Anti-friendship laws introduce injustice
A suite of laws have been enacted in NSW (and other parts of Australia) that make it a crime to talk with people under some circumstances. These laws are wrong and should be repealed.
These laws change the nature of crime. They change crime from ‘what you do’ to ‘who you talk with’. This is fundamentally wrong.
The ‘consorting law’ (NSW Crimes Act 1900 – Sect 93X) makes it a crime to consort (any form of communication, including electronic) with convicted criminals after you have been warned not to. Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 3 years, or a fine of 150 penalty units, or both.
- normal interactions become a crime after a warning
- there are different laws for different people – I can consort if I haven’t been warned, but if you have been warned you can go to jail for an identical action.
- there is no time limit on the conviction – the crime may have been committed 50 years ago but I can still be warned not to talk to someone
- there is no time limit on the warning – the warning stays in place for all time or until formally withdrawn
- the person doing the consorting (who may have no criminal history) goes to jail, not the convicted criminal
The justification parliament gave was to break up criminal organisations, in particular, motorcycle clubs. (By the way – motorcycle clubs are not criminal organisations despite the media hype.) However, the increased power this law gives to police is being used against people who have no involvement with organised crime. See the NSW Ombudsman’s report.
These laws provide the framework for the police to harass and close down any group or organisation the government does not like. Trade unions, sporting clubs, community groups, churches could all come under fire; perhaps not under the current government, but think about who could be in power one day. The laws are in place to create a police state.
It’s all about Control, not Justice
Various laws are now in place that allow police to control where a person can or cannot go. The justification given is that these controls prevent crime. But the effect is that people can be put in jail without committing any crime, excepting not complying with a control order. When that happens, police are administering control, not justice.
Public Safety Orders – a senior police officer (not a court) can order a person or class of person not to be in a particular area – penalty up to 5 years jail. See Schedule 5 Amendment of Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002
Control Orders – members of declared organisations can be prevented from having contact with each other on the basis of a suspicion, not proof, of crime. See Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act 2012
Serious Crime Prevention Orders can be made against a person even when a court acquits them of any wrong doing. See Crimes (Serious Crime Prevention Orders) Act 2016.
Greg has made a number of speeches and presentations on this issue on behalf of Brotherhood Christian Motorcycle Club.