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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services
    The Honourable Jack Dempsey
    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
    The Honourable Jarrod Bleijie

    High Court upholds criminal gang laws


    Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services
    The Honourable Jack Dempsey

    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
    The Honourable Jarrod Bleijie

    Friday, November 14, 2014

    High Court upholds criminal gang laws

    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie has welcomed the High Court’s decision to uphold Queensland’s anti-criminal gang laws.

    Mr Bleijie said the Court’s endorsement of the Newman LNP Government’s strong reforms allowed police to continue to protect innocent Queensland families and disrupt organised crime in the state.

    “The Government’s strong stance against organised crime has been fair and effective and that has been confirmed by the High Court today,” Mr Bleijie said.

    “The laws have had a tremendous and unprecedented impact on organised crime and crime in general in Queensland.

     “Just over a year ago, Queensland was a place where criminal gangs thought they could shoot rivals and innocent people in shopping centres, brawl in our streets, deal drugs to our kids and blockade a police station without consequences.

    “Labor was soft on crime and tough action was needed.

    “The Government made a commitment to Queenslanders that we would make this state the safest place to raise a family and we acted swiftly with a strong plan to stop what is a dangerous problem in our community and across the world.

    “However, the job is not done and the Government and police will work together to keep crime gangs from regaining a foothold and make the future brighter for families.”

    Police Minister Jack Dempsey said police would continue to pursue criminal gangs and dismantle their illegal enterprises.

    “This Government gave police the resources and the tools they needed to effectively tackle organised crime and they have achieved amazing success in just one year,” Mr Dempsey said.

    “In a little over 12 months, gang members have been arrested and charged with a raft of offences including murder, extortion and drug trafficking.

    “The laws have also prevented further acts of public violence, stopped hundreds of kilos worth of dangerous drugs from reaching our children, driven gangs from their clubhouses and lifted the weight of fear from victims who were previously too afraid to complain to police.

    “Since October last year, more than 1,500 gang members or associates have been arrested on nearly 4,200 charges and the reported crime rate across Queensland has dropped dramatically.”

    Following today’s High Court decision, members of organised crime gangs will continue to face:

    • Stronger sentencing
    • Stronger bail requirements
    • Stronger investigative powers for the Queensland Police Service and the Crime and Corruption Commission
    • Strong laws that prevent them from using their numbers to intimidate the community
    • Strong licensing regulations that ensure a range of industries can no longer be used as fronts or vehicles for further criminal activity.

    Mr Bleijie said that the High Court found the plaintiff lacked standing to challenge the Government’s Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act 2103 (commonly known as VLAD). It also found amendments to the Criminal Code and the Liquor Act 1992, which prevent criminal gangs from associating in public or wearing restricted items in licensed premises, were valid.

    “Queensland continues to have the most effective and comprehensive laws in Australia to disrupt and pursue criminal gangs and this Government will continue to stand up for Queenslanders,” he said.

    “Today’s decision by the High Court to ratify the Government’s reforms proves the scare campaign and misinformation by criminal gangs and their supporters were false. We designed the laws to target only members of organised crime and that’s what they are doing.

    “Queenslanders now have a clear choice: a Government that implements strong, fair and effective measures to keep them safe and disrupt organised crime, or a Labor Opposition that intends to return Queensland to the bad old days by repealing laws that have now been ratified by Australia’s highest court.”

    [ENDS] 14 November 2014

    Media Contact:

    Attorney-General’s office - Ashley McDermid 0412 731 355

    Police Minister’s office - Andrew Kos 0408 912 821