Anti-gang laws in Australia

Law Crime Australia
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Introduction: In recent years, most States and Territories have enacted legislation that gives authorities greater powers to tackle gang related crime. Often the stated aims of governments when introducing such laws has been to target the activities of motorcycle clubs (sometimes referred to as “outlaw motorcycle gangs”). However, the legislation itself almost never refers specifically to such organisations and usually applies generally to any person or group that can be shown to meet the definitions of terms employed in the respective Acts, such as “criminal organisation”, for example.

This Issues Backgrounder provides links to relevant legislation, cases, commentary and media reports. Its focus is on legislation containing measures such as control orders, and other anti-gang sanctions such as consorting offences, rules regarding the wearing of club colours and the licensing regimes for body art tattooing that have been enacted in both NSW and, more recently, in Queensland.

This paper does not refer to asset confiscation and unexplained wealth laws, another tool employed by governments against organised crime. It does, however, provide some brief information regarding the intergovernmental cooperation that has taken place on the subject of organised crime.

The legislation referred to in this Issues Backgrounder covers matters of enormous scope and complexity and raises a number of controversial questions. It is not the purpose of the paper to provide commentary on these matters. Rather, as an introduction to anti-gang laws in Australia, it provides a summary of the relevant legislation, and also a list of sources.

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