Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
New laws target outlaw gangs -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

New laws target outlaw gangs

Reporter: Mike Sexton

KERRY O'BRIEN: For most people, a bikie turf war is a case of "out of sight, out of mind", but a
series of violent incidents in the past week has police concerned that innocent bystanders could be
caught in crossfire. In Sydney, a battle between the Rebels and the Nomads bikie gangs resulted in
two arson attacks and a near-fatal assault. And in South Australia, police fear simmering tensions
between the Rebels and the Hell's Angels gangs could erupt into full-scale war after shots were
fired at a black-tie event last week. On another front, police intelligence suggests these outlaw
gangs are infiltrating the security business as a cover for drug dealing. And now the South
Australian Government has passed controversial new laws covering the licensing of crowd controllers
which it hopes will curb the growing influence of the gangs. Mike Sexton reports.

MIKE SEXTON: It's Friday night in Adelaide. The nightclub strip in the city is filling up. And as
much a part of the scene as bright lights and loud music are the bouncers or crowd controllers,
whose job it is to keep the peace.

PHIL TSIPIANITIS, SECURITY MANAGER: You need someone that's confident, someone that even in a
situation that might seem a bit scary, a bit tense, he can still sort of hold himself up and deal
with it.

MIKE SEXTON: But recently, a sinister shadow has been cast over the security industry in this
state, with reports that a significant number of crowd controllers are linked to outlaw bikies.

MICHAEL ATKINSON, SA ATTORNEY-GENERAL: The police tell us that eight out of 10 licensed venues in
the central business district have crowd controllers supplied to them by companies associated with
outlaw motorcycle gangs.

MIKE SEXTON: According to police, two bikie clubs, the Hell's Angels and the Rebels, are linked to
a spate of violence, including shootings, bashings and bombings. Now they say the clubs are
involved in providing security for some city nightclubs, which has created a new front in their
turf war - something that reached a flashpoint last month at a black-tie function, at the Adelaide
Dance Music Awards.

REPORTER: Furniture was upturned and shots fired at the music awards on Monday night after up to
seven men stormed the building in front of hundreds of shocked guests.

REPORTER: Police in Adelaide have named the Hell's Angels and Rebels motorcycle gangs as being
involved in Monday's brawl and shooting at Football Park.

POLICE SPOKESPERSON: This stems from a dispute between the clubs involving their association with
two nightclubs in Adelaide.

MIKE SEXTON: The government is convinced bikies use their presence in the nightclubs as a front for
selling drugs.

MICHAEL ATKINSON: Amphetamines and other drugs have been sold inside these premises. Very little is
going over the bar in alcohol - a lot of water is going over the bar to dilute the effect of the
drugs - and the crowd controllers are there to protect the trade in drugs by that gang.

MIKE SEXTON: Are there blokes who are crowd controllers who shouldn't be?

PHIL TSIPIANITIS: Look, that's - I can't say that there's not. I mean, in any industry, whether
it's security or whether it's - whatever it may be - taxi driving, for example - you're going to
get a few rotten apples.

STEVE WILLIAMS, FORMER GYPSY JOKERS PRESIDENT, SA: I think it's foolhardy and another desperate
grasp at some sort of vote-grabbing. What do they call it? - grandstanding again.

MIKE SEXTON: Steve Williams is the former president of the Gypsy Jokers Motorcycle Club in South
Australia. He's no longer involved with the club and now works as a security consultant and
believes bikies are being unfairly targeted.

STEVE WILLIAMS: He seems to pick these areas where there's no particular spokesperson or no union
or anything like that to answer back as a whole and paints a picture of these social bogey men -
"We're going to get 'em, we're going to get 'em."

MIKE SEXTON: As a result of the drug allegations and the violence, the South Australian Government
has introduced new laws designed to clean up the industry by taking away the licences of those
considered undesirable. Under the new law, crowd controllers can be fingerprinted, subjected to
random drug and alcohol tests and, most significantly, in a similar way to the old consorting laws,
could have their licence rebuked if they're known associates of criminals or bikies.

CHIEF INSPECTOR ASHLEY LANGE, SA LICENSING ENFORCEMENT: Yes, we will target specific people in that
industry that our intelligence holdings would suggest that they need specific attention to be paid
in relation to those.

MICHAEL ATKINSON: No-one has a right to be a crowd controller. They're so important at our venues
that I'm willing to take the risk that 1,000 or 2,000 of them will be removed from the trade and
that indeed we may have a shortage of licensed crowd controllers for a period to clean up the
trade.

MIKE SEXTON: Phil Tsipianitis believes the key to a bouncer being effective is experience, knowing
who's who and anticipating trouble. Part of that is getting to know patrons, including bikies.

PHIL TSIPIANITIS: I've been in situations where there happens to be a certain person in a certain
club, inside there having a drink and I know that when another mob sort of turn up, there's going
to be fuel for fire there. In doing so, in sort of knowing what's what and what's happening, I have
averted a lot of trouble sometimes.

MIKE SEXTON: In theory under the new laws, a crowd controller could lose his licence for that
association. The Law Society of South Australia has written to the Attorney-General, Michael
Atkinson, arguing that the legislation risks going against one of the foundations of the legal
system - the presumption of innocence. Mr Atkinson concedes that the law runs the risk of removing
innocent crowd controllers but believes it's a risk worth taking.

MICHAEL ATKINSON: We're going to crack down through this legislation and bring in a law that, on
its face, could be quite unjust in its operation. Many of these people we're targeting are
cleanskins - they don't have any convictions - but nevertheless, they need to be removed from the
trade because of their association with the gangs.

STEVE WILLIAMS: They could take your licence and not even tell you. This guy's just writing up the
rules as he goes.

MIKE SEXTON: Lou Klement runs a pub in the centre of the city and employs crowd controllers for his
busy days. He hasn't had a fight here for three years but worries that that will change if the
predictions that thousands of bouncers will leave the industry come true. He fears such a dramatic
reduction will leave him with inexperienced guards on his door.

LOU KLEMENT, HOTEL MANAGER: My personal opinion, I don't think it will help in any way. I've had
the same security company here for a number of years and the guys that I've had working here, I
don't know them personally, I don't know their history or background. As long as they're doing the
job right here, I'm happy with those particular individuals.

MIKE SEXTON: Tonight clubs will be open and crowd controllers will be on the doors. How many will
continue to work will be a test of the government's tough stand and the intelligence it's based on.

STEVE WILLIAMS: It's going to affect the guys who are bringing home the bread and butter for their
families there.

MICHAEL ATKINSON: These gangs are engaging in a war with one another and the danger is that members
of the public will be harmed in the crossfire.