Page 4765 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 1 November 2017

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This is in Canberra, Madam Speaker. This is happening right now in Canberra, and this is something that we must stop. Those are just some of the headlines in the period since the Labor Party dropped their push for anti-consorting laws.

One of the saddest parts of this saga is the fact that these were not unexpected. I, the local police force, the New South Wales Police and many others have been warning of the risk of these tragic events since 2009. It was well known and well reported before any of the incidents I just referred to ever happened.

I will read some further headlines, to prove the point. “Outlaw bikie gangs heading to Canberra because of the ACT’s soft laws on consorting”. That is from the Daily Telegraph in January this year. “Bikies drawn to Canberra due to lack of anti-gang laws”. That is from the ABC on 6 March this year. “Canberra becoming a Bikie Mecca”. That is from the Daily Telegraph in May this year. “Calls for anti-consorting laws after Comancheros’ Canberra run”. That is from the Canberra Times in August this year. “ACT needs anti-consorting laws now before someone dies”. That is from the Sydney Morning Herald in September this year.

It is not just the headlines; these calls were made by informed professionals. I quote from the Daily Telegraph in January this year, which reported:

NSW Police sources have revealed their exasperation at how the ACT situation is hampering their battle against the bikie menace. “A lot of clubhouses have been closed down and bikies are no longer roaming in packs in NSW, but it’s frustrating that they can still operate freely in Canberra,” a senior NSW officer said.

Australian Federal Police Association president, Angela Smith, stated:

I’ve been calling for these laws since I became president just over 18 months ago and I just don’t understand the reticence of the ACT government. It doesn’t make any sense. It is the last part of the suite of resources we need to battle outlaw motorcycle gangs.

I’ve been going on like a broken record. We’re an island in NSW. We’ve become a safe place to operate.

For goodness’ sake, bring these laws in.

That was from July this year. I quote from an editorial in the Canberra Times from July this year:

The latest outbreak of outlaw motorcycle club-related violence in the suburbs of Canberra has shocked the city and demands a strong response from authorities.

As matters stand Canberra is now viewed by some as a safe haven for these gun-wielding thugs who have fled across our border to avoid being persecuted elsewhere.

Pity the terrified residents of Canberra suburbs listening to assault rifles being fired meters from their homes.

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