Page 880 - Week 03 - Thursday, 10 March 2005
MR HARGREAVES: He is unhappy. Mr Speaker, Mr Pratt interjects and says that it is poor law.
MR SPEAKER: Make your comments through me, Mr Hargreaves.
MR HARGREAVES: Clearly, our protective laws for our citizenry are not good enough. How about you go and see your mates on the hill and get them to overturn the whole lot, get rid of self-government, or just leave this place and go and join them on the hill. What a load of absolute, scare-mongering claptrap we have just been treated to! Scare-mongering claptrap. That is what this so-called shadow minister for police is up to.
For those members opposite who do not know, the Rebels Motorcycle Club is an Australia-wide motorcycle gang—they all know that; righto—with chapters that operate within the ACT-Queanbeyan area. In recent times, identified members of the club have been prosecuted for criminal offences within the ACT Magistrates Court and the Supreme Court of the ACT. You would not know that, Mr Pratt, because your remedial reading classes are not up to date.
MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Hargreaves! Direct your comments through me.
MR HARGREAVES: The Ulysses Motorcycle Club is a social club of veteran motorcycle enthusiasts, ranging in age from 40 to 92 years of age. Sorry about that, Mr Gentleman. I cannot do anything about that. Members of the club come from diverse backgrounds and have a common link, that being the love of motorcycles. The average age—you are not going to like this either, Mr Gentleman—is 55 years old. Approximately 5,000 Ulysses members are currently in Canberra attending a national annual general meeting at the EPIC showgrounds from 7 to 13 March this year. One incident has been reported to police regarding the actions of a Rebels member at the EPIC showgrounds on 8 March. The matter was reported to police as a matter of information and the Rebels member has been spoken to in relation to his actions.
As a result of this incident, police are proactively patrolling the areas of the EPIC showgrounds and all operational police members have been informed of potential incidents that may arise involving members of the Rebels and Ulysses motorcycle clubs. There have been no other incidents reported to police involving threatening or intimidating behaviour by members of the Rebels towards members of the Ulysses Club since the commencement of the Ulysses’ national annual general meeting.
If Mr Pratt has any information that I do not have—other than which he can glean from his daily reading of the Canberra Times—I suggest that he give that information to the police and they will act on it. If any other threatening or intimidating incidents have occurred, police request members of the public, including the illustrious shadow minister for police, to come forward and each incident will be investigated thoroughly. It must be noted that, for a successful conviction for threatening or intimidating behaviour, police require a signed statement from the victim and an undertaking that the victim is prepared to give evidence in relation to the matter in court.
Senior ACT police have been in contact with members of both clubs in an effort to resolve the issues, as reported in the Canberra Times on 10 March. The dispute, as