Awesome! Australia has a new political party!
While the UK has R.E.S.P.E.C.T. — Respect, Equality, Socialism, Peace, Environmentalism, Community, and Trade Unionism — Australia has F.R.E.E — Freedom, Rights, Environment, Educate.
Educate… not ‘Education’… mmmkay?
Serious and Organised Crime (Control)
The F.R.E.E. Australia Party (not to be confused with the Nuclear Free Australia Party [1985–]) was formed in late 2008/early 2009, and was formally registered with the Electoral Commission of South Australia, its state of origin, on March 19, 2009. The party also appears to be branching out into New South Wales (Free Australia Party holds membership drive in Sydney, ABC, April 18, 2009) and Queensland. The party’s chairperson is Peter Sendy, and its slogan is ‘When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty’ (a slogan allegedly coined by South American revolutionary Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara).
The party was formed in response to the South Australian Government’s passage (September 4, 2008) of the Serious and Organised Crime (Control) Act 2008 [PDF], a piece of legislation which allows it to designate particular groups as constituting criminal organisations. (Similar legislation has also been introduced in NSW.) Or:
An Act to provide for the making of declarations and orders for the purpose of disrupting and restricting the activities of criminal organisations, their members and associates; to make related amendments to the Bail Act 1985, the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935, the Freedom of Information Act 1991 and the Summary Offences Act 1953; and for other purposes.
(1) The objects of this Act are—
(a) to disrupt and restrict the activities of—
(i) organisations involved in serious crime; and
(ii) the members and associates of such organisations; and
(b) to protect members of the public from violence associated with such criminal organisations.
(2) Without derogating from subsection (1), it is not the intention of the Parliament that the powers in this Act be used in a manner that would diminish the freedom of persons in this State to participate in advocacy, protest, dissent or industrial action.
In fact, on March 23, 2009, the SA Premier Mike Rann even went so far as to claim that “On evidence presented by the Police Commissioner, our laws allow us to proscribe criminal bikie gangs the same way we do terrorist groups”.
Of course, ‘intention’ is one thing, and practice another. For this reason, in addition to attracting opposition from bikies, the Act has also drawn criticism from other quarters, even (Victorian) police: “Doubts have been expressed by the federal Attorney-General’s Department, the Australian Crime Commission, the Law Council of Australia and academics and civil libertarians” (Roar of disapproval thunders against anti-bikie laws, Greg Ansley, The New Zealand Herald, May 30, 2009).
In addition to opposing the criminalisation of “1%ers”, the party is also supporting the establishment of an Independent Commission Against Corruption, much to the delight of Democrats in SA (Call to give FREE Australia party ‘a fair go’, ABC, March 31, 2009); the Communist Party of Australia has also taken note (NEW BIKERS LAWS: Latest front in civil liberties war, The Guardian, April 8, 2009). The party is also opposed to the ABCC (see : ABCC, John Holland, West Gate Bridge, May 13, 2009). In general, an examination of the party’s ‘Policy Directives’ reveals a fairly ‘progressive’ politics, including support for long-term solutions to the water crisis, a ‘Bill of Rights’, freedom of association, reproductive rights, prisoners’ rights and various reforms aimed at securing housing for the poor and the homeless.
- On a spotterly note, the party has drawn attention to the contradiction between the ALP’s support for the Act and its membership of the Second International, and in particular the International’s ‘Ethical Charter’ (to which the ALP, by way of its membership, is a signatory).
In May 2008, Mike Rann paid a visit to FBI headquarters in Washington DC, “acknowledging the influence the US federal law enforcement agency had on his intent to tackle bikie gangs in South Australia” (Rann uses FBI visit to talk tough on bikies, Michael Owen, The Daily Telegraph, May 20, 2008; According to Tony Wright and David Lague — Waging war on the outlaws, The Age, March 28, 2009 — these sentiments were echoed by PM KRudd: “In far-away Washington, no less a 99 percenter than Prime Minister Kevin Rudd vowed that a zero-tolerance policy would be harnessed to bring the bikie gangs to heel”). Mike’s visit was preceded by a declaration by Assistant Commissioner (Crime) Tony Harrison in October 2007 that bikies would be ‘wiped out’ (Colin James, The Advertiser, October 30, 2007).
An essential part of the FBI’s War on
Terror Crime is the ‘Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations’ (RICO) statute. RICO was passed by the US Government in 1970, ostensibly in order to combat The Mafia. In the almost 40 years since, however, its use has been extended in a wide variety of contexts, implicating individuals, groups, businesses and a range of other social institutions. Most recently, RICO has even been employed against environmental activists.
The bikie gangs/terrorist organisations identified by police as being of particular concern are the Bandidos, Black Uhlans, Coffin Cheaters, Comanchero, Finks, Fourth Reich, Gladiators, Gypsy Jokers, Hells Angels, Highway 61, Life & Death, Lone Wolf, Mobshitters, Nomads, Notorious, Odin’s Warriors, Outcasts, Outlaws, Phoenix, Rebels and Satan’s Soldiers. Currently, the SA Government is attempting to outlaw the Finks OMC — an attempt which is the subject of ongoing court action (Finks free of control orders for now, ABC, June 12, 2009).
See also : Bikers, violence and justice, John Smith, Eureka Street, May 14, 2009 | United Motorcycle Council of New South Wales (Hell’s Angels / Finks / Rebels / Nomads / Bandidos / Comanchero / Lone Wolf / Black Uhlans / Life & Death / Vietnam Vets / Outcasts / Phoenix / Brotherhood CMC / Bikers for Christ CMC / God Squad CMC / Ambassadors / Diggers) | Misunderstood bikies, Jeff Gosford, The Newcastle Herald, June 16, 2009 | Search Results for ‘bikie’ @ slackbastard.
Bonus for Dr. Cam!
Serial pest disrupts NSW Parliament
June 18, 2009
Serial pest Peter Hore is at it again, this time jumping into NSW Parliament’s bear pit, disrupting the start of question time.
Hore jumped from the public gallery into the back of the chamber of the Legislative Assembly yelling he was a member of the “Free Australia Party.”
A number of MPs sitting on the back benches were clearly startled by Hore’s interjection, but he was quickly removed from parliament by security.
Hore has previously interrupted the funeral of rock singer Michael Hutchence and ripped the goal net during Australia’s crucial World Cup soccer qualifier against Iran in Melbourne in 1997.
He has also invaded the South Australian parliament and once charged supermodel Sarah O’Hare on stage during a lingerie launch at Brisbane.