Deputy Opposition Leader, Tim Mulherin, says after months of Newman Government stalling and politicking the Opposition had decided to host a crime summit on the Gold Coast.
“The summit is a chance for local residents, business owners, and experts to put forward their ideas on how to tackle crime, including outlaw motorcycle gangs,” Mr Mulherin said.
“We want to give people the chance to have their say which the Newman Government is denying them. We are interested in getting the facts about Gold Coast crime on the table."
“For instance, the government is claiming it has posted 137 extra police to the Gold Coast when in fact that figure is shared between the Gold Coast and Logan."
“In reality the LNP’s Contract with the Gold Coast promised an extra 100 officers to the Gold Coast alone, but they have delivered only an estimated 60.”
Mr Mulherin said the failure to keep its promise of extra police could explain why officers had to be driven from Brisbane to fight bikies last Friday night at a brawl in the middle of a family and tourist precinct during school holidays when children were out with their parents.
“Was that because of overtime cuts hitting the Special Emergency Response Team as has been reported? These are the sort of questions we need to explore at the summit,” he said.
“The summit could also consider ideas to strengthen anti-gang laws such as implementing a ban on the wearing of motorcycle gang colours on licensed premises."
“The O’Farrell Government in New South Wales has introduced this provision that strengthens the hand of hotel and club owners by giving legal backing to their right to refuse entry based on their dress code."
“This is the same idea that Premier Campbell Newman dismissed when it was floated by NSW in April 2012. The Premier said at the time “… the team that I lead believe that you shouldn't be sort of penalised for wearing your footy team uniform or jersey…”.
“The summit might also consider the need for the Abbott Government to boost the presence of the Australian Federal Police on the Gold Coast.”
Mr Mulherin said the summit would be held within the next month.
“We are doing this because the Newman Government rejected our offer of a bi-partisan approach to addressing crime and the perceptions of crime on the Gold Coast,” he said.
“I wrote to the Premier in June suggesting a crime summit and his letter had been referred to Mr Dempsey and Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie who have only recently replied."
“The Premier asked both Ministers to consider a summit and both came back with a resounding ‘no’. It is clear the Newman Government is not listening to Gold Coast residents.”
Mr Mulherin said the Newman Government needed to focus on breaking the business model of bikie gangs.
“That means working cooperatively with local councils, business groups, the Australian Federal Police, and other agencies such as the Australian tax office,” he said.
Mr Mulherin said the LNP had taken a haphazard approach to fighting bikie gangs.
“In the lead-up to the 2012 state election then then Shadow Attorney-General, Jarrod Bleijie, was loudly proclaiming his plans to tear up the former government’s Criminal Organisation Act which he has since claimed as his own once it withstood a challenge in the High Court by the Finks motorcycle gang,” he said.
“In October 2011 Mr Bleijie was publicly attacking the laws as a ‘wasted opportunity’ to go after organised crime gangs and even after the LNP won office he was still saying he wanted to repeal the 2009 laws.
“That must have been music to the ears of outlaw motorcycle gangs,” Mr Mulherin said.
He said Mr Bleijie had also mercilessly attacked the former federal Labor Party government’s suggestion for uniform national laws on unexplained wealth.
“Mr Bleijie said he would ‘not back down’ on his stand, but now Tony Abbott is suggesting the same uniform approach, so where does the Attorney-General now stand?”