QUEENSLAND is attracting international attention as being “reminiscent of Soviet Russia and Hitler’s Germany” over tough anti-bikie laws introduced by the Newman government.
An article in England’s The Independent takes aim at the new laws with comments from a civil libertarian and QC Gary Crooke, who was senior counsel assisting the Fitzgerald inquiry.
“This is reminiscent of Soviet Russia or Hitler’s Germany,”Mr Crooke is quoted as saying.
Journalist Kathy Marks writes, “For much of its modern history, Queensland was known as the ‘Deep North’, ruled with an iron fist by a colourful, far-right politician, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, who enforced a repressive law-and-order regime, used the police to crush dissent and repeatedly gerrymandered his way back into power.
“The former peanut farmer was forced to resign in 1987, following 19 years as premier, after a judicial inquiry exposed rampant corruption within his government and the police force. The inquiry, chaired by a senior judge, Tony Fitzgerald, seemed to mark a watershed for the state, leading to major reforms to the police and other institutions.
“Recently, though, following the election of a conservative Liberal National Party (LNP) government led by a former Australian army major, Campbell Newman, Queensland has been experiencing a sense of déjà vu.
“Mr Newman has pursued an unashamedly populist agenda, cracking down on criminal motorcycle gangs, lambasting courts for being “soft” on paedophiles, and sacking a parliamentary committee which questioned the independence of the state’s corruption watchdog, the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC).
Queensland Council for Civil Liberties president Michael Cope is also quoted in the article, criticising the state that gave Australia Pauline Hanson as an MP.
“It [Queensland] seems to be some sort of a breeding-ground for rednecks,” he says. “You can’t imagine another state doing this.”