Editorial - October 18: Wheeling out a bikie crackdown
THE right to freedom of choice is one of Australia's greatest privileges and while many respect the right of motorcyclists to join a club and ride together, at what point does the activity become illegal?
The High Court's validation of the NSW Government's consorting laws, handed down by seven judges last week, found with the legislation there was "no implied freedom of association" and that it would "serve the legitimate end of prevention of crime".
What it means for so-called "Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs" planning to ride on Coffs Harbour is that individuals consorting with offenders convicted of serious crime can be warned and arrested on "consorting" charges.
It will be interesting to see to what extent police exercise the consorting laws if indeed a large procession of bikies rolls into town next weekend.
In briefing accommodation providers and venues on what to expect of these national runs, police must be commended for their proactive strategy to safeguard the public.
Regardless of your views on motorcycle clubs and their degree of criminality, there has to be widespread support for police or anyone for that matter serving to protect the freedoms of the community.