They are not just bikie gang members they are Australian citizens. Their rights, like freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of association should be protected in order to protect you rights. When they commit an actual crime…

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    11. Ian Rudd

      Retired accountant

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      There is more to these "association" laws than targeting bikie gangs. There is an increasing trend towards ditching civil liberties and mandating severe sentences for various crimes etc that is worrisome to put it mildly. The draconian security and civil liberty curtailment around the upcoming G20 meeting is another example of such anti-democratic laws being thrust on us.

      As was famously said by pastor Martin Niemöller as the Nazis went about their business in the late thirties;

      "First they…

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    12. Ian Rudd

      Retired accountant

      In reply to Ray Hughes

      Hey! How about outlawing tattoos for without them the bikie is nothing?

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    13. Jeff Payne

      PhD in Political Science and Masters in Public Policy

      In reply to Ian Rudd

      You are spot on Ian.

      I think, and this might sound strange, that it really all began with random breath testing. Although popular now, it was not at the time it was introduced. I know this might not be a popular thing to say but I really do think that a law which empowers police to trawl, without even the suspicion of a crime, for criminal actions is simply wrong. This is the start of what could be called 'active policing' as contrasted to 'passive policing'. Active policing is the attempt to…

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    14. Ian Rudd

      Retired accountant

      In reply to Jeff Payne

      Jeff I agree with you about random breath testing as perhaps the first step down that slippery slope we are both so concerned about.

      Another thing we have to bear in mind is that neither the police nor the military are here for the protection of the people - at least that is not their ultimate function as can clearly be seen by their violent responses to the Occupy movement both in the US and here (Melbourne) and throughout the world in the various uprisings that have taken place.

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  2. Julie Leslie

    GIS Coordinator

    This article rests on a flawed premise: that the police and crime commissions do not already know who they are targeting. This article makes it sound like the police force has employed the keystone cops; blundering around making a total hash or things.

    Like all levels of government, police are doing a lot better with information sharing and coordination. Yes things could be done better and siloing does still occur. Rookies will make mistakes. But generally things are working a lot better in a coordinated fashion. Some cynics may disagree, but there have been improvements like this at all levels of government.

    I would argue that there are a lot of low hanging fruit - that is the 'vicious' end of the bikie/organised crime gang spectrum are already well known to police, that is they would have had many run ins with the police and justice department before. Plenty of work there before police can go and needlessly target people with poor fashion choices.

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Julie Leslie

      My guess is most (if not all) career criminals are known to police.
      The secret is catching them.

      Obviously not as easy as it looks.

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    2. Julie Leslie

      GIS Coordinator

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Probably true.

      The better question to ask is: are these new laws going to help this process? I am not convinced that these laws do make it any better for the police - over and above the existing powers they already had. I'm sure there were many alternate strategies they could have put in place with the existing suite of laws and powers they have.

      These new laws seem poorly thought out and rushed through. I am not a fan. But to suggest that the police will target boofheads on bikes (because they can) when there are other more obvious and pressing targets, with limited time and budget, seems alarmist.

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    3. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Julie Leslie

      Here in Victoria there has been a lot of bluster with high profile police action on "bikies".

      Raids on various club premises have been relatively fruitless.

      My guess is there may be some information being passed onto gangs to get rid of the evidence.

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  3. Bede nielsen

    Manager

    It is harassment when innocent blokes out for a Sunday ride in Far North Qld. get pulled up and three times by the police. It is obvious they are not associated with a Motorcycle gang.
    People who ride for enjoyment shouldn't be subjected to humiliation by a cop who can't distinguish between gangs and law abiding citizens.

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    1. Ian Rudd

      Retired accountant

      In reply to Bede nielsen

      And even if they were associated with a bikie gang they should not be pulled up unless they are doing something unlawful or being detained on evidence of having committed a crime.

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  4. Dale Bloom

    Analyst

    It certainly is a lot quieter around here.

    No rev heads can be heard.

    Motorbikes consume almost as much petrol as a car while only transporting one person, motorbike riders are 30 times more likely to be injured than a passenger in a car, and a motorbike seems to make more noise than 30 cars combined.

    I don’t believe there is such a thing as an innocent motorbike rider, as rarely do I see them obeying traffic rules, and no great loss if all motorbikes were taken off the road completely.

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    1. Ray Hughes

      IT Worker

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      "Motorbikes consume almost as much petrol as a car".

      False (although this depends obviously on the motorbike - an 1100cc monster is going to be almost as inefficient as a car). Given that most cars are only being used to transport one person though, then completely false - for every 1100cc bike there's a dozen single-occupant 4-wheel drives on the road, whose fuel is largely being wasted to drag a couple of tons of extraneous metal in the same direction that the driver wants to go.

      "motorbike…

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    2. Sam Yates

      Research Fellow

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      The assertion that motorbikes consume nearly as much fuel as a car is not correct, based on ABS data. Read the Survey of Motor Vehicle Use 2012 from the Australian Bureau of Statistics: at the end of table 1, page 10, the data shows that motorcycles in Australia use just 53% of the fuel per km of passenger vehicles. That is, for single-passenger travel, cars are roughly twice as fuel-hungry.

      From the Australian Infrastructre Statistics Yearbook 2013, pages 57 and 74, you can see that overall…

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    3. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Ray Hughes

      Motorbikes only get about 40 mpg, similar to a small car.

      But to reduce health care costs related to road injuries, take motorbikes off the road.

      To reduce the noise pollution in a town, take motorbikes off the road.

      To reduce bikie gangs, take motorbikes off the road.

      There are no innocent, misunderstood motorbike riders.

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    4. Jarrod Chestney-Law

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      "There are no innocent, misunderstood motorbike riders."

      I would like to know what crime I am guilty of. Go on, you've got time. I've had a motorbike since Saturday, so, I'm clearly a fast worker in this crime game.

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    5. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Jarrod Chestney-Law

      There is no reason to ride a motorbike, unless the person wants to make as much noise as possible, while presenting the greatest risk to themselves and others.

      All these “victims” of the police coming out to proclaim how innocent they are, while speeding down the road and making as much noise as a chain saw.

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    6. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      "....Motorbikes only get about 40 mpg, similar to a small car...."

      So what?

      "...But to reduce health care costs related to road injuries, take motorbikes off the road...."

      And to further reduce them, take cars off the roads as well.

      "....To reduce the noise pollution in a town, take motorbikes off the road..."

      To reduce it more, take trucks off the road.

      "....To reduce bikie gangs, take motorbikes off the road...."

      Why do you want to reduce bikie gangs?

      "....There are no innocent, misunderstood motorbike riders...."

      And there are no innocent, misunderstood trolls either, are their Dale?

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    7. Jarrod Chestney-Law

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      There are specific noise laws which my bike adheres to, so, I'm not guilty of the noise you're complaining about. I will choose how much risk I present to myself in a legal activity (I wear full protection gear) and if you think a motorbike is a bigger risk than a car, you should perhaps revisit some physics. As for speeding, I've never been fined in a car and thus far not on my bike either. So you've struck out on all counts. Anything else?

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    8. Jarrod Chestney-Law

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jarrod Chestney-Law

      Edit: "a bigger risk than a car" in my comment above refers to a bigger risk to others. I addressed my personal risk by referring to protective gear and my personal choice.

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    9. Georg Antony

      analyst

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      @Dale: You are behind the times a bit, as indicated by the use of Imperial units.

      For some decades now, there have been motorbikes other than 1000cc+ Harley Davidsons in general use. My 250cc uses maybe 3 litres/100 km. It also has a functional exhaust that cuts down noise to very little. These two factors make it an ideal commuter vehicle that does not get used in mass outings on the weekend.

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    10. Sam Yates

      Research Fellow

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      Dale Bloom writes, "Motorbikes only get about 40 mpg, similar to a small car."

      And if everyone were driving small cars, you might have a point here. The statistics demonstrate that on average, motorcycles use roughly half the fuel per km as passenger cars in Australia.

      The majority of multi-vehicle accidents involving motorcycles are not the fault of the motorcyclist (<URL: http://www.carrsq.qut.edu.au/publications/corporate/motorcycle_safety_fs.pdf>;), but instead due to violations of right of way or similar by car drivers. Perhaps, for safety, we should take cars off the road?

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    11. Marcus Wigan

      Hon. Prof Fellow MSSI, Emeritus Professor of Transport (Edinburgh Napier), Adjunct Professor Insititute of Social Inquiry ICT (Swinburne), Visiting Professor of Civil Engineering(Imperial) at University of Melbourne

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      I find the vulnerability of Mr Bloom to stereotyping quite alarming. After 57 years of crash free daily motorcycle riding for commuting and work (and vey rarely pleasure alone), a substantial publication record and Emeritus Membership of the US Transportation Research Board Motorcycle Committee (amongst other contributions - see www.mwigab.com) I think I am well qualified to comment.
      A reallyworrying thing is that I use original mufflers- and am continually avoiding pedestrians and other road users…

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    12. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Marcus Wigan

      Motorbike riders have been a problem to everyone for many years, and it is good to see so many motorbikes now being left in the garage.

      I haven’t heard a motorbike for some days now.

      About 1 in 5 fatalities on the road are motorbike riders, and a motorbike rider is about 30 times more likely to be injured than a passenger in a car.

      If there are motorbike riders obeying the rules and not being involved in accidents, then they certainly haven’t been educating the numerous rev head motorbike riders on the roads to do similar.

      So we can all look forward to quieter street, and less fatalities and injuries on the roads.

      One less problem for the police, and for road users.

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    13. Jeff Payne

      PhD in Political Science and Masters in Public Policy

      In reply to Marcus Wigan

      Well Marcus, you're at least the most qualified outlaw bikie in Australia :).

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    14. Allan Gardiner

      Dr

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      So why do police officers ride motorbikes Dale? Tell it to the West Australian Police Commisioner Karl O'Callaghan because he rides a big motorbike of his very own and each year he with other police officers et al., all off duty, do a charity ride over East all the way across the Nullarbor passing big mobs of bikies on their "run" heading West.

      One fellow whom I knew well before he joined the police killed himself whilst off duty on his own motorcycle a few years ago. He was trying to overtake…

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    15. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Allan Gardiner

      Then take all motorbikes off the road.

      I had a relative who was a physiotherapist, and she would tell me again and again, “Do not ride a motorbike”

      Her biggest problem was trying to fix injured motorbike riders.

      A motorbike is a self-propelled rocket on two wheels, while a car is a self-propelled rocket on four wheels.

      But at least there is some protection built into a car to protect the passengers, such as a seat belt.

      So take all motorbikes off the road, and it would be better all-round.

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    16. Ian Rudd

      Retired accountant

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      Dale, I take it you don't ride a motorcycle but do drive a car?

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    17. Ian Rudd

      Retired accountant

      In reply to Allan Gardiner

      "So why do police officers ride motorbikes Dale?"

      Perhaps because they have latent criminal inclinations themselves???

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    18. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Ian Rudd

      I have ridden motorbikes, until I learned better.

      I am involved in road building, and we usually refer to motorbike riders as “bottom burpers”, because of the loud farting type noises they like to make when riding their motorbikes.

      If someone sees a pack of bikies coming they call out on the radio, “Here comes some bottom burpers”, and everyone looks up because motor bike riders are usually a danger to everyone when they ride through the worksite.

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  5. Christopher Seymour

    Business owner

    My stepdaughter is a part owner of a legitimate tattoo business in Townsville. They and their customers have been subject to wholly unreasonable police harassment - leading to loss of business - which is their livlihood.
    Rogue police are a bigger threat to our liberties than bikie gangs.

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    1. Allan Gardiner

      Dr

      In reply to Christopher Seymour

      Whether they're rogue police or just your garden variety police matters not because any police officer is a threat to your liberty at any time they choose to be, off duty or on duty.

      I can easily see that the bikies will only tolerate this continual harassment from the police and politicians for so long before they decide to retaliate in some fashion. Ned Kelly only took a certain amount of harassment from the police and politicians until he decided to make a solid stand against them.

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    2. Eric Thacker

      self employed at viticultural contractor

      In reply to Christopher Seymour

      I agree with your last sentence. The police who are busy harassing legitimate businesses and their customers are not available to attend vehicle accidents or investigate and pursue lawbreakers.

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  6. Will Hunt

    Farmer

    I can't see how they can pass laws which targets people on basis of association, wearing of uniforms or riding of motorcycles.
    Does this mean the people on their Honda 90s who come around in their yellow jackets to deliver the mail are outlaws?

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    1. Georg Antony

      analyst

      In reply to Will Hunt

      Of course you know best that your questions involving people riding Honda 90s is merely rhetorical.

      It is people riding very noisy Harley Davidsons who are going to be pulled over. Many of them are not bikie-gang members, but most deliberately violate noise regulations. So there is one potential benefit already to pulling over Harleys, regardless of the riders' association.

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    2. Allan Gardiner

      Dr

      In reply to Will Hunt

      The ones on the Honda 90s are worse than any bikie Will because they speed up and down every footpath to fill letterboxes with all those nasty envelopes that have little windows on them.

      The police will have to target themselves too because they associate with each other whilst wearing uniforms and riding motorcycles...and they're armed to boot!.

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  7. Allan Gardiner

    Dr

    The mandate of the police is to harass anyone that they think is a criminal, not unlike anyone who takes it upon themself to harass police officers who are thought to be criminals., and it is just as easy for police officers to target innocent people as it is for those same innocent people to target innocent police officers.

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    1. Frank Baarda

      Geologist

      In reply to Allan Gardiner

      At our local police station there was (is?) a sign:
      "when waving at police, use all your fingers".
      There are many people I know that would dispute (from personal experience) the premise that "it is just as easy for police officers to target innocent people as it is for those same innocent people to target innocent police officers."
      And despite denial, the colour of one's skin I think is a significant factor in Australia.

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  8. Dean Suckling

    Ag & Environmental Consultant

    Laws based on how you dress?? Really??

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    1. Allan Gardiner

      Dr

      In reply to Dean Suckling

      The bikies will soon be doing a Lady Godiva down the main street Dean. Don't forget that if you hear 'em coming you're not allowed to sneak a look.

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  9. Neil Goodwin

    Lawyer & Teacher

    The Queensland Government says that these laws are designed to target the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. Yet if you look at the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act (and other Acts recently passed for similar reasons) there is not one mention of such gangs. These gangs are simply caught by the definition of an Association. This definition is so wide that it easily catches groups such as unions, political parties, sporting clubs and groups trying to protect those things we take for granted…

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    1. Jeff Payne

      PhD in Political Science and Masters in Public Policy

      In reply to Neil Goodwin

      Good point Neil, I'm surprised more people have not looked at this as an issue. Is the possible broad application of these laws not addressed in part by the associations being named? Regardless, this is real fear. Just like paedophiles are used to justify online surveylance so are bikies being used to justify increased police powers.

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    2. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Neil Goodwin

      You have said it all Neil.

      What is to prevent the LNP, or any government, from proscribing any class of people that threatens their political position or lust for property, such as school teachers, lawyers, trade unionists, ALP members, indeed anybody who is not a paid up card carrying member of the NLP?

      Relying upon the High Court to quash this legislation is an unsafe strategy. It may be time to return to the streets as we did against Vietnam.

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    3. Damian Hayden

      IT Professional

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment states:

      1.) For this Act, a person is a vicious lawless associate if the
      person -
      (a) commits a declared offence; and
      (b) at the time the offence is committed, or during the
      course of the commission of the offence, is a participant
      in the affairs of an association (relevant association);
      and
      (c) did or omitted to do the act that constitutes the declared
      offence for the purposes of, or in the course of
      participating in the affairs of, the relevant…

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    4. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Damian Hayden

      Re: "named associations. To date, the associations are 26 outlaw motorcycle gangs,"
      Perhaps someone can help me unravell some confusion.
      The "naming of outlaw bikie gangs" is done only in Sections 70&71 of the Criminal Law (Criminal Organisations Disruption) Amendment Act 2013. They are referred to as "criminal organisations" not "associations"
      I can find no link between this Act and the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act 2013 which is the legislation being cited in this article.
      Furthermore the local bowls club could be roped in simply by the Attorney General making serving beer after hours a "declared offence" under Section 3 (b) of the VLAD Act viz .
      "declared offence means—
      (b) an offence prescribed under a regulation to be a declared
      offence."
      The courts would have no choice but to enforce the law.

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    5. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Incidently I believe the clauses defining "declared offence" and "association" in the VLAD Act are the most dangerous provisions in any of the Acts. They allow the executive to target any group they choose.

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    6. Ian Rudd

      Retired accountant

      In reply to Neil Goodwin

      Neil, pardon me for saying so but lobbying your local member is a complete waste of time. They are simply servants of their leadership who are in turn servants of the corporations and other powerful interests (and their ideologies).

      I'm afraid Australians have thrown away for now the opportunity to move away from the status quo of which the loss of civil liberties is a part. They did this through their votes in the federal and state elections held over the past few years. More than 90% of voters chose to stick with the same failed right wing governments that for years have been undoing the safety nets and civil liberties gained post WWII. Currently education is very much in their collective cross hairs.

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    7. Ian Rudd

      Retired accountant

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Jack, in WA the ALP supported anti-bikies laws introduced by the Liberals so I don't think relying on them to fix things will achieve much.

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  10. Marcus Wigan

    Hon. Prof Fellow MSSI, Emeritus Professor of Transport (Edinburgh Napier), Adjunct Professor Insititute of Social Inquiry ICT (Swinburne), Visiting Professor of Civil Engineering(Imperial) at University of Melbourne

    The key point that needs legal clarification by Qld is the definition of the term 'associate'.

    In a comment just made to Mr Bloom i explained why the largest motorcycle club (Ulysses) could both be easily targeted by the Police (we wear high visibility vests with a simple roundel with an Old Man logo).

    BUT

    a real issue is that in a financial membership of over 30,000 nation-wide of people such as myself, it is inevitable that the odd outlaw club member is also a member. many just like…

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    1. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Marcus Wigan

      Well Marcus, there is the power of the tourist dollar to compensate for the economic downturn created by the Cockup Newman government sacking about 14,000 government workers in 2012.

      Certainly Queensland is returning to the bad old days of Joh and the White Shoe Brigade that will make the present furore in Canberra about political allowances and entitlements seem like a kindergarten picnic.

      This approach is likely being facilitated by the CSG industry, intent upon wreaking havoc in agricultural industries to supply foreign markets with Australian gas, leaving the local market paying the international price.

      The LNP is a fascist party seeking to implement the same social conditions as existed in both Italy and Germany during the 1930s. The rich get rich and the poor pay to keep them.

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  11. Paul Prociv

    ex medical academic; botanical engineer

    Having lived in Queensland for a few decades now, I've learned to recognise that, when ruling politicians come on strongly with shouting and the beating of drums, it's more about a show for the masses (perhaps a diversion or smokescreen for some other action?) than about any genuine need for improvement in the way things are done. Maybe this happens elsewhere, too . . . . But looking at bikies from the cop-on-the-beat's viewpoint, it would be far simpler and safer to pull over some tame motor-bikers…

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    1. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Paul Prociv

      Yes, I remember being pulled over riding a pissy little 90cc two stroke, as a student, on the suspicion that I might have stolen it!
      Meanwhile truckies were routinely "murdering" students on Honda step throughs because it was "inconvenient" to stop and give them their "right of way" at intersections.
      Never any police in sight.
      Lest we forget.

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  12. Lynne Newington
    Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Researcher

    I wasn't going to comment on this subject, but listening to ABC Radio this morning and the Newman government's plan to dress bikie criminals in pink to single them gave me food for thought.
    Once convicted they are under the law and whatever it decides according to that law and dressing them in pink, whatever connotations that goes with it, is provocative, bringing with it an ill wind and I can't agree with it.
    I have never heard of clergy who have sodomized innocent children, [in fact It has been rare until recently that they've been even convicted, even with a Catholic premier running the government], have worn an identifying mode of dress or placard stating, "I am a catholic priest guilty of committing unthinkable attrocities against innocent children in the name of Christ.

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    1. Frank Baarda

      Geologist

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      So I Googled "in the pink":
      Meaning:in perfect condition, especially of health.
      Origin:
      The general usage of this phrase has altered somewhat since it first entered the language. We now usually see it with the specific meaning of 'the pink of condition', that is, in the best possible health. It is tempting but, as it turns out, misguided, to assume an association between 'the pink of condition' and the healthily glowing pink cheeks of new-born babies or energetic sportsmen/sportswomen and the like.
      The earliest citations of 'in the pink' are from the 16th century and, at that time, the meaning was 'the very pinnacle of something', but not necessarily limited to health. The earliest example that I can find of pink being used with that meaning is from 1597 Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, 1597:
      Mercurio: Why, I am the very pinke of curtesie.
      I somehow don't think the fascists have the above in mind.

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    2. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Frank Baarda

      There's a difference of meaning with "in the pink" as googled, and pink with other associations and I'm sure you were aware of what I refer to.

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    3. Frank Baarda

      Geologist

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Of course I was fully aware.
      Living on a 'remote' Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory where governments have consistently played both the 'race' and the 'tough on crime' cards, I have had my ability to read between the lines and hear the dog whistles considerably honed.
      Draconian measures are nothing new here, neither are stigmatization and stereotyping.
      When I googled 'in the pink' I did so to amuse myself (and hopefully others) and I created an opportunity to call them fascists…

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    4. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Frank Baarda

      No offense meant, I'm sorry I didn't get the take and I certainly wasn't aware of the signs you referred to in 2007.
      Living in a small town outside the Western Australian Goldfieds for a short while, I was appauled at the power the store owner where I worked had over the Aborigines when their fortnightly government allowance ran out and made my views known which even now don't make me popular.

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    5. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Have you stumbled across a smoke screen machine, Lynne, manufactured in parliament?

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    6. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to James Hill

      Now what is that supposed to mean.
      I believe it was a fair comparison, apart from "covered up by my bishop[or religious superior] for deccades" in the last line of my comment.

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    7. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      It was supposed to mean that far more important issues for the "religiously" conservative side of politics are being hidden by the smokescreen of "Big Bad Bikies" emanating from the Queensland parliament.
      Which far more important issues you refer to in the last sentence of your original post.
      It gets confusing when all these replies pile up out of order.
      And thanks for creating that appropriate perspective to the debate.

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    8. Ian Rudd

      Retired accountant

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Lynne, I think Newman gets his idea of dressing bikies in pink from that nutter Sheriff Arpaio in Arizona who main mission in life is targeting "illegal" immigrants and locking them away or having them deported. He requires the numerous inmates of his prisons to wear pink.

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  13. Damian Hayden

    IT Professional

    I've been following the bikie wars lately since they've been making so many headlines, and I'm shocked and disappointed by the amount of public support the bikies seem to have.

    Firstly, the government is going after OMG's, and NOT motorcycle clubs. Big difference IMHO, so why spread lies that the police are going to harass social bikers driving Yamaha's, Suzuki's or even cruisers?

    FYI, the 26 clubs that are now 'criminal organisations'...
    Bandidos, Black Uhlans, Coffin Cheaters, Comancheros…

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    1. Frank Baarda

      Geologist

      In reply to Damian Hayden

      Damian, unlike most of us you've seriously looked into this issue and presented facts and a persuasive argument in favour of these laws, and the need to actively fight crime in our society.
      I'm on the other side of the fence when it comes to "the end justifies the means" or "one has to fight fire with fire"
      I recognise that this is based on emotions and belief rather than on pragmatism, but I'll stand by it. As the famous song 'Imagine" says "you may think I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one…

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    2. Jarrod Chestney-Law

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Damian Hayden

      "Why are people afraid the police will target them by mistake?"

      Because they've already done so....people riding in a group of five friends have been pulled over three times on one ride. Then there was the guy who was approached because he was wearing a t-shirt.

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    3. Neil Oldfield

      Analyst

      In reply to Damian Hayden

      rstly, the government is going after OMG's, and NOT motorcycle clubs. Big difference IMHO, so why spread lies that the police are going to harass social bikers driving Yamaha's, Suzuki's or even cruisers?

      Because they have, Also QLD police have a history of going a little rogue when given leeway, speak wil anyone that lived in student accomidation in the 70s.

      I would be classed as an associate under these laws, yet I dont ride a motorbike (never have) have a good job working for a bank, have…

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    4. David Coles

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Damian Hayden

      Damian, I have neither heard nor seen many who object to these laws who would disagree that the OMGs being targeted are groups we would rather not see around. What you seem to miss is that laws don't typically last for a couple of months or even years. Some of the laws that these are based on go back 60 or 70 years. Politicians change, society changes. The benign view you take of the behaviour of police in the direct aftermath of the enactment of the laws may very well be different where a different set of politicians decides to target another perceived ill.

      The most sensible policy is to target criminal behaviour rather than try to identify people who might be, could be or have been criminals.

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    5. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Neil Oldfield

      C'mon Neil ... there is a long hard history of 'rogue' police persons abusing their power for all sorts of reasons, not all of them related to crime [prevention.

      Then there is the current preference NSW for violence against suspects or abuse of power because it is a slow day on the roads.

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    6. Neil Oldfield

      Analyst

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      and the history of victorian cops to shoot fist. This is why we need to be careful about the powers that they are given.

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    7. Damian Hayden

      IT Professional

      In reply to Damian Hayden

      The Sons of Anarchy T-shirt story wasn't even worthy of going to print. A guy wearing a shirt, from a fictitious OMC has two cops walk over to him during a protest and ask about his shirt, and quickly realize their mistake, apologize, and all laugh about it. Wasn't even worth going to print. He wasn't assaulted, harassed, or treated like a criminal. If that's the kind of harassment that innocent citizens and bikers are fearful of...

      I agree the pink jumpsuits are unwarranted, and seem like a 'petty…

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    8. Frank Baarda

      Geologist

      In reply to Damian Hayden

      Sorry, being a bit pedantic.
      I too don't find khaki to my liking, and neither am I likely to wear pink (unless I'm made to). Bright luminescent green is my favourite.
      The difference in this case isn't the colour per se, rather the compulsion and the thinly veiled aim at humiliation. Humiliating the bikies and simultaneously putting down (again thinly veiled) those members of society that wear pink with pride.
      Interestingly (and rather off topic) when you google bikies and pink
      you find the story of a bunch of bikies that (voluntarily) donned pink in a ride supporting the fight against breast cancer.

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    9. Allan Gardiner

      Dr

      In reply to David Coles

      And when the police see how easily done is the targeting of innocent people per the simple enactment of laws then they decide that they'll just cut to the chase -- as they've done so many times before -- and try to become a law unto themselves. Many police officers go on to become politicians in later life so they then know exactly how to target anyone but will of course particularly focus on those that they hold a grudge against.

      Every time that WA's Corruption and Crime Commission advertised…

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    10. Allan Gardiner

      Dr

      In reply to Neil Oldfield

      Victorian police were said to have a very bad habit of yelling out "Stop" to someone trying to get away from them before they then shot and killed/injured the person with the very first round discharged from their weapon. They would then fire a second shot into the air so that any audio-only witnesses would testify in court that they did actually hear two shots fired, and these witnesses naturally presumed that it was the first shot that was fired into the air.

      There are several reasons as to…

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    11. Ian Rudd

      Retired accountant

      In reply to David Coles

      These laws smack of the same sort of rationale that supposedly justified the invasion of Iraq and, now that that has run its course, the build up to a similar attack on Iran. Preventive attacks they are called.

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  14. Jeremy Gans

    Academic, Melbourne Law School

    "The new Queensland legislation targets “participants” or “vicious lawless associates” of named associations. To date, the associations are 26 outlaw motorcycle gangs, which include gangs like the Bandidos, Finks and Mongols."

    I agree with most of this article but, on my reading, these opening sentences aren't accurate and confuse three different laws passed last week in Queensland.

    The 'criminal organisation disruption' law is a vast set of restrictions on 'participants' in 'criminal organisations…

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  15. Fergus Ferguson

    Political Exile

    In Western Australia the gangs traditionally run the strip clubs, meth production, and have a strong interest in prostitution. They obtain their firearms by direct shipment from their affiliates in the USA. Because shipping containers are only checked at a rate of perhaps 10% at best, they simply import their weapons mixed with other items and take the risk of them being detected and seized, which is a rare event. They don't usually need a lot of muscle, as their turfs are pretty well defined.

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  16. Yoron Hamber

    Thinking

    The one you linked to, with the 'mentally impaired young man' makes me feel ashamed. what the he* is justice in jailing him for walking a street? Doesn't matter if he has a dog, a cat, girlfriend, or other friends with him. He's not the judge of their character, Just as nobody would expect you to accept the responsibility for those you meet?

    If that is Australian justice, the your streets indeed are lawless.

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  17. Stephen Prowse

    Research Advisor at Wound CRC

    There seems to be a breach of a serious matter of principle here that is fundamental to our society, legislate against inappropriate behaviour, not against a particular group in society. It should not be for anyone, especially police or politicians to decide that certain groups in our society should go to jail. They should go to jail based on their behaviour. If the community believes that behaviour is illegal but not punished, give the police more resources to enforce the law.

    If this becomes the norm, where does it stop?

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Stephen Prowse

      Perhaps reminiscent of the Mc Carthy era......or perhaps even the current surveillance ethos in the US.

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  18. David Tuck

    Scientist

    The message that these laws send to members of the Vietnam Veterans' Motorcycle association:

    'The freedom that you risked your lives for doesn't involve riding a motorbike with your mates.'

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    1. Allan Gardiner

      Dr

      In reply to David Tuck

      Just give it time David and these leaning laws will soon be seen to backfire just like a large 'plod'ding donk throttled-off too quickly.

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  19. David Ross

    IT Manager

    Hi, I'm not usually one to leave comments on web pages but would like to add that I believe the author is incorrect in his verdict. The AG was very careful in his choice of words when he stated that "other law abiding motorbike riders have nothing to worry about". The AG's statement is correct, however, the definition of "law abiding" has changed due to this new legislation, and previously law abiding behaviour (not just by the named bikie gangs), may now be illegal.

    I have quite a dislike for laws that are open to broad interpretation and have the effect of quietly eroding what we consider to be basic rights in a democratic society, particularly those that allow the police to criminalise at will, and those that move towards an assumption of guilt.

    Hopefully the reaction to this legislation will prevent it being used in cases that may meet the letter, but not the spirit of the law.

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  20. John Hopkins

    Social Engineer

    We aint seen nothin' yet. Once these OMC's discover how to access "Executive Outcomes ("Outlaw" International Military Organisation) who has literally TONNES OF MILITARY GRADE WEAPONS in stores in Brisbane, Civil War will likely break out in Queensland.

    It's SO simple. All they have to do (ANYONE can do this) is to fire up a "Tor Browser" & enter Executive Outcomes url, which can be found with very little effort.

    They will deliver your order within 14 days.

    In stock in Brisbane, they have…

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