Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bikies and prohibition make NSW a police state

Kings Cross is likely to see more violence as the NSW government declares yet another war – this time on bikies.

But this War, which will give police unprecedented secret powers, is just an extension of the War on Drugs, as explained below.

“Follow the money” says Duncan McNab in the SMH today, referring to the profits to be made from illegal drugs. He writes:

“The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported that in 2004, 9 per cent of Australians had tried amphetamines. One in five aged from 20 to 29 had dabbled, much of it supplied by outlaw motorcycle gangs. In August 4.4 tonnes of ecstasy with a value of $440 million was seized and linked to a bike gang… But the seizure did not stop the party.

“So it is no wonder that gangs will fight hard to protect their turf and the dollars generated. Critical parts of that turf are the nightclubs of Darlinghurst and Kings Cross.”

[Pictured are the bikes of a Nomads chapter parked in Kings Cross in July 2004.]

The new laws are based on South Australian laws which allow police to search your home if you live next door to a suspect – without your knowledge. You can also be jailed for meeting a “proscribed person” more than six times in a year.

Police never have to reveal the evidence they cite in deciding whose home to search or whom to proscribe. It gives them powers that rival police states such as Burma or the fascist regimes of last century. These powers WILL be misused.

You can also be jailed for failing to provide identification to police, says the SMH. Police Minister Tony Kelly today reassured 'working families' that the new laws applied only to people suspected of “serious” offences such as drug trafficking, murder, kidnap, pedophilia etc.

Of course if you repeatedly say drug trafficking is a serious offence and mention it alongside murder and pedophilia then it must be a serious offence. However this does not apply to pubs because the drug they sell – alcohol – is legal. And if you are one of the 20% of young people who have used amphetamines or one of the 50% who have tried cannabis, you will be surprised to know you are the victim of a crime as serious as murder or pedophilia. But, sadly, that's the fiction on which our laws are based.

The new laws will also give police the power to declare protesters or strikers Proscibed Groups – on the spot with no warrant or reference to the courts.

True to form, prohibition is not directly mentioned in The SMH. Only Crikey seems to see that ‘elephant in the room’, with Greg Barns today writing:

“As I noted in Crikey on 1 April last year, these laws are largely unenforceable, cement in law the concept of guilt by association and would do nothing to lessen the problem of bikie gangs’ violence because they completely miss the point – which is that bikie gangs thrive on our refusal to decriminalise drugs.

“The Serious and Organised Crime (Control) Act passed through the South Australian Parliament in May last year make the anti-terrorism laws look like a freedom charter.”


Anonymous said...

This is truly scary stuff. As a middle aged professional who prefers to live on the more interesting edges of society, I guess it is only a matter of time before some aspect of my harmless behaviour will be punishable with a jail sentence.

Anonymous said...

And getting closer with the shooting of random bullets into the brothel on Tusculum St