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John Passant

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October 2013



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



First they came for the bikies

Queensland’s anti-bikie laws – a misnomer because they can apply to any group deemed to be a criminal association – are draconian. They also have a long history in Australia.

The Unlawful Associations Act in the First World War criminalised membership of the Industrial Workers of the World and then the IWW itself. The Wobblies were a syndicalist group of sorts whose anti-conscription popularity and growing influence the Hughes Government wanted to stop.

To make sure they could be painted as criminals, the New South Wales police framed 12 of their members for starting fires in Sydney. A Royal Commission 4 years later found ten of them to have been framed.

During the Cold War Liberal Prime Minister Menzies outlawed the Communist Party. The legislation was held unconstitutional. The Commonwealth had no power to make such laws. The States may have.

The war on terror has mean a creeping authoritarianism in the home countries. Two Australians, Mamdouh Habib and David Hicks, spent years in Guantanamo Bay concentration camp with the complicity of the Australian government. Anti-terrorism laws saw Mohamed Haneef imprisoned without charge for 12 days.

The Northern Territory Intervention criminalises indigenous Australians and removes basic rights from them.  This template is now being applied to poor people across Australia.

The Australian Building and Construction Commission removed basic rights from building workers and threatened them with 6 months jail for refusing to answer star Chamber questions.  Ark Tribe beat just such a charge on a technicality.  The new Liberal Government will attempt to restore the ABCC to its former infamy.

Both Labor and the Liberals have demonised asylum seekers and refugees, with chief racist, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, issuing a Goebbels-like edict to his staff that they are henceforth to be called illegals.  There is nothing illegal about seeking asylum.

New South Wales and South Australia attempted to criminalise bikie gangs a few years ago.  The High Court held their laws were invalid.

In New South Wales police used the the consorting laws in that State’s tough anti-bikie laws against a disabled pensioner (dismissed on appeal) and a 16 year old boy having a meal at Hungry Jacks with a friend. After publicity police withdrew the consorting charge.

Victoria has draconian anti-bikie laws too, but the police have not as yet used them.  If they do they too will be under constitutional challenge.

Bikies are only a small part (less than one percent according to some experts) of criminal business in Australia. Current laws are adequate to deal with them when they shoot at each other, besiege police stations, run drug syndicates and the like.

To understand why the State is criminalising bikies per se, let’s first have a look at some of the more outrageous aspects of the Queensland anti-bikie laws.

The legislation names 26 groups as criminal organisations, including the Bandidos, Finks and Mongol bikie gangs.  Going to a clubhouse, working in a tattoo parlour or riding motorcycles with fellow bikies will see members get six-months in a purpose built bikie jail at Woodford. Refusing to answer questions gets you six months.

There are mandatory additional years ranging from 15 to 25 to be added to crimes if members of the criminal associations commit them. A ten year sentence could become 35 years.

So the likely response is more violence not less. Their thinking might go like this.  ‘Blast the cops away and you might escape. You are going to get 35 years anyway for the amphetamine factory.’

The anti-bikie law sees the Parliament determine, without trial, that an organisation is unlawful or criminal. It is not restricted to bikie gangs either. Any organisation can be declared a criminal group, including political parties.

Remember this is the Government in Queensland which will crack down on dissent during the G20 meeting in Brisbane. Police will be able to arrest and jail anyone deemed a threat without giving them bail for at least the seven days of the summit. They have on the spot search powers and can prohibit named people from the city.

It looks like we have come full circle. The Unlawful Associations Act of 1916 declared the Wobblies a criminal group. No trial, just a fiat from the State. Almost 100 years later the Queensland government is doing the same thing – a fiat without trial declaring bikie gangs criminal organisations with all the draconian consequences that flow from that.

This isn’t just about bikies.  It is about creating a climate of fear and cowering people behind the strong state, the thick blue line ‘protecting’ us.

As the economy continues its long slow decline the demonisation of the enemy within or wanting to be within has moved from ‘terrorists’, asylum seekers, indigenous Australians now to bikies. Political parties of the Left if they were to grow in response to the likely increasingly ferocious attacks on workers and their organisations surely can’t be that far behind.

But that is for the future. The Abbott Liberal government and its State counterparts will ratchet up their strategy of vilification and demonisation against the powerless, the poor, refugees, bikies, indigenous Australians. This lays the groundwork for turning on social welfare recipients – so called dole bludgers and the like – and then on to the defensive organisations of labour, unions. They will ramp up the rhetoric of union thugs and attacks on unions.

An injury to one is an injury to all. To keep and improve current pay, conditions and jobs we will have to fight back against reaction, against all demonisation and vilification, against attacks on unions.  If there is hope it lies in the proles.

To comment or see what others are saying hit the link under the heading. Like all posts on this blog comments close after 7 days.



Comment from philip
Time October 20, 2013 at 10:56 pm

On the weekend 1 Rebels MC member was arrested for wearing a Rebels belt buckle in a pub.

The Labor and Liberal party’s should be declared criminal organizations for all the travel rorts.

As Daryn Hinch said “welcome to noddy land”

Comment from Rigby Taylor
Time October 21, 2013 at 11:24 am

The death of liberty by a thousand cuts. Fore warned should be fore armed, but, as with the degraded ecosystems, warming planet, pollution and changing climate, all the warnings in the world have changed nothing. Humans only respond to catastrophes – and then not well, merely reinstating the system that brought them into trouble in the first place. Majority rule is a doomed system when the majority of voters are more impressed by mindless slogans than reasoned argument.

Comment from joe lane
Time October 21, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Yeah right. Bikies are the salt of the earth, the real working-class. Or maybe the vanguard of an outdated lumpen sub-class ? Haven’t we learnt anything from a century of ‘socialism’ ? How close it usually becomes to fascism ? Or should theory always override practice, experience ? Politicians ? Straw men.

Comment from John
Time October 21, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Well Joe Lane I don’t say that at all, and as for Stalinism being socialism I suggest you read some of the other articles on this site debunking that.

Comment from Kay
Time October 21, 2013 at 8:00 pm


What a happy chappy you are! Full of optimism!

Comment from Ross
Time October 21, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Bikers or bikies are not a homogenous group. People from all levels of society ride the big bikes for enjoyment and to be tribal.

There is only a small % involved in criminal activity so why demonise everyone ?

Just recently they had 2 million ride in the USA for freedom and the constitution. They got less than half this number but it was effective. This was followed by 1000’s of truckers driving to Washington wanting to restore their constitution. Not mentioned in the MSM because our Govts are very worried about us wanting freedom.

Govts always fear their own people whom they screw and oppress, so they have to invent foreign enemies like terrorists or communists to keep us subjugated.

Comment from rebecca smith
Time October 21, 2013 at 10:43 pm

As John said, the laws don’t mention bikies or outlaw motorcycle gangs – they could be expanded to anyone, and I’m betting anti-CSG protestors will, because they are already labelled ‘extremists’ and are disrupting the ‘national interest’ and a CSG company’s ‘lawful activities’ – because the state gets to determine what is and is not lawful. Indeed – first they came for the bikies and I did not speak up, because I was not a bikie, then the trade unionists and the jews, but I was none of them. Then they came for me…and there was no-one to speak out…..I’m not a bikie fan, but really, who has been bashed by them who aren’t other bikies? Who have they pushed drugs onto? This is thin edge of the wedge stuff – once we ‘accept’ that all bikies are bad, and that any group of motorcyclists can be harassed, and that people cannot access their property or wear even small items, then we have to wonder who and what is next. Never send to know for whom the bell tolls.

Comment from Chris Warren
Time October 25, 2013 at 10:11 am

This is a complex issue. Organised crime will infiltrate any social structure it can – trade unions (eg Painters and Dockers), ethnic groups in Cabramatta, political parties, religions, police forces, and bikies.

Organised crime has been very useful for CIA and FBI dirty tricks. It also destroyed the reforms in Gorbachev’s Soviet Union and is diverting much of the expected benefits of aid and freer trade in Third World countries.

It is important that general concerns over civil liberties do not facilitate specific instances of organised crime where the spread of organised crime destroys the civil liberties of victims. Organised criminals will, and have, assassinate members of parliament, social activists and trade union organisers.

However with that said, there is another reality when ever capitalists and rednecks use one or two instances of crime to run gigantic scare campaigns against Asians, bikies and Reds.

This is what Campbell Newman is doing. He is exploiting some bikie elements and using fear-mongering to entrench his own political overlordship of Queensland. It is MacCarthyism and Inquisition all brought forward into the 21st century.

Campbell Newman shouting loudly against bikie corruption is, by deflecting interest, serving the interests of all the daily corruption by which capitalist development proceeds. Corrupt politicians give billions to magnates in silence what launch decibels against marginalised criminals who rack in thousands.

The solution to bikie crime is the same as it is to Moslem terror elements, ethnic gangs, criminal priests and trade union corruption. The majority of these groups must be mobilised and resourced to themselves contain or expel their rotten fruit.

As bad as Queensland’s legislation is, the Left must not over-react by threatening that we will accept that all bikies are bad.

Who has said this? What evidence is there of this?

No one has said all ethnics are bad, all priests are criminals, all union officials are corrupt, and so on.

This is not the occasion for launching the meme of “first they came for them but I did nothing …. “. Any criminal can use this to their own advantage.

Comment from John
Time October 25, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Chris, your response is very confused. Anyway, Overland says among other things ‘Trade unions should also be worried. Bleijie is also in charge of anti-union laws so egregious that even the IPA has condemned them. It is not fanciful to suggest he might adopt similar tactics in his battle with two groups he despises, or that other conservative governments might take up the new weapons he is developing. Liberal Party propaganda is already linking unions to bikie gangs. The application of anti-bikie laws to unions is a real possibility.’

Comment from Chris Warren
Time October 26, 2013 at 7:48 am

What’s the problem?

Would the IPA have objected if the same laws were applied against the Communist Party of Australia under Menzies?

Maybe re-write the sentence;

Corrupt politicians give billions to magnates in silence what launch decibels against marginalised criminals who rack in thousands.


Corrupt politicians give billions to magnates in silence while launching decibels against relatively insignificant criminals who steal thousands.

Society needs to take strong action against corruption – irrespective of where it occurs.

This was Gorbachev’s blind spot – and Deng Xiaoping’s.

So my query stands: Who has said all bikies are bad?

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