Law powerless to stop bikies
NOT one Queensland bikie has been jailed for consorting, despite Police Minister Mark Ryan boasting to State Parliament that 'we get convictions and we lock them up'.
Since consorting laws came into force in 2017 as part of the Palaszczuk Government's 'tough' new anti-bikie legislation, only two outlaw gang members have been convicted.
Both walked free from court - one with a fine and the other a good behaviour bond.
This is despite more than 1000 consorting warning notices issued by police for a crime that carries up to three years' jail.
The consorting laws were meant to be the centrepiece of Labor's Serious and Organised Crime legislation which replaced the controversial VLAD laws introduced by the former Newman Government following the 2013 Broadbeach bikie brawl on the Gold Coast.
But the consorting laws have:
* failed to lock up a single bikie;
* been successfully challenged by one notorious gang member and;
* come under fire from critics including former senior cop turned Bond University criminologist Terry Goldsworthy.
Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath admitted the laws had failed to put any bikies behind bars following LNP questions in state parliament recently.
"No offenders were sentenced to imprisonment," she said in response to a question on notice from Toowoomba MP David Janetzki about consorting convictions.
"One person was sentenced to a good behaviour order and one had a fine imposed."
It came after Mr Ryan told parliament in February, after a bikie shooting on the Gold Coast, that Queensland's organised crime laws were the 'strongest, toughest and most comprehensive in the nation'.
"That is how strong and tough our laws are - we get convictions and we lock them up," he said.
The laws took a major hit in March when Harley Barbaro, an accused Villains gang member and part of a notorious underworld family, was found not guilty of habitually consorting after a Gold Coast magistrate found the police warning notice issued to him was invalid.
Ms D'Ath has lodged an appeal against the decision.
Opposition leader Deb Frecklington said the Government was "all talk and no action" when it came to bikies.
"Labor talk tough but continually fail to deliver," she said.
"Their soft laws have seen an escalation of violence, with firebombings and a turf war erupting between rival gangs.
"The bikies are well and truly back and Labor's soft laws have rolled out the red carpet."
Dr Goldsworthy and QUT criminologist Mark Lauchs both have criticised the consorting laws as ineffective.