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Apr 6, 2009

SA Labor government: "screws civil rights”

New legislation presently consuming our country under the guise of anti-biker laws is no more than a deliberate attempt to destroy our civil rights, writes Mark Aldridge.


The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 22.2, “…the Covenant was adopted by the General Assembly on 16th December 1966, and came into force on the 23rd of March 1976. Parties to it are obligated to ensure that all individuals with in their jurisdiction enjoys certain rights, including the right to life, liberty, security of person, freedom of movements and residence, equality before the courts, presumption of innocence when charged with a crime, freedom of thought and religion, freedom to hold opinions, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, freedom of association, and participation in voting and public affairs.

New legislation presently consuming our country under the guise of anti biker laws is no more than a deliberate attempt to destroy our civil rights. Nearly all of the above rights, out the window in one foul swoop. One could even say they are somewhat of a social experiment to see how much can be taken from the people before they stand up in defence of their rights.

The spin doctors seem to have done their job well, as the people seem not only oblivious to what is happening around them, some in fact are voicing their support. The next step in the destruction of what is left of liberty and civil rights will come as a result of trying to enforce this new legislation; phone taps, secret files on Australians, mobile and SMS monitoring, and email surveillance just to name a few.

There goes the Great Aussie back yard BBQ, whom exactly are you going to invite? How can you check their backgrounds, even the regulars from down the pub, are they under an order? Our elected officials can no longer deserve our trust, having failed to honor not only their promise to protect our rights, but even those promises, they are a signatory too.

As our government continues to support countries like China, at the loss of our manufacturing industries, borrowing from and free trade, are they also seem willing to adopt China’s record of human rights, the recent Freedom Of Association protest ride, clearly showed they are willing to abuse their powers, by using our polices services to intimidate government protest. Where will all this stop, or will it only get worse?

As is every Australian’s right, I attended a protest rally on Saturday, March 14, 2009 called the Freedom of Association Rally, run by various motorcycle clubs protesting the introduction of these laws. The ensuring protest ride was well organized, went very smoothly and I feel I can say was enjoyed by all. The black mark on the day was the disgraceful conduct of our police force I assume at the request of SA premier Mike Rann and our beloved attorney General, maybe even more so as a result of the newly registered FREE Australia Parties involvement.

In all my years I have never been harassed, bullied and intimidated by the police. I now have a better understanding as to why the biker community have such disdain for them. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I would have never believed it.

Two kilometres from the meeting point there were police lining the road in their hundreds, pulling over every motor bike, obviously in the knowledge they were attending the rally. I had to wait about 10 minutes before I was searched, alcohol and drug tested, video taped and photographed. I had to produce my license and registration.

After I passed their scrutiny, I rode back onto the road only to be pulled over 30 meters further on, even though I explained I had just been checked. I had to wait and endure the same process and when I was again allowed to leave, within 30 meters I was pulled over a third time to have my bike checked, license and rego.

After close scrutiny they decided my number plate did not comply as it did not have raised letters (it came on the bike when I brought it) which attracted a fine of $520, when I explained I was unaware of its none compliance, I was then harassed and searched. I was eventually allowed to proceed, leaving many behind suffering the same torment, arriving an hour late.

Despite government spin regarding the alleged violence that would take place, around 500 bikes showed up. We left in a huge procession to ride to the Barossa valley, lead by and followed by hundreds of police in marked and unmarked cars, buses, vans, bikes, planes and helicopters. I must have been videoed and photographed on dozens of occasions.

All involved kept to the road rules and posted limit. As we entered the town of Kapunda there were hundreds of police. Every rider had to stop on the road and alight while we waited to all be breath and drug tested again, taking about 30 to 40 minutes, some 500 riders, even supporting motorist were harassed and received fines, one young chap for driving with his lights on even though there were regular road safety signs advising him to?

This kind of harassment continued for the whole rally. The police escort at the front continually braked suddenly on the 110km country highways to cause all the riders to have to continually brake from 100 down to 40 kph during the whole ride. There was even the occasional driving off the road by these officers to throw up gravel and dust.

After returning to town to the last destination at Salisbury we had a celebratory drink, there was still camera wielding police videoing and photographing us as we all tried to relax from a long day. Being a bike rider for over 20 years, but not a club member, I had heard rumors of this type of conduct, but to witness it was an eye opening experience. Will this kind of treatment become general police conduct in ensuing years at the request of our elected officials?

I said my goodbyes and started my brief journey home, only making it two kilometres before coming across another police road block again only for bike riders. I was again breath tested and had my bike inspected, receiving this time a defect for my exhaust, which was basically new and had been checked so as to comply with the road regulations for its make and model. The police explained that if they were wrong the inspection center would remove the defect, which may take several weeks to book in and at another considerable expense to me — not forgetting the time of attendance and the weeks of good weather I will miss out enjoying riding.

So not only are South Australians having their civil liberties stolen from them by the Rann government, but Mr Rann is willing to spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and precious police recourses to ensure that standing up in protest against him, will be met with severe consequences.


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