Under Fire Down Under
Slippery Slope To Repressing Riders
One prominent case in Australia saw the government crackdown on motorcyclists. The government's reach in such a situation was so broad that it utilized to crack down on any group that opposed government policy. This includes environmental groups, protesters, and unions.
In this case, the motorcycle group, known as the Tramps, severely censured by the government. Their attorney, John Suta, described Australia's legal system as able to handle other types of crime. He questions why and how additional laws are needed, primarily if they are used to target specific groups, which is often abused.
According to the legislation, the police would have the power to apply a Supreme Court order to ban biker groups. These groups declared illegal by a court, empowering the police to break up their organizations. The Wangaratta-based Tramps club contains approximately 25 members. Additionally, it has no connection to any criminal activities.
What many Americans consider an outing club can by the government specifically targeted. The state government also stated that it would not stop with biker organizations, but others as well. This targeting is a straightforward and clear-cut case of guilt by association. The Australian magazine the Age reported that police went as far as claiming that the group was a puppet of the Hell's Angels. This is an enormous overreach. It is up to all of us to stop this.
An Opportunity For Liberty In Motorcycle Clubs?
All of these circumstances could arrive at a town or state near you. Considering California's penchant for criminalizing dissent, this could be sooner than you realize. Motorcyclists are, on the whole, one of the most law-abiding groups in the United States. Stand up for all biker rights and ensure that they aren't tarred with a broad brush. Read more of our articles discussing other motorcycle issues.
Michael Ehline is a Los Angeles motorcycle lawyer with law offices assisting clients in Torrance, Marina del Rey, Redondo Beach, and Santa Monica.
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