The first of the 17 Group Meetings for 2014 will be held on Wednesday the 5th of February in the usual location at the usual time, unit 6 at 20 Drury St West End at 7 pm. The topic will be:
Anti-Bikies Legislation, Civil Liberties, Court Challenges, and Law and Order.
Our speaker will be Michael Cope, President of the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties.
Some biographical notes on Michael:
Michael Cope is a Special Counsel with McKays Solicitors, a Queensland based law firm having offices in Brisbane, Mackay, the Gold Coast and the Surat Basin.
Michael commenced his legal career at a well known Brisbane legal firm specialising in criminal law where he assisted representing the Queensland Police Union before the Fitzgerald Inquiry. These days he practices in commercial litigation, mainly building disputes.
Michael has a long standing interest in civil liberties issues and has been active in the Council and other human rights related organisations for most of his adult life. Michael was at one time coordinator of the Australian Capital Territory and Southern New South Wales Legal Network
Michael was Vice-President of the Council between 1999 and 2005, and President from 2005 to 2012. Michael was re-elected President in October 2013.
Here is a summary of his talk under four headings that Michael has provided:
This talk will consist of the following:
A brief summary of the various Acts making up the so called Anti Bikie laws. There will be analysis from the civil liberties point of view whether laws can rationally be demonstrated to be necessary, reasonable, justified and proportionate.
A discussion of some of the applications of this legislation ways which are far outside the scope of organised crime.
A discussion of potential challenges to these laws in the High Court.
A discussion of these laws in the context of the broader law and order agenda particularly as it has developed in the United States and in the context of the so called War on Drugs
Leon, formerly member of the notorious Bikies for Bolshevism group that in many a memorable stoush fought it out on the streets of provincial Czarist Russian towns with rival gangs like the Mad Mensheviks and the Stalinoid Smashers, is pictured below warmly fraternising with fellow members of the club, as they awaited detention in pinko greatcoats in the infamous Peter and Paul Fortress. Leon wiped a nostalgic tear from his eye as he commented sympathetically on the current Queensland “repetition of history”. He makes his usual ambiguous non-commital yet enthusiastic remarks about possible attendance at our meeting,
quoting with approval the following remarks from the World Socialist Website:
Far from being confined to “bikie gangs,” the legislation could be used in the coming period to outlaw a range of organisations, including political parties regarded as a danger to the political establishment. The laws extend the scaffolding already created by the previous state Labor government’s Criminal Organisation Act.
Passed in 2009, that legislation permits groups (which can now consist of just three people under last week’s laws) to be banned on the basis of secret “criminal intelligence” that the group and its lawyers are barred from viewing—opening the door to unchecked victimisation.
An organisation can be banned if it represents “an unacceptable risk to the safety, welfare or order of the community” and exists to engage, or “conspire” to engage, in “serious criminal activity.” Such activity is defined to include political offences like sedition and riot. Groups can be outlawed based on mere allegations by police agents that some members may plan such activity in the future.
With curious irrelevance, Leon concluded by recalling some recent words from an article on Peter Hitchens, saying archly “See what happens when you can’t steer the motorbike of life”:
When Hitchens was young he “needed to grow up”. “I was a child at university,” he spits, the Trotskyism he espoused so thoroughly rejected since. According to Hitchens it took a serious motorbike accident and the death of his parents for him to ‘grow up’ – a necessary step to earn a position in the public debate in this slightly curious binary. And if you haven’t had these sorts of life experiences? “Oh, you’re still welcome to an opinion, but it’s not worth as much as mine.”
Come and give your opinion, even if you are not as confident about it as Peter or Leon.