Amendments to Gang Insignia Bill step in right direction, but flaws remain


05 July 2024

Amendments to Gang Insignia Bill step in right direction, but flaws remain

The Free Speech Union welcomes proposed amendments to the Gang Insignia Bill by the Justice Select Committee, which go some way to addressing the weaknesses of this draft legislation, says Jonathan Ayling, Chief Executive of the Free Speech Union.

“In our submission, we raised numerous concerns, including:

  • The definition of insignia being vague and excessively broad;
  • The definition of ‘gang’ being ambiguous and vulnerable to abuse;
  • The absence of intent on the part of the insignia's wearer.

“The Select Committee has addressed these three concerns, by:

  • Amending the definition of ‘gang insignia’;
  • Restricting the threshold for ‘gang’ activity to ‘serious criminal activity (convictions of category 3 offences or higher);
  • Requiring a mental element of individuals knowingly displaying gang insignia in public.

“While the Select Committee has improved the draft legislation, we maintain that individuals should be criminalised for their activity, not their wardrobe. This Bill appeals more to emotion than evidence.

“The Attorney-General has noted this legislation breaches the Bill of Rights Act. Playing politics with fundamental rights is a risky game in which, eventually, we all lose. Where any individual commits illegal activities, they must face the consequences. But criminalising expression is a slippery slope.”


Note to editor: Find our submission on the Gang Legislation Amendment Bill here.

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  • Nadia Braddon-Parsons
    published this page in Media releases 2024-07-05 13:49:12 +1200

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