AUSTRALIA’S next Human Rights Commissioner has Queensland’s anti-bikie laws in his crosshairs, slamming them as an attack on “the traditional human right of free association”.
The laws have caused a storm of discussion after a group of men, now nicknamed the “Yandina Five” were arrested and put into solitary confinement after having a beer at a Sunshine Coast pub.
Tim Wilson was appointed as the next commissioner by Federal Attorney-General George Brandis but will not take on the role until next month.
Mr Wilson uploaded a statement to his website, saying he had been repeatedly asked for his view on the topic.
“Let me make this clear – if bikies are engaged in criminal conduct they should be pursued by police, but they should not be charged for simply associating,” he said.
“These laws have been defended by the Queensland governments because some bikies are criminals.
“The laws operate on the assumption that bikies are criminal.
“No doubt some bikies are criminals, but that does not justify making free association illegal.”
Mr Wilson said the laws showed the worst consequences of treating people as a group and not as individuals.
“The traditional human right of free association is directly under attack from these laws which simply seek to criminalise Australians associating with other Australians.”
Acting Attorney-General David Chrisafulli said the laws protected the community from bikie intimidation.
“The kind of association we want to see protected is the right for business owners to operate without fear of extortion, or for a group of people to go to a cafe without being caught up in the middle of a war between rival gangs,” he said.