New commission to shift focus off bikie gangs
AS Queensland's controversial "bikie" laws are set to be reviewed by a commission of inquiry later this year, our four-part special report looks into the impacts of the legislation since its introduction in 2013.
This is Part 3: The Legal Impacts
DRUG dealers, sex offenders, white-collar criminals and corrupt officials are set to become the newest targets in the war on organised crime in Queensland.
A state-based commission, with the power to compel witnesses to testify, will start later this year and carefully examine the links between a range of criminal organisations.
A spokesperson for Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said the commission would call on witnesses, police, intelligence officials and academic experts, and would hear evidence behind closed doors if necessary.
The commission promises to shift the focus of law enforcement away from outlaw motorcycle gangs exclusively, and comes as an independent taskforce prepares to review the controversial VLAD laws.
The Attorney-General's spokesperson said the government was looking to improve the anti-bikie legislation while still delivering safe communities across Queensland.
"While the terms of reference for the review have not yet been released, the government is committed to a wide-ranging review," the spokesperson said.
However, some aspects of the hardline laws have already been relaxed.
When the legislation was first introduced it contained harsh correctional provisions, such as forcing outlaw bikie gang members to wear pink jumpsuits and be held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.
These were repealed following significant public backlash, and the special "bikie-only" prison unit established by the former LNP government now no longer exists.
A spokesperson for Queensland Corrective Services said all prisoners were instead now managed and assessed on a case-by-case basis, according to their individual requirements.
"All prisoners may be subject to certain restrictions if identified risk factors are present," the spokesperson said.
But the spokesperson did say bikie gang participants and associates remained subject to criminal organisation segregation orders, which could determine a prisoner's privileges and the extent to which they were segregated from other prisoners.
Bikie Laws - The Fallout is a collaboration between Australian Regional Media and students of Bond University.