Noosa bikers and Coast MP Peter Wellington were among the thousands who attended a ‘freedom’ rally in Brisbane on Sunday.
More than 2,000 protesters packed Emma Miller Place, Brisbane, to voice their opposition to what have been dubbed the “Bikie Laws”.
The Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act 2013 (VLAD), was introduced in October last year in an effort to curb bikie-related crime following a public brawl between rival gangs on the Gold Coast.
However, the arrests of five men just before Christmas, for allegedly drinking at a Sunshine Coast venue, sparked state-wide outcry.
In support of the men jailed and to condemn the laws, the rally was held in Brisbane where the atmosphere was electric as the crowd stood to cheer on the motorcycle riders, who the rode into the rally with their fists raised high.
Police were out in force, not to arrest attendees, but to help guide the bikers to safe parking.
Nicklin MP Peter Wellington addressed the packed amphitheatre in a passionate speech condemning the VLAD laws, Attorney General Jarrod Bleijie and Queensland Premier Campbell Newman.
“On Australia Day we usually celebrate our freedoms and our liberties, usually the envy of countries around the world,” he said.
“But here today, at our Freedom rally, we are celebrating the start of our fight to win back those freedoms and liberties that (Premier) Campbell Newman has taken away.”
Former Noosa Shire Council mayoral candidate Dr Patricia Petersen also addressed the rally, wearing a leather jacket from her “University motorcycle riding days”.
Dr Petersen, who has not been seen in the media since her defeat at the Noosa Council elections, said she felt it necessary to attend the rally.
“For today, something as important as this, I felt it necessary to come out and throw my support behind it,” she said.
“I’m not an adversary of the LNP State Government, far from it, and I consider many of the MPs that are in place to be my friends.
“But friends sometimes disagree over ideological issues and matters. In relation to this issue, I’m very opposed to the new laws. I think they’re too far reaching. They impact not only on those people they’re supposedly targeting, they can impact all of us.”
Other speakers on the day included the sister of the last “Yandina Five” member, Steven Smith, 28, who remains in jail; Independent candidate for Griffith Travis Windsor, and Zeke Bentley, who is leading the United Motorcycle Council’s High Court challenge of the new laws.
Donations were collected throughout the rally and will be used to fund the High Court challenge.