• Labor to repeal and water down successful VLAD laws
  • Clubhouses in Cairns, Townsville, Mackay and Mt Isa set to re-open
  • North Queenslanders expect government to keep them safe, not roll out red carpet to thugs

The Palaszczuk Labor Government rigged a review of the LNP’s successful VLAD laws, to ensure the taskforce recommended they be repealed, Hinchinbrook MP Andrew Cripps said today.

Mr Cripps said Labor’s botched inquiry held no public hearings and took no evidence from the public, resulting in the review having no input from North Queensland people and communities that benefited from the crack down on criminal gangs.

“The LNP’s tough-on-crime approach saw more than $38 million of drugs taken off Queensland streets in the last 12 months alone, but Labor is frozen at the wheel when it comes to ensuring the safety of Queenslanders,” he said.

“Labor’s taskforce recommended that the anti-association provisions in the VLAD laws be scrapped, despite the fact they were upheld as valid by the High Court in 2014.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government’s interference in the terms of reference means this has not been a fair dinkum ‘review’ and they are not taking the safety of Queenslanders seriously.”

Mr Cripps said the report included recommendations to:

  • reduce the power of police to stop, search and detain suspected criminal gang members,
  • make it easier for suspected criminal gang members to secure bail, and
  • water down tough penalties the LNP put in place for crimes (such as drug trafficking) associated with criminal gangs.

He said that the Independent Nicklin MP Peter Wellington had a lot to explaining to do when it came to his support for criminal gang members recently convicted of drug trafficking.

“Mr Wellington railed against the former LNP Government when it introduced the VLAD laws to fight criminal gangs and organised crime in Queensland and while these laws have been successful, it’s now been proven in court that Wellington sided with the bad guys.

Mr Cripps said Peter Wellington was part of the ‘independent’ cross bench in the Queensland Parliament that kept the minority Palaszczuk Government in office.

“The people Peter Wellington defended as innocent have now been convicted of drug trafficking, so will he admit he was wrong, reconsider his opposition to the VLAD laws and prevent them from being overturned?”

Key facts:

  • The LNP’s strong anti-criminal gang laws were introduced in October 2013
  • Other states, including Victoria and South Australia have sought to emulate the LNP’s laws

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