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VOICE-OVER: Today at the Live.

National Press Club Professor

Paul Wilson, an outspoken

critic of new anti-biker

legislation in South Australia

and NSW. After recent cases of

gang violence, Professor Wilson

will be joined by two veteran

bikers to argue stronger laws

are not the answer, with the

National Press Club address,

Paul Wilson.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome

to the National Press Club, and

today's National Australia Bank

address. It's a pleasure to

welcome three guests, as you've

just heard. They're here to

discuss a spate of legislation

that's been either enacted or foreshadowed, aimed at

motorcycle clubs around

Australia. We have Paul

Wilson, who's Professor of

Criminology at Bond University

and has been already an

outspoken critic of these laws

which he sees as selective,

dangerous and ineffective,

Ferret is a representative of

the United Motorcycle Council a

biker club formed in NSW

specifically to address this

issue. He has a small business

in western Sydney and been a

member of The Finks for 22

years and the Reverend Dr

Bullfrog Smith. He doesn't

mind the nickname.

International and founding

President of God's Squad, which

is a Christian motorcycle club

that's been operating in

Melbourne for 38 years and now

has eight chapters, eight other

chapters around Australia and a

presence in eight other

countries, a major function of

God's Squad is to minister to

the bikie community of which

John is an enthusiastic member.

We'll hear from Ferret, who

will kick off proceedings. I

invite you to welcome all our

speakers. APPLAUSE

Good afternoon, my name is

Ferret. I work in a tattoo

father, I'm a father of two, a

grandfather of five. I've been

a member of The Finks

motorcycle club for 22 years,

it's as part a part of my life

as my family. I've met people

who share my life-long interest

in motorcycles. Contrary to

what you hear, being a Fink

doesn't mean I must be involved

in drug trafficking,

intimidation, violence or other

forms of crime. Organising it,

participating in it or

condoning it. But that's me.

members of motorcycle clubs are I'm not here to tell you that

all saints. There may be

people amongst our members who

have been in trouble and what

happened at Sydney Airport was

a tragedy. Hopefully with the

clubs sitting together on the

United Motorcycle Council,

cluntion between clubs can be

improved to alleviate further

tension. -- communication. My

message today is the behaviour

of the few does not give State

governments a right to punish

the majority, does not give the Government or the police the

right to apply a different

legal standard to people who

look like me or belong to my

club. Most of all, it does not

make it right for the

Government to pass laws that

lead to innocent people losing

their jobs. But that's exactly

what's happening. About two

weeks ago a member of a

Christian motorcycle club in

NSW was told to stop

associating with people in the

United Motorcycle Council or

lose his public servant job.

My message today is that all

people living in Australia

should be free to lawfully

associate. Our existing laws

are sufficient to punish crime

and corruption. There is no

need in this country for a law

that says any citizen can lose

their livelihood and be

declared a criminal simply by

talking to someone else. The

behaviour of the few does not

justify the punishing or taking

away the rights of the whole.

Think about it this way, if the

behaviour of a few was enough

to justify a criminal tag being

applied to all then Anna Bligh

up in Queensland should be

declaring her own party a

criminal organisation. And our

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd,

would also be guilty, because

his party has accepted

donations from an individual

named by US Senate as having associates involved in

organised crime. As I said,

I'm not trying to say all

bikers are saints, just like

not all politicians or police

are squeaky clean. But I would

say there is more organised

criminal activity every day in

Australia's Governments and

police services than you would

ever find at your local biker

clubhouse. I'm honoured to be

hear speaking on the 18 UMCNSW

clubs in NSW. There are two

things I would like to achieve

from this event. Firstly I'm

going to ask the members of

media and Government to write

and speak fairly about us and

our members and apply a healthy

degree of scepticism to what

you hear from the Government

about bikers and crime. Secondly, I'm going to

challenge the media to apply

these laws, the same laws of

scrutiny and the same concern

for human rights that were

applied in this country to the

previous government's

anti-terror laws. These

anti-association laws of

continuing the job the previous

government started in stripping

away our legal rights. Now,

firstly about the media, you

may have noticed we don't

comment on what's written about

us. We rarely tell our side of

the story. What you think

about motorcycle clubs you

probably assume from the way we

look, what you've read about in

the news, seen in biker movies

or have been told by the

Government or police. I guess

you could say the way we've

been portrayed over the years

isn't something we've fought

against. What this means is

what's said about us has gone

uncontested. Many of you may

argue you think that bikers

deserve whatever bad publicity

we get. However, something

we've been looking at pretty closely lately is the fact

there is a double standard from government about the way information released about

bikers is treated. And one of

my key reasons to talk to you

today is to ask you, members of

the media, to be aware of how

the Government talks about us

and to be less accepting of

what they give you as fact. To

give you an example, we've all

heard recently about TV actress

Jody Gordon being found with an

alleged Rebels' biker. This

story took a life of its own as

it was reported and rereported

as fact by media around the

country. The fact is the guy

in the story is not a biker,

he's never been a remember of

the Rebels or any other club,

however at some point he has

had friends in a motorcycle

club or written a motorcycle.

As a result of this, bikers get

the credit for the behaviour of

some TV star we haven't even

met. Let me give you another example. The 'Daily

Telegraph', Tuesday 14 July,

headline 'Bikie link to law

chief'. We have a look and

discover it's about a convicted

drug criminal worked undetected

for four years in the State

Government's highest law office

after changing a name. So this

sounds serious, we'll look for

the link. On the front page we

don't discover anything about

bikers, so we go to page 4. It

then mentions the

Attorney-General - he's not a

biker, well he's not in The

Finks. Then it mentions the

Premier, he's not a biker and

with his popularity, he

wouldn't get in anyway. So

where's the biker link? Then it

mentions the woman's boyfriend.

Surprise, surprise, he's not a

biker. Then we go to the

brother. Another surprise, not

a biker either. But we find

that he was in newspaper speak

" allegedly linked to a

motorcycle club" so hang on,

the heal 'Biker link to law

chief' is so far from a link to

the Attorney-General it's

ridiculous. Does anyone here

in this room know the game six

degrees of separation? I'm sure

if I tried hard enough I could

find within my friends,

relatives, people I've once met

at the gym a chain of people

that would lead me to some very interesting influential people,

but does it mean I know them?

So I asked around and someone

who works with me now has an

associate who is a former

employee to Kevin Rudd,

therefore, Prime Minister... I

bet you didn't know this. But

there is a Fink link directly to your office in Parliament

House. It's the same distance,

the connection of the alleged

link to the story in the 'Daily

Telegraph'. Of course, do I

know Kevin Rudd? No. Have I

met Kevin Rudd? No. Do I have

any influence over Kevin Rudd?

No. Would it be a complete

beat-up for any of you to

publish a headline tomorrow

'Fink link to Prime Minister',

yes it would. What I would

like tomorrow's headline to

focus on is the very real

threat to civil liberties to

the anti-association laws being

introduced by most State

governments. I'm not getting

into a lot of detail about the

laws as you will soon hear from

one of Australia's leading

criminologists on what that

will mean for every Australian

citizen. I want to challenge

the media to apply more

scrutiny to these laws. A few

years ago when the former

Federal Government proposed

some very serious laws to deal

with terrorism, there was a

national outcry about the

impact they would have on civil

and legal rights. Speakers in

this very room denounced the

unjust aspects of those laws

and journalists across the

country wrote large volumes

about their impacts on basic

legal rights. Due to that

public scrutiny, many of the

harshest and most unjust

elements of the laws were

removed or watered down. As we

have seen in the last 24 hours

that doesn't seem to have

affected the ability to combat

terrorism . It's ironic that

much of the criticism of the

anti-terror laws came from State governments. Most of

whom are now passing equally

bad laws at the State level.

What's worse, is that because

governments claim the laws are

targeted only at bikers,

they're going almost unreported

by the media. But these laws

do not only affect bikers. In

fact, the NSW legislation

doesn't even contain the words

biker or motorcycle club.

These laws strip away

fundamental legal rights such

as freedom of association, the

presumption of innocence, open

court hearings and the right of

appeal. And then they can be

used against any group or

individual. I challenge the

media both here today and

around Australia to look far

more seriously at these laws,

apply the same level of

scrutiny you apply to the

anti-terror laws, because the

impact on human rights is just

as bad. I might be just one

person and just a dad from

western Sydney, but I'm telling

you today, it's not just about

me or even about people who

ride motorcycles, it's an issue

about human rights. It's an

issue for every person

listening to me here in the

press gallery and at home across Australia. Don't just

believe me, find out for

yourself. Read the

legislation. You'll soon see

what our governments are doing

to us is more scary than a few

guys with tattoos and leather jackets. Thank you. APPLAUSE

Thank you very much, Ferret.

The next speaker from our panel

today is Paul Wilson. As I said before Professor of

Criminology at Bond University on the Gold Coast. Thank you

very much indeed Ken, and thank

you for allowing me to speak

today. The crimes, the

Criminal Organisation Act of

NSW and similar legislation in

South Australia and other

States is to me at least, very

repugnant legislation, the

likes of which we've not seen

since the constitutional

failure of the Communist Party

Disillusion Act of 1950, which

also aimed to prescribe a

particular organisation. And

as Ian Barker, who many of you

will know the veteran criminal

barrister has indicated, it

essentially arose because one

biker bet another to death at

Sydney Airport, a horrendous

incident, but the airport

itself was hardly under siege,

nor were innocent civilians

directly harmed. These laws I would argue ladies and gentlemen are undemocratic,

they focus on groups and not on

individuals and like similar legislation in other countries

like Canada, I will argue that

they will not only be

ineffective, they'll also be

counterproductive. Indeed,

they could lead to more

violence amongst biker groups and more violence in the

community generally. Now, I'm

not a biker as you can

obviously see, I'm different

from Ferret in terms of how we

dress, but I've got no doubt

there are undoubtedly some

people who traffic in drugs and

engage in other serious

criminal activities in some

biker clubs. The evidence is

overwhelming, but there are

also corrupt police officers as we've recently seen in

Queensland, what was supposed

to be a squeaky clean police force, isn't. There are

financial and banking

institutions whose employees

commit fraud and engage in white-collar offences and

consequently judge thousands of

Australians of their life

savings. However, we don't close down police forces or

police units, we don't close

down churches, financial

institutions or companies

because of the criminal

activities of some of their

members. Neither should we

attempt to do the same for

biker groups. In this regard,

I think the crime and

misconduct commission, the CMC

revelations of corrupt dealings

between some Queensland police

officers and prison informers

which have been revealed

recently and in the media, it's

especially relevant to note the

Queensland Law Society has

pointed out that in Queensland,

police may if these association

laws are introduced, give free

rein to some bikers and biker

payments while their groups in return for corrupt

competitors are arrested and

charged, as the Queensland Law

Society says, not me, as they

say, the hand maiden of organised crime is the corruption of officials with

police officers being the

number one target. I think

it's important to recognise

that in this whole debate that

the amount of violence

committed by bikers in

Australia is not that large

anyway. We're talking as

though the violence in the

country is committed by biker

groups. It's clearly not.

Recent figures presented to the

joint parliamentary committee

to review the Australian Crime

Commission's serious and

organised crime act, figures

presented by Dr Vino, generally

considered one of the academic

experts on biker groups and

bikies, and Superintendent

Scott White of the NSW police,

reveal that gang-related

violence - that includes

violence generated by street,

ethnic and biker groups -

represents just 0.6% of all

crime in Australia, and biker

groups represent probably half

of that, about 0.3%. OK, it's

significant, some of it is

horrific, but it's a very small

proportion. And let me say

that contrary to other criminal

organisations like the Mafia,

it's important to recognise

that so-called outlaw

motorcycle gangs operate on an

individual basis instead of a

sort of a top-down Mafia-type

hierarchy, there is no Mr Big

in America telling some of

these gentlemen here what to

do. They have autonomy and

clearly as noted earlier, some

individuals in some clubs are

involved in drug trafficking

and other crimes, but so too

are some professional groups

who have considerable autonomy,

as well. Like priests, police

officers, lawyers and financial

institutions, none of which

seem to be the target of

criminal association laws.

Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like

to just very briefly look at

the Canadian experience, laws

that banned outlaw motorcycle

gangs and clubs in Canada led

to the institutions of the

State in Canada, and especially

in cue Beck province coming

under attack. Seven bombs were

found under police stations,

two prison guards were murdered, an anti-biker

journalist crusader was almost

killed, one innocent by-stander mistaken to be a prison guard

was murdered. So I would argue

that there's a very good chance

that association laws which

target groups as a whole will

increase the probability of

more public violence. Indeed,

public safety and crime appear

not to be controlled by such

legislation in Canada. Since

1994, in Qubec there've been no

less than 85 murders and 92

attempted murders related to

Qubec's biker laws as well as

129 arson attacks and 82

bombings. Earlier this year,

156 bikers, mostly from the

hell's angels were arrested,

indicating that the hell's

angels despite tough laws since

1997, are alive and well and

no-one really seriously

suggests that these arrests

will put the Hell's Angels out

of business at all. Indeed, I

can't find - and if somebody

else has got it I'd love to see

it - one iota of evidence to

suggest that the relevant

Canadian laws, especially C 95

which was introduced in 1997,

and which is the participation

in a criminal organisation

legislation in NSW and South legislation, much like the

Australia, and planned in other

States. I can't find one iota

of evidence to suggest that it

diminished gang activity,

reduced organised crime or led

to the demise of biker gangs.

Instead, and predictably, gang

activity has changed, becoming

more displaced and more submerged and less able, rather

than more able, to be accessed

by law enforcement. Anyone who

believes I would argue that

criminal individuals or groups

involved in organised crime

will not adapt to new and more

studied the history of draconian laws has simply not

organised crime. In any event,

as Phillip Bolton SC from

Sydney, from NSW perceptively

noted in regard to the

Australian association laws, if

people are already killing and

shooting each other as they have unfortunately in

Australia, then any new laws

will hardly stop them meeting

and in his own words " having a

beer together". Again, just

coming down towards the end of

what I want to say and

referring to Ian Barker the

veteran criminal defence lawyer

who I mentioned in the

beginning of my talk, he

recently pointed out - in the

same speech that I quoted from

- that in his lifetime, and

this to me is a very important

point, in his lifetime as a

barrister, he's seen in various

pieces of legislation, laws

that might be attractive to

politicians and indeed to

voters, but laws that have

severely eroded old principles

such as the right to silence,

freedom of speech, freedom of

assembly, freedom from

arbitrary arrest, the right of

privacy, the right to see

evidence against one, the right

to confront one's accuser, the

freedom of the judiciary and

detention without charge. And

various pieces of legislation, all these laws have been

eroded. Now, now we add onto

that list, laws that stop people from associating with

each other. Where does it

stop? Where does it stop? How

many liberties do we have to

foresake to preserve the

illusion that we are safer in

our homes or on the streets?

Ladies and gentlemen, it's not

as though we're without

alternatives. Other countries,

Denmark being one, have made

good progress in curbing crime

among biker groups by smart

intelligence-led policing

without draconian laws, as well

as now a body of evidence-based

research and practice that

outlines the effective law

enforcement practices and crime

prevention methods to deal with

gang-related violence,

encouraging biker group

mediations, and meetings of the

sort that Ferret has referred

to is just one. In this whole

debate, let us not forget the

enormous powers that police

forces and other enforcement,

law enforcement bodies have

already. Every State has

considerable electronic

monitoring powers. Some States

have crime commissions which

can force people to come in and

talk and it is a criminal

offence if they don't. These

are enormous powers to deal

with organised crime which

we've got already. We hardly

need our legal rights to be

further eroded by laws that

punish groups for crimes they

might - they might - or might

not commit in the future, in

contrast to laws that target

individuals for crimes they

have committed in the past.

Finally ladies and gentlemen,

even the devil deserves a

trial. This legislation does

not give the devil, let alone

biker groups, a trial. This is

not the way to proceed in

Australia. Thank you very

much. APPLAUSE Thank you very much, Paul

Wilson. And now we have the Reverend Dr John Smith.

I'm not seeking to be in any

way disengenius, but I do want

to thank the Press Club for a

genuine inquiry possibility in

a neutral situation, engaging

experts and participants in a non-partisan, non-political

forum. I think this is one of

the most important forums in

the land. I shall be slightly

representative perhaps but in a

different context. To explain

why I'm here as an educated

scholar and Christian minister,

maybe the best way to present

my profound misgivings at your politically-motivated

legislation. I too am a father

with three kids, I beat you,

though, I've got 15

grandchildren. First I come to

you as an authentic member of a

biker club. And I have to say our brothers have been very

warm and open to us, our God's

Squad, because obviously we're

a little off-kilter in some

ways. But we've come to feel a

depth of genuine relationship

and I mark some of my best

friends in the world as guys

wearing a very different set of

patches than me. We earn our

colours in God's Squad. We

love club loyalty, camaraderie

and the indescribable

satisfaction of being on the road in association with good

friends who are loyal to us. I

have almost 40 years of club

membership experience and have

been associated with the scene

for over 40 years. Now, while

no person knows fully the

activity of others in a closed

society such as the biker

scene, and I don't think we're

half as closed as the military

quite frankly, or the police

force. However, when I hear

from the media that more than

half the members of such clubs

have criminal records, I know

they lie. Now, clubs were not

formed for the purpose of

organised crime. I know that there are many reasons for

joining a biker club, almost as

many as there are variations of

style. One size quite simply

does not fit all. As crime

does occur is undenial, but has

been said by the previous two

speakers, clergy commit

paedophile acts, school

teachers, police, outrank

bikers. Biker clubs no more

exist for corporate crime

purposes than nightclubs exist

for the purpose of distributing

ecstasy. Secondly, I come as a

human rights activist. I have

a Methodist connection to a

gospel of care. Led by George

Loveless, famous because under

unjust British laws he was sent

to Oz for seven years as a convict because he called

workers to use the only power

they had against industry, and

that was the withdrawal of labour. Thus becoming the

foundation to what we accept as

an intimate part of our social

order called the trade union

movement. I have presented to

the UN Human Rights Commission

the full hearing on behalf of

prisoners of conscience in the

Bali prisons. I was involved

earlier on in the time of Joe

Bjelke-Petersen in the time of

civil disobedience when he took

over the Arakun Aboriginal community. I was jailed in the

Philippines for human rights activities because of the

illegal demolition of the homes

of pheasant people by a

murdering mayor, in Mindanao

and I chose death before

dishonour when execution date

was sent and freedom was

offered by my captors and I

would name the local human

rights activists who had

brought me there on lotion. I

have an enduring memory of

experiences all over the world

in Central America during the

civil wars there, of seeing the

abuse of minority groups by

power elites, not subject to

sufficient restraining laws of

human rights protections. What

I do know is this, the laws

which suspend basic rights to the assumption of innocence

until proper trial, the freedom

of association, freedom of

information, not only suspend

fundamental social principles,

but permit law enforcement to

harass the innocent. We have

always experienced in God's

Squad a measure of harassment

by a minority no doubt of

officers. I was once accused

of upsetting the Dandenong

Hospital, of terrorising the

staff and a report went through

to the police force from a

particular officer that hated

bikers and he targeted me and

there was a full file which

eventually a policeman brought

to our club meeting, risking

his job to say "Look John, your reputation doesn't look good

here, what's going on?" And I

found these extraordinary

reports that had been put into

the files of the police. In

actual fact, while I was

supposed to be terrorising the Dandenong Hospital I was 120

miles away at a youth camp with

five ministers of religion and

120 other people at the camp,

and yet when I asked for that

to be removed, the senior

officer said "Well, that's Your

Shout interpretation, that's

too bad, these just happen to

be our reports". Now I could

give many other examples, but

our time is short. Certainly

some of our members lately have

undergone quite considerable

harassment since the changing

of the laws and since

Queensland has been considering

a possibility of going in the

same direction. One of our

members who I would describe as

a contemplative Catholic and

very gentle brother has been

accused of being in possession

of weapons of affray, because

in his car when the police,

without warrant, did their

strip searching and all that other stuff when the brothers

met together to try and look at

how we could reduce the

violence, he - it's going to

cost him thousands of dollars

probably to defend himself

against absurd accusations.

The south Brisbane chapter were

breathalysed recently, were

cleared - no-one had been over

the limit. They were made to

stand for half an hour on the

side of the road while the cars

went by and some of them were

personally mocked by officers

belittling the possession of a

bible and being religious. In

the days of abandoned, now abandoned consorting laws in

Victoria, young offenders,

who'd actually been converted

to the faith and were exemplary

in their behaviour were

arrested at the entrance of our

church for consorting because

they were worshipping together.

Is it any wonder some of us

take a strong stand against

laws that allow the abuse of

power once they're in the hands

of an elite like the police

force? If society wishes to

breed a new generation of

haters of law and order then

draconian laws and harassment

will be an invitation to the

children and the spouses of

bikers and others to have no

respect whatsoever for the

police. I come also as a

culture researcher who's doctoral dissertation was an

examination of social movements

from the 1960s to the 1980s.

My experience has been this,

biker clubs are in our society

for a very real social purpose,

and Ant logical purpose. They

are part of a statement that

society no longer provides

ritual process, a basis for

camaraderie and no longer

provides really a sense of patriotism, self-giving,

loyalty and mateship for men.

And strangely enough, my

observation from an

anthropology point of view is that the only groups in society

that offer this are sometimes

the police force, sometimes the

military, certainly the bike

scene and lamentably sometimes

the Christian church when

they're really serious about

it. As a pastor and chaplain

to the biker scene, having

officiated at funerals and

wedding and acting as a mentor

for children of outlaws who've

been at risk, I've learnt

everybody is somebody's son.

You know, Rodney Stark an

outstanding socialologist

presented out an a tragedy that

cult groups usually only become

a social menace when they are

placed under siege and

cornered. And then I come to

you as a follower of Jesus.

What has that got to do with

it? My own brothers might

wonder that, I think you'll be

interested to hear this.? I

know what the scriptures says

of Jesus. It says in the Old

Testament in a prophesy

regarding Christ he was

numbered with the

transgressors. It is argued

that guilt by association a

fundamental violation of human

rights enshrined in this new

legislation, was own resist

reasons for the indictment and

crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

In fact, he converted two

terrorists or zealots to his

cause. Without association and

dignity afforded to those people, they would never have

been transformed. I know he

taught me that you can't judge

a book by its cover. Man books

on the outward appearance Jesus

said and God looks on the

heart. I want to do the same

thing. I know the hearts of so

many of my brothers and they

love their children and mothers

as much as any middle-class

person in my street. Frankly,

a lot of the bad people look

real nice, they don't look like

my mates in the bike scene. I

know the first century

Christians were slaughtered for

civil disobedience in refusing

to submit to Caesar. They

believed in death before

dishonour. True Christians

share a) cherished value

enshrined in the biker culture.

Finally let me say to my

brothers in the bike scene,

brothers we must pursue means

of conflict resolution so that

turf wars put neither innocent

people at risk nor put at risk

our equal incredible lifestyle

of camaraderie on the road. As

one who's seen people I love

through the love of

amphetamine, I pray that the love of money which is the root

of all evil, will cease to

attract a very small minority

to corporate crime. To the

legislators, I give you a bible

verse. Woe unto those that

make injustice legal. Legality

doesn't mean justice. Do not

allow cynical short-term

expediency in a post-9/11

terrorist era to dismantle

fundamental principles of human

rights. To law enforcement I

say, power corrupts, and the

public with which you deal are no different from your own

children. To behave with

oppressive coercion and

bullying tactics undermines the

necessary respect for real law.

And finally, again as my

brothers already said, a word

to the media. Yesterday, there

was a gentleman supposed to be

a good research documenter who

wrote a cynical article against

the Prime Minister, because he

was attending St John's

Anglican Church. As a fellow

attendee at St John's church,

viewing his obvious commitment

to his faith week by week, I

know, as most people that have

anything to do with that family

know, that Therese Rein's

church is her home church and

where she got married. I was

appalled to read this

journalist described as a

researcher. And I finish with

this, but there is nothing

compared to the wild,

ill-researched sensationalism

exhibited in reporting on biker

issues. Please brethren, will

you be responsible? Will you be

thorough? And above all, will

you write in such a way that

you promote humanity, freedom

and peace? APPLAUSE

Thank you very much, Dr

Smith, thank you all. Let's

move onto a period of questions

today. Thanks for the

opportunity, I just wanted to

ask with the formation of the

United Motorcycle Council, what

role do you see the

organisation has in stamping

out illegal activity within

motorcycle clubs? Each club is

responsible for their own

members. What we're mainly

together for is to fight the

legislation which is being... I

suppose the Government's put it

down as anti-biker legislation,

whereas it's an

anti-association legislation,

with anti-bikie written in the

media. They can stir the

people up easier. Anyone we

talk to says "Next year, --

says " nah we're not interested

in that law, it's about the

bikies" , when we tell them

it's about everyone, they start

to listen. Firstly to Ferret,

is the violence over, the

violence that we saw in Sydney

recently, the Get Squares, the

acts of revenge, the turf wars,

is it over? Was there a turf

war going on? We can never see

what's going to happen in the

future. As the council sits

together at the table we can

mediate and hopefully sort out

any tension before it starts

and gets carried away. And to

Professor Wilson, I wanted to

ask you the events of the past

24 hours, the arrest of four

people and a fifth in custody

over this terrorism-related

event. Are you concerned that

that will only ensure that

these laws are passed? That it

will make it more likely these

laws are passed? That's a good

question. I don't really know

the answer to that. I think

these laws, which as Ferret

points out, do potentially

apply not only to bikies, but

other groups, were initiated by

the incident at Sydney Airport.

Now whether the current

incident will lead to other

States quickly taking up the association laws, it's hard to

see. I see the issues as being completely separate myself. I

think it's unlikely that they

will necessarily propel the

association laws having taken

up in other States, but others

might think differently. If I

could just put a bit into that.

This is today's 'Australian'

and s that part of it relating

to that bit. It says the carefully orchestrated cover

story was at security levels at

Holsworthy had to be upgraded

due to fears that bikie gangs

were planning to break into the

army base and steal weapons.

This is the sort of thing we're

up against. I'm from Sydney, I

heard this when it was

happening and it was treated by

the media as fact. The rest of

the article does say that was

found not to be the case, or implies it was another

terrorist group. But at the

time it was led that it was the

fact. Some would have taken it

as that. The irony of this is

that in my experience of 40

years, if there's one thing

about bikers, they are fiercely

loyal, almost to a

Judao-Christian culture and as

far as them wanting to join

forces with the kind of

terrorist thing we're looking

at, it's quite absurd.

Patriotism gone wild almost is

in the heart of many of our

biker mates. That's why they

were so pro the war in Vietnam.

So many involved at that level.

It's ludicrous to put the

groups together . Can you tell

us more about the structure and the operations of your

council? Oh, of course. Our

aim is to seek to repeal the

Crimes Act and amendments and

I've got some of our objectives

here. I'll run through a few,

if you're right. To educate

the general public about

dangers of this law.? also

it's to provide a forum for the

peaceful resolution of

differences between member

clubs. And another is, to

print and publish any material

the UNC continues necessary to support its objective and to

support like-minded

organisations such as the Free

Australia Party. Just

following up Ferret on your

previous remark that the

primary purpose of the

organisation is to defeat the

proposed laws, does that,

therefore, mean once there's an outcome either way the

organisation will cease to

exist? This organisation has been going under this banner

for 20 years. It was part of

the Motorcycle Council of NSW.

We've gone for 20 years. This

is the stage we're up to now.

I don't see if any outcome

happens, we're not going to say

"That's the end of the council". In the short time

we've had the clubs together

we've made major progress. Anyone anyone on the council

would say "That's enough".

Everyone on the council knows

how well we've gone. Just a

second question. You mentioned

that there were other social

groups that have criminals in

their midst and that bikies are

being unfairly singled out. To

what extent is the difference

in the relationship with law

enforcement the factor that

leads to that? That there's a

historical reluctance among

bikers to cooperate with law

enforcement? How true is that

perception and is that part of

the problem leading to the

particular legislation? We,

like anyone have the right to silence. A motorcycle club is

an extension of your family.

Would you go to the police and

dob someone in your family in?

That's the way we see it. Let

me ask each of you this

question. The incident in

March at Sydney Airport was

admittedly a very violent and

one that shocked a lot of people, but do you think that

the spate of legislation that

we've seen or has been

foreshadowed is a reaction of

politicians under pressure? And

do you think that there is

pressure on them also from the

police who seem to have a

particular aversion to

motorcycle clubs? Of course

there is. As with any government, the government

needs to create an evil and

look like they conquer it to

satisfy the people. We saw the

same thing in Iraq, they moved

in on Saddam Hussein for weapons of mass destruction.

Never found any, today he's a

dead man and the Americans have

taken his country over. Let's

say that some politicians

actually believe that bikers

are a major threat to

Australian society and they're

not being hypocritical and

they're not just assuming that

this legislation will be good

for them electorally. I think

there's a combination of people

who honestly believe that

bikers are a real threat and

those who see it as a law and order issue which will, in

fact, attract votes. I think

it's a combination of both. I

think it's a pity they haven't

looked at the amount of crime

that bikers actually cause and

I think those figures are now

on the public record, and I

think it's a great pity they

haven't seen through the

consequences of this

legislation in terms of what

it's going to cost and the fact

that if you're going to to

spend literally millions of

dollars on new squads, it means

you're going to take money away

from searching for missing kids

and bank robbers and other

forms of crime, and white

collar crime especially now,

which others would argue is

damaging Australian society far

more than bikers ever do. Is

that reflecting police

attitudes? I do believe that

there is considerable pressure

from within some sections of

some police. Again on the

other hand to be fair, I've had

some police officers tell me

privately that they think it

won't make an iota of

difference. But I've heard another police officer in

another State saying, "? gee,

whiz my squad's now gone up

from 20 to 31" and very proud

of the fact, and there's a lot

of that going on. Bureaucracies like building

bigger empires. It's

interesting that just the other

day, 70 officers descended on

our club and another club that

were on a poker run to raise

money for a medical helicopter,

and that was genuine. I mean,

it didn't get a big thing in

the press, it wasn't PR for the

God Squad or this other group,

it was things bikers often do

for the community. Now 70

officers harassed them, and we

haven't got time to go into it,

but they harass ed them and

carried on. They found two

guys over the legal limit. They found nothing to charge

any of the patch-wearing bikers

at all and I would say it's a

ridiculous waste of the

taxpayers' money when there are

many issues of public safety

that are important. The second

thing I want to say is this,

Mike Rann began the Australian thing before what happened in

Sydney. That's a trigger that

gave an excuse for something.

Third thing I want to say is

the public have always been

easily turned on to a law and

order issue, and if ever the

NSW Government needed some

phoney reason to try and stay

in power, they've got one now.

Third thing I'd say is this, if

these people are serious, why

don't the politicians talk to

us? They might say "Oh, we

think these are bad guys" , God

Squad is supposed to be a fine

Christian group and no-one has

approached us. There's no excuse saying that's because we

have priors, because we have no

priors. But why don't they

talk to all of us? Why don't

they talk to the council, why

don't they talk to you as the

person that is up there in the

council? Finally, let me say

that the real threat - let me

ask this audience here, who of

you in this audience have felt

a personal threat by bikies

next door to you? I think you

get that point. It's a media-generated phobia and

fear. It's not something

that's coming from the average

citizen at all. Just following

on from what John said there

Ferret, has there been any

attempt by the NSW authorities

to talk to the council? No, no

attempt at all. Our first

meeting that we, organised

meeting by the council was

raided by the police. People

were held for two hours while

their cars were searched,

strip-searched, their identification was taken.

That's what our God Squad

member was charged with this ludicrous charge that he

probably has to spend thousands

to fight. A question for

Professor Wilson. I'm not a

lawyer, but I was just trying

to think of comparative laws

against individual groups that

might have had some impact, and

one that came to mind was the

laws that created the

Australian Building and

Construction Commissioner, who

they had extra interrogation

powers, for example, and was

aimed at lawlessness in the

construction industry and that

is having an effect at decreasing lawlessness in that

industry. The Government's

agreed to phase that out. I'm

just wondering whether there is

going to be a period perhaps

where you could campaign for

these laws to be assessed and

then phased out rather than

opposing them altogether and

seeing whether they are having

any impact? I'm not all that

familiar with the interrogation

laws in the building industry,

but these association laws are

very different. They're quite

unique laws actually. Laws

like this have been banned in

the United States. Laws where

you... where you convict people

of a crime without a trial,

which is essentially what these

laws are. So I would not want

any sort of experimental period

where they are introduced. I

think they should never be

introduced, because I think

that would be counterproductive

and I think the Canadian

experience shows they lead to

more violence rather than less

violence, because if you push

people underground and you give

them nowhere else to go , some

of them and some clubs and

Ferret might not want to say

this, but I'll say it, some are

going to get violent and nasty

about this. I wish you didn't

say that, Paul. Paul, just

expanding on the central point

there, would you like to talk a

bit about the old consorting

laws and what brought about

their doubtful? Well Ken, you

probably know as much about

those as I do, in terms of the

Queensland experience. No,

you're the expert. I think the

consorting laws were one of the

major problems that arose

pre-the Fitzgerald inquiry and

I think the relationships

between some criminals and some

police... some criminals and

some police was a very sick

relationship. We're finding by

the way the same relationship

has developed now between

prison informers and police.

These aren't the consorting

laws, but I believe that the

association laws just taking

your question on one step, are

laws which could also be very

dangerous for police forces,

because they do give the police

the chance, the potential to

reward some organised crime

groups - and I'm not talking

about bikers only, I'm talking

about groups generally - and

cut others out of the organised crime marketplace, if you like,

as I implied in my talk. If I

was a strict subeditor, I'd say

what he said was it gave police

power that led to corruption.

My question in the first

instance is to you, Ferret. Do

you and your colleagues from

the UMCNSW embrace and endorse

principles such as unity in

strength and safety in numbers

and if you do, I wonder whether

in the embrace of that

principle you also look towards

other organisations across the

total community, sporting

organisations, community

organisations, service

organisations, other groups,

other organisations across the

total community which might

identify with the sorts of

principles you've articulated

very, very eloquently today,

and your colleagues have

articulated very eloquently

today. Those sorts of

principles which might generate

further support for you in the

recognition which you seek for

the legitimate aspirations and

the legitimate goals which the

UMCNSW espouses? Of course ,

that's one of the reasons we

came here today, so people

could hear, and we've invited

anyone who would like to come

who represents an organisation

who would like to sit at one of

our council meetings is welcome

to come, can lease with us and

we'll have them there. We can

hear what they have to say and

they can hear what we have to

say and pass it onto their

people. We're not under any

misguidance. We want to spread

the message that after us, everyone else is available to

be controlled, as well. Thank

you very much. This is our

last question today and I warn

you, this is often found to be

quite difficult. The national

capital attracts all sorts of

educational tours and they

often come here, thank you very

much for coming. Today's group

is from the Milpark Secondary

College and they've nominated a

student to ask you a question.

My question is to Professor Wilson, would the introduction

of a bill of rights as a

preamble to our constitution

help address such concerns as a

right to assembly? I'm not an

expert on the bill of rights,

but my answer is yes it would,

yes it would. Would there be

other certain legislation which

would help to defend those

rights like Ferret said, like

the right to trial, the right

to assembly and those other

such rights to help the civil

rights and human rights as

such? The point I'm trying to

make and I think all of us are trying to make is that

association laws actually

violate all those rights.

Association laws just say that

a particular group is a criminal organisation. There

is not a trial, so it violates

the whole tradition of British

and American laws. The

Americans have banned laws like

this in their constitution.

The British used to have laws

like this so that kings could

get rid of their rivals, but

they haven't been used since

1790. These are unique laws

and the only countries that I

know of in the industrialised

western world which use them

are Canada, Australia and New

Zealand. The other thing that

gets me on this is I marched

about the imprisonment of not

only Mandela but before that

Steve Beaco and the very

reasons we wouldn't play sport

with South Africa, was because

they could apprehend people,

hold them in detention without

making proper charge and they

had no access to being able to

have due process. That's the

very reason we cut South Africa

off, with their apartheid laws

and to me they're very related

to these present set of

laws. We have a lot of people

who say sport and politics

don't mix. Just Ken, if I can

make a quick comment, I've just

come back from the Cambodian

genocide trials where the

commander of S 21, the prison

where between 12 and 13,000

people were executed was

giving, being cross-examined

and giving evidence. He's

being prosecuted for genocide

now, and he looks very much

like a Canberra public servant,

like I do. He's dressed like

this. There is no doubt that

he is responsible for these

crimes. He might not be found

guilty, but he's admitted that

he was responsible and said

that he's sorry for them. My

point really is that even

though he dresses and talks

like a Canberra bureaucrat, do

not judge a book by the cover.

Just because bikers dress and

look differently, does not mean

that they are necessarily evil,

just because Canberra public

servants dress nicely, doesn't mean that they're necessarily

good. Dear, dear. APPLAUSE

Let's have a final question.

I'd just like to take up... I

guess you've raised and media

and their role in all of this

quite a bit today, and in

defence of the media I'd like

to say, they weren't the guys

at Sydney Airport, and you guys

say it's unreasonable for these

laws to be introduced, is it

not reasonable to expect for

the rest of society to expect

not to be able to witness, not

to have to witness what went on

at Sydney? Of course, we're not

saying that's not a tragedy,

but with these laws, I'll give

you an example in South

Australia. The Finks

Motorcycle Club in South

Australia has had a control

order placed on it. Nine members have control orders

placed on them. Two of those

members have no criminal

record. How many people in NSW

have no criminal record who can

also have a control order

placed on 'em under secret

police intelligence? That's

what it's come to. I love the

media, and I'm glad of this

kind of media opportunity and

when I was in prison in the Philippines I would have been

executed if it wasn't for AAP

journalists who snuck around

the prison when the guards were going around here they came

around there, and they got the

story, hit the media and

embarrassed the Filipino

Government so they had to take

action. I have a profound

regard for the media, so I'm

just saying to you in this

regard where the cards are

stacked against us, give us a

break, that's all and look at

it properly. APPLAUSE

... have a greater

association or relationship

with the media? We've sent out

packages to the media. We have

a PR company they can lease

with, they can ask questions

with, before they put one of their stories in from the

police spin doctors they can

lease with us, we'll tell them

if we want to talk with them,

if the story's true and then

they can go from there. When

it was brought up before about

0.6%, many, many of the stories

in the newspaper of alleged

motorcycle club members or

associates, we don't even know.

So that figure is nowhere near

where it's represented. If the

stories, as you can see in the

media we're not reading much

bikie-related stuff. You can

liaise with us that's not true,

why run it? For years we

laughed and said "Oh, we must

have 10,000 members in our

club, look at all this" , now

we know that's working against

us, so now we'll liaise with

you, you can hear the right

story and if you want to put

rubbish in the paper that's

your freedom of expression, if

you want to put the right thing

in the paper, we'll talk to you

about it. I'd like to thank

all of you, and the questioners

for the past hour. I'll

present each of our panel up

here with a membership card,

which will allow them to come

back as often as they like in

the next year, and also

something to celebrate with if

t