Queensland’s anti-corruption judge, Tony Fitzgerald, has slammed the new Queensland bikie laws for the foolhardy attempt by politicians to make major changes to the criminal law without consulting legal experts.
Queensland has recently introduced a flood of criminal law amendments aimed at toughening up anti-bikie laws. Under the new laws, members’ and associates’ movements and meetings will be restricted, minimum sentences for their crimes will be increased, the Attorney-General will have the power to keep serious sex offenders in prison indefinitely, and special prisons will be created to house serious bikie gang members.
Judges, lawyers and civil libertarians have all voiced concerns about the changes, but the Queensland Premier, Campbell Newman, has labelled critics as “apologists for paedophiles.”
Mr. Fitzgerald has criticised these laws saying that:
"Although Parliament has power to enact almost any law which it chooses, parliamentarians who are elected to do what's best for the community don't have a mandate to give effect to prejudices and ill-informed opinions, ignore ethics and conventions or attack fundamental values such as personal freedom or essential institutions such as the judiciary…”
He went on to say that the government was extremely arrogant to denigrate the judiciary and slander those who disagreed with their “political solution.”
Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has dismissed the criticism.
"Mr Fitzgerald is entitled to his opinion ... that's the great democracy we live in," he said."We're getting on with the job, we're doing what Queenslanders elected us to do 18 months ago and that's to restore the balance of justice in Queensland and get the balance of scales right…Two-strike sex offender laws, serious assaults on police officers, graffiti offences, youth justice offences - the new criminal motorcycle gang laws and the sex offender laws are an extension to those already tough laws."
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