Group builds opposition to 'anti-bikies' laws

A protester at the 'freedom ride' rally in Brisbane on December 1. Photo: Bill Struthers.

This statement was released by the Queensland Civil Liberties Network on November 30.

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A packed meeting of more than 70 concerned citizens and representatives from community organisations founded a new campaigning organisation at Brisbane's Electrical Trades Union hall on November 27, responding to what organisers called "an unprecedented crackdown on civil liberties in Queensland".

The Queensland Civil Liberties Network was born amid cheers from meeting participants who set about planning a series of protest actions over coming months, including a rally and march on February 11, parliament's first sitting day next year.

Brisbane alternative media publisher Max Riethmuller said the Campbell Newman government had created a climate in which people now feared gathering in public.

He said: "I have already seen people choose not to attend a protest out of fear of the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment (VLAD) act.

"The slow usurping of rights in this state has potential to strip us of very important basic rights.”

Riethmuller said that by positioning this legislation as being about “bikies” or “parties” the government was engaging in "subterfuge". 

The meeting also endorsed the actions of the Queensland Council of Unions, Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy and other organisations in relation to the UN Human Rights Day on December 10, and the upcoming Anti-VLAD Freedom Ride on December 1.

"The Queensland government is contravening various articles of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, particularly in regard to the right to free speech and the right to freedom of association," said Riethmuller 

Meeting organiser Ewan Saunders attacked the recent "out-of-control parties" legislation as "absurd".

"Next will it be people only inviting 11 people to their backyard BBQ's to avoid the chance of being thrown in jail for a year?" Mr Saunders asked.

"When ordinary law abiding people have to closely watch their movements to avoid getting in trouble with the law, we are basically living in a police state," he said.

"My hope is that this network can help build effective and broad-based opposition to these laws." 

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