Pretty in pink
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Pretty in pink
Pretty in pink – dealing with bikies in Queensland
In late September in the most public outbreak of bikie violence on Queensland’s Gold
Coast, a violent brawl broke out in a Broadbeach restaurant. It was all caught on
CCTV and broadcast later to an understandably apprehensive public.
It was the last straw for the Newman Government and they sprang into action.
Previously bikie violence was very largely inter-gang warfare and, to be frank,
nobody much cared if they assaulted and shot each other so long as they didn’t put
members of the public at risk.
A flurry of announcements from the Government followed. A special police taskforce
was set up to target the gangs and all sorts of hairy chested pronouncements made.
Leading the charge was Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie who has become something
of a poster boy for law and order.
He introduced the beautifully named Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment
(VLAD) Bill and it was rushed through Parliament, Yes, young Jarrod is now a latter-
day Vlad the Impaler – and like the first Vlad, Jarrod is determined to restore law and
Under his legislation, twenty-six bikie gangs have been declared criminal
organisations and their members are barred from their clubhouses, from gathering in
groups of three or more, face the prospect of extra jail time on conviction of serious
offences, are automatically refused bail and not allowed to work in tattoo parlours.
They should be grateful that they will not actually be impaled. We have come some
little way since the 15th
The Police Commissioner Ian Stewart chimed in telling coppers that they should quit
if they didn’t want to be part of the bikie crackdown. “If people aren’t prepared to do
that, to step up when the going gets tough, then they really do need to consider
another career,” he said.
For that bit of advice, he got a backhander from the Police Union who said officers
didn’t need that sort of lecture one bit. To be fair, Queensland Police have a long
history of doing their political masters bidding and sinking the boot – both
metaphorically and actually - when absolutely necessary to protect civilisation.
The Government’s moves attracted the predictable opposition – from the Labor
Opposition which tried to be critical out of habit but didn’t want to go too far and
appear as sissy whimps, from the Australian Motorcycle Council which has launched
a “fighting fund” to stage court challenges and from lawyers.
The Queensland Law Society tut-tutted that the VLAD legislation “applies to a much
broader section of the community, beyond bikie gangs.”
“The principles of the VLAD Bill are so broadly drawn they can apply to any
association or business, or anyone out in public with three people or more,” said
President Annette Bradfield.
It was the sort of legal purity statement that does the legal profession no public good
at all – as if the coppers are going to raid and arrest the Baptist Ladies Knitting Guild
for having in their possession needles which they openly share.
As the Government’s campaign really hit its stride Attorney-General Bleijie bravely
confirmed that he his family had been threatened by bikies saying with a stiff upper
lip, “There have been threats made. That’s as far as I am going.”
Then in came the Police and Community Safety Minister Jack Dempsey – himself a
He announced that he had asked the Corrective Services Department to investigate
changing the colour of prison uniforms, possibly to fluoro pink.
“We will start with members and associates of criminal gangs and will look at rolling
it out to other inmates over time,” he said.
He got full marks from Premier Newman himself who observed about bikies, “They
are bullies – they like to wear scary-looking gear, leather jackets, they have the
tattoos, they have the colours. We know that telling them to wear pink is going to be
embarrassing for them.”
We can all imagine, of course, some flabby middle-aged prison inmate who is doing
time for fraud sneering at a bikie who is pretty in pink and saying something like,
“What a sissy you are, you big girl’s blouse.”
From what I’ve seen of bikies, you could dress them in bras and suspender belts – the
full drag in fact - and they would still look and be bloody frightening. And since the
Government is planning to reopen Woodford Jail just for bikies, presumably they
would be all in pink – so hardly much embarrassment.
Minister Dempsey has asked Corrective Services “to investigate the Arizona model to
see if it would have any benefit in Queensland.”
The “Arizona model” is the brainchild of Sheriff Joe Arpaio who, reputedly, is
America’s toughest sheriff. We know that because his own book is entitled “Sheriff
Joe Arpaio, America’s Toughest Sheriff.” He has been elected five times since 1992
and, whatever else he is, he doesn’t suffer from any painful shyness.
It was he who introduced pink underwear for inmates of Maricopa County Jail and he
followed that up with introducing pink handcuffs. His other innovative penal reforms
include having prisoners live in canvas tents and work in 40 degree summer heat in
chain gangs. And he is an equal opportunity law enforcer – women are treated the
same way and he doesn’t faze him one bit that most of these inmates are actually still
enjoying the presumption of innocence and are awaiting trial.
This intrepid officer’s service to law and order in the USA includes his investigation
into President Obama’s birth certificate – and he is certain that it is a forgery. Gosh, I
wish I could see the Briefing Paper Minister Dempsey gets from his Department.
And another really bright idea from the Sheriff for a cash-strapped Government – he
now sells customised pink boxers emblazoned with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s
logo and “Go Joe”.
Back in 1941, when German General Erwin Rommel had a largely Australian
garrison surrounded in Tobruk, the British traitor dubbed Lord Haw Haw broadcast
from Berlin that they were the “poor desert rats of Tobruk”
The Aussies proudly claimed that for themselves and to this day the last survivors are
still proud to call themselves the Rats of Tobruk.
I suspect that any self-respecting bikies who didn’t get to wear pink if that ever
happens would be the ones who were embarrassed – imagine the shame of knowing
that the Government and prison authorities don’t think they are bad enough!