1000 motorbikes burbled into Brisbane CBD today to give Premier Newman pause over the recent ‘bikie’ legislation. Another 4000 or so people joined the riders in front of state parliament to let it be known that Queenslanders do not support the VLAD act and other incursions into rights of association.
Police set aside areas on Alice Street for motorbike parking, but these areas quickly overflowed and police were run ragged ensuring bikers were able to park safely.
The rally was positioned as non-partisan, though this didn’t stop organiser Gabriel Buckley of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) from using the opportunity to remind people of his nomination for the seat of Redcliffe. The former seat of disgraced LNP politician Scott Driscoll, Redcliffe will be contested in a by-election in February.
Gabriel Buckley runs on a Libertarian platform.
Along with the announcement about Buckley’s candidacy, and presence of the flag of the LDP, the rally also drew speaker David Leyonhjelm, NSW Senator-elect. Leyonhjelm spoke about how the VLAD laws and associated legislation creates a “moral panic” in the public mind about motorbike riders. Leyonhjelm finished his talk by saying:
“And they wonder why nobody comes to the aid of police when they are in trouble.
“I’m never going to help someone who thinks it’s ok to pull me up, search me and threaten me with jail if I don’t answer their questions merely because am riding my motorcycle in company with a couple of other people. If that’s what they think, they can lie on the side of the road and bleed to death.”
While the crowd had generally been positive about the talk, at this point cheering was more subdued as people tried to decide if it was appropriate to applause such a statement.
Other speakers were passionate and rousing but stopped short of wishing death on police.
Speakers included amongst others Queensland Council for Civil Liberties spokesman Michael Cope, and Electrical Trades Union spokesman Peter Simpson, who both spoke about how the legislation was not solely directed at outlaw bike clubs and how the laws will impact on civil rights. The wife of prisoner Kevin, an ex-bikie and model prisoner now on 23 hour lockdown, spoke about her husband’s situation. Anonymous also fielded a speaker, and were present in force in the crowd.
Being the biggest rally seen at parliament house in recent times, bigger even than the very successful Rally for Rights held on the 19th of November, it is fair to say that Queensland politicians may be starting to wonder if they have woken a sleeping dragon.