Wellington calls for 'reasonable amendments' to VLAD
INDEPENDENT MP Peter Wellington has called on the Attorney General to bring back the "Australian way" and amend the controversial anti-bikie laws.
Mr Wellington stood on the steps of the Maroochydore Court house this morning in front of a crowd of about 40 people, rallying against the State Government's VLAD laws.
The recent anti-bikie legislation, including the VLAD Act, has been expressed by the State Government as a necessary piece of legislative artillery in the Queensland Government's "war on bikies".
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The protest coincided with a court mention for the Sunshine Coast's "Yandina Five" who were charged under the laws for associating together at the Yandina Hotel in early November.
"We are here supporting the families who have been caught up in the government's legislation," Mr Wellington said.
"We are saying we want to return to the Australian way where everyone is equal before the law, where if someone is charged with an offence a magistrate is able to give reasonable bail conditions until the matter is before the court.
"We now have these ridiculous bail conditions where someone has to be placed in solitary confinement before any charges brought against them are even heard.
"I am asking Premier Campbell Newman and Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie from the Sunshine Coast, that when parliament returns in February, they bring in some reasonable amendments to the current legislation and we can return to equality before the law."
MP risks arrest at VLAD protest outside Maroochydore court
COAST MP Peter Wellington will risk being arrested under the state's new VLAD laws when he addresses a rally against the controversial legislation this morning.
The rally will be held on the steps of Maroochydore Courthouse to coincide with a hearing for three Yandina men jailed under the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment laws without trial since late last year.
Steven Smith, Joshua Carew and Paul Lansdowne are being held in Brisbane's Arthur Gorrie Detention Centre after being refused bail last month.
Chief Magistrate Tim Carmody granted bail to Dan Whale and Scott Conley, who are accused of breaching the anti-association laws when they met for a drink at the Yandina Hotel in November.
Those laws might be put to the test today as the crowd at the rally is expected to include family and friends of the alleged bikies.
Mr Wellington said the rally would be the first test of how far police officers were willing to go in upholding the government's legislation.
"This is not a protest in support of bikies - it is a show of defiance against the government's extreme legislation," the independent Member for Nicklin said.
"If any police try to arrest any person attending a pub-lic meeting that I, as a member of state parliament, will be addressing, the ramifications will be huge.
"I call on any police officers who attend the meeting to allow it to go ahead peacefully.
"If any serving officer tries to arrest someone because of this government's extreme legislation, it will be a direct attack on our freedom.
"If any police officer tries to arrest anyone, they can take me first because it will show the sad state Queensland is in today."
A friend of the jailed men said their families were struggling to come to terms with the fact they could not see or talk to them for Christmas.
"They have been deprived of their liberty and the chance to see their families without a fair trial," he said.
"They were completely cut off from them for Christmas and their families are falling apart.
"Steven's mother is distraught - her mental and physical health is falling apart.
"The others are all seeing a psychologist to help them cope."
The rally will begin at 8.30am.