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Sunday, December 15, 2013

From Nanny State to Police State

For years, the Liberal Party and its supporters have accused the Labor Party of running a nanny state. Every time that legislation was introduced with the aim of protecting people from themselves or others, the 'nanny state, nanny state' squeals from the right-wing were deafening. Whether it was workplace health and safety laws, anti-discrimination laws, anti-vilification laws, even anti-fat laws which now require restaurants to state the calorie content of its food, the right wing accused Labor of wrapping society in cotton-wool.

The extreme right-wing Liberal National Party that now rules Queensland under Premier Campbell Newman, claimed that it was going to reduce red and green tape because Queensland was over-governed, over-regulated, over-legislated.

To de-nannify Queensland, Newman and his side-kick, Attorney-General Jarrid Bleije, introduced new laws:
  • Name and shame juvenile offenders who commit a second offence (1)
  • Sex offender law amendments which removed power of the courts to decide whether a sex offender should be freed, and gave it to the Attorney-General (2), in breach of the Westminster Convention. The Court of Appeal has rejected these amendments as invalid. Bleije is considering challenging the Court of Appeal (3).
  • 'Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment' Act, which outlaws dozens of motorcycle gangs, makes it a crime for three or more people to be gathered together and allows for an additional 15 to 25 years jail on top of the head sentence, for a member of an outlaw gang who is convicted of a violent crime (4). Persons convicted under the VLAD Act may be sentenced to a dedicated prison, spend 23 hours per day in a cell and wear a pink jumpsuit (5). The legislation is very broad and doesn't just apply to bikers (6).
  • There also anti-Union and anti-democracy laws, aimed at weakening the rights of workers, including banning Unions from using membership funds to undertake advertising campaigns without a referendum (7)(8), and banning employers from deducting union membership fees from their wages (9).
Anyone who doubts the danger of Newman's fascist laws or who believe that it only targets the worst of the worst biker gangs, should take a look at what happened in Queensland on 14 December 2013. Every year bikers hold a toy run, in which they deliver toys to needy children. Newman and Bleije unleashed the Queensland Police on the charity toy run which was being conducted by Christian biker group, the Tribe of Judah. Unconfirmed reports on Facebook and Twitter claim that more than 700 bikers were stopped under the VLAD Act. Channel 10 reported that there were 300 charity bikers stopped (10).

Either way, this is an incredible abuse of police power. If the bikers were distributing drugs, weapons or other contraband that would be understandable, but they were distributing toys to the most needy children in Queensland society. Children who likely will have a very bleak Christmas. Children who may well be desperate and destitute. Merry Christmas kids. Your government is just waiting for an excuse to send you to jail, so don't load up on toys or other things that you might enjoy.

Instead of the Newman government attempting to fix social problems, they target the most needy. Even the 'name and shame' laws are not aimed at rehabilitating, but at victimising the victims of poverty.

Labor may have run a Nanny State according to right-wingers, but the LNP is blatantly and boldly operating a fascist Police State; one in which the liberties of all citizens are under threat.

What's next? Ban freedom of speech? Ban the media, or bloggers, or Facebook, Twitter and other social media users from making comment?

Newman and his cohorts are operating a fascist government which is getting more and more extreme.

At risk of invoking Godwin's Law, it isn't too much of a stretch to remember the words of the German Baptist preacher, Martin Niemöller who stated,  'When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent, I was not a communist. When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent, I was not a social democrat. When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak up, because I was not a trade unionist. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out'.

All Queenslanders should be concerned and speaking up against these draconian and totalitarian laws. 


1. Marissa Calligeros, Brisbane Times, 'Queensland to name and shame young offenders', 26 September 2013, Last accessed 15 December 2013.

2. Amy Remeikis, Brisbane Times, 'Bleije bypasses courts on state's worst sex offenders', 16 October 2013, Last accessed 15 December 2013.

3. Brisbane Time, 'Jarrid Bleije announces review of dangerous prisoner laws', 8 December 2013, Last accessed 15 December 2013.

4. Queensland Government, Queensland Cabinet and Ministerial Directory, Media Statements, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice The Honourable Jarrid Bleije, Tuesday, October 15, 2013, 'Tough penalties for criminal gang members', Last accessed 15 December 2013.

5. The Guardian, 'Pink for punks: Queensland plan to embarrass bikies in jail', 21 October 2013, Last accessed 15 December 2013.

6. Anna Capellano, Independent Australia, 'Are you a vicious lawless associate?', 8 November 2103,,5876. Last accessed 15 December 2013.

7. Stand for Qld, 'Fact sheet on Newman LNP Government extreme anti-Democracy Bill', Last accessed 15 December 2013.

8. Amy Remeikis, Brisbane Times, 'Newman government rachets up 'war' on unions', 8 August 2013, Last accessed 15 December 2013.

9. Alex Scott, Together Union, 'New industrial legislation by the Newman government', 11 June 2013, Last accessed 15 December 2013.

10. Sarah Greenhalgh, Channel 10, 'Bikies spread Christmas cheer', 14 December 2013, Last accessed 15 December 2013.

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