The party is over for bikies in Queensland as new laws enable an unprecedented crackdown on criminal gangs, the state premier says.
Campbell Newman says under the legal changes the state’s crime watchdog will be given powers to call in and question bikie gang members.
The new laws will be introduced to parliament next week. They will allow the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) to force bikies to face hearings in its star chamber, where suspects could face mandatory jail terms if they refuse to answer questions.
The state is also allocating an extra $7 million to fight crime.
Mr Newman fired a broadside at criminal bikies and warned them that his crackdown had only just begun.
“I just say to them (bikies) its time to get a real job. Its time to know that it’s now over. The party’s over, the game’s over, we are going to actually go after you in a way that nobody ever has before and we’ve only just started,” he told the Courier-Mail on Friday.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said the CMC has been hamstrung, but the changes would make it easier for them to haul criminals into the star chamber.
“The CMC, on a reasonable suspicion, will be able to call people for crime purposes, for investigative purposes, and gathering criminal intelligence purposes,” he said.
There’s been a statewide crackdown on bikies, particularly the prominent Bandidos and Finks gangs, since a brawl outside a Gold Coast restaurant and a riot outside a police station two weeks ago.
Queensland’s government has put more police on the beat, proposed tougher laws and provided a blank cheque for law enforcement.
Mr Newman has also been pushing for other states to launch crackdowns, so bikies have nowhere to hide.
His call comes as Victorian police launched its largest operation on a single bikie gang in that state’s history on Thursday.
More than 700 police, including federal and customs’ officers, raided Hells Angels clubhouses across Melbourne seizing guns, ammunition, drugs, $50,000 cash and arresting 13 people.
A national meeting between attorneys-general was being held on Friday to talk about toughening national bikie laws.
WA Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan also said state and federal police commissioners would meet on Monday to talk about cracking down on bikies across the country.
Mr Newman said he knew his crackdown would be challenged and some laws overturned, but promised that wouldn’t break his resolve.
“We are going to continue to try again. There are many mechanisms that we are going to use,” the premier said.
“I don’t particularly mind how these people go to jail, but I want to see them behind bars and so do all Queensland citizens.”