23 February 2015

The Queensland Government’s move to establish a commission of inquiry into organised crime has been welcomed by University of Queensland law academic Andreas Schloenhardt.

Attorney-General Ms Yvette d’Ath announced the inquiry last week, foreshadowing a review of Queensland’s controversial ‘anti-biker gang’ laws and a broader look at organised crime in Queensland.

Professor Schloenhardt said he urged the new government to consult broadly with the community and legal profession, and conduct further research into the levels and characteristics of organised crime in Queensland.

“The existing laws were introduced without a proper evidence base or any in-depth research,” he said.

“One of the main difficulties in combating organised crime is the fact that there is next to no reliable information or academic studies about the causes, dimensions, and spread of organised crime in Queensland, especially of gangs and individuals not associated with outlaw motorcycle gangs.

“While it would be preferable to repeal the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment (VLAD) Act and other anti-biker gang laws altogether, it is welcome to see the Government reviewing the laws.

“These laws have been widely criticised for their vagueness and breadth, for infringing basic human rights and for violating basic principles of criminal justice. 

“While some violence relating to outlaw motorcycle gangs has ceased, much of the problem has been pushed further underground and new gangs and individuals have replaced those that were previously in the spotlight.”


Media: Professor Andreas Schloenhardta.schloenhardt@law.uq.edu.au;  Publications Officer Nadine Davidson-Wall, (07) 3346 9263, n.davidson-wall@law.uq.edu.au.