Queensland Law Society

Anti-association laws pose more danger than they remove

Date 04 Jun 2012
Contact Natalie Graeff
Phone (07) 3842 5868
Mobile 0488 433 884
Fax (07) 3221 9329
Email n.graeff@qls.com.au

Queensland Law Society today reinforced its strong opposition to the use of anti-association laws, including Labor’s Criminal Organisation Act 2009.

The Society objects to the law as one which disregards basic civil rights.

Society deputy president Annette Bradfield said the right to freely associate is a foundation principle of our democracy and there were a number of major issues with putting Labor’s flawed Act into practise.

“Once this sort of law is successfully used to target one group, it has the potential to be used against minority groups,” Ms Bradfield said.

“Use of the Act poses the appalling prospect of lowering the standard of proof, where admissible evidence can be based on criminal intelligence, potentially rumour and hearsay, rather than facts.

“It should worry all Queenslanders that such a move to lower the standard of proof can greatly increase the prospect of wrongful convictions.

“These are all issues Queensland Law Society clearly explained last year and in 2009 in detailed submissions to the previous Labor government.

“At the time, the Liberal National Party said the Act was a failed law which required review and we call for this review to be carried out.

“Let me be clear that we have absolutely no sympathy for the violence and other serious offences committed by bikie gangs and their members.

“However, using anti-association laws is no solution and risks the summary elimination of age-old civil rights just to be seen to be tough on crime.

“All the offences needed to keep our community safe are already in the current Criminal Code.

“The right and effective way to tackle crime is through visible policing, adequate resourcing for prosecutions and the courts.