Member for Nicklin, MP Peter Wellington.
Member for Nicklin, MP Peter Wellington. Cade Mooney

Wellington rubbishes claims of bikie connections

AFTER questioning the fairness of the former government's VLAD laws, Independent Member for Nicklin Peter Wellington has rejected claims he was acting as a mouthpiece for bikie gangs.

Mr Wellington this week publicly questioned the equality of the laws in a social media post that reached more than 50,000 people.

In the post, the straight-talking politician spoke of his concern that the Gold Coast Titans players embroiled in allegations of cocaine supply were being given "preferential treatment" by police, compared to that given to motorbike riders charged under VLAD laws.

"Parts of the law are all wrong," Mr Wellington said.

"There's no equality before the law."

When asked whether he was a voice for bikies, Mr Wellington was quick to dismiss the suggestion.

"That's absolute rubbish," he said.

"What you see with me is an open book.

"I'd like to think I represent a wide variety of people."

While Mr Wellington has called on a moratorium of the VLAD laws until further review is undertaken, Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said the laws introduced by the Newman Government had been largely successful.

"My only view is the current laws are working and in my conversations with the government is that we can only get tougher on all criminal organisations," Mr Leavers said.

He pointed to the situation on the Gold Coast, which he said had been the "crime capital of Australia", as evidence the laws were effective.

"The streets of the Gold Coast have been returned to the people," Mr Leavers said. "Police have now been encouraged and supported to attack criminal organisations.

"I said if you give us the tools, resources and the funds, that includes the legislation, we'll do the job and you've got to support us when we do the job and I've got to say Campbell Newman delivered on the legislation."

Mr Leavers said he was not pre-empting any moves by the new Government, dismissing fears of potential watering down of VLAD laws, saying he understood there would be a review and he looked forward to working with the Palaszczuk Government moving forward.

When quizzed on the status of the pending review, Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller's office deferred to Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath's office, which in turn referred to Ms Palaszczuk's pre-election promises about the VLAD laws.

On January 29, Ms Palaszczuk said there would be an inquiry conducted into current legislation, while vowing to repeal and replace the controversial laws.

"A high-level taskforce will review the LNP's current laws, which have not resulted in one single conviction. I'd expect that review to be completed by the end of 2015," she said.

Former Attorney-General and now Shadow Police Minister, Member for Kawana Jarrod Bleijie, criticised Mr Wellington's assertions about VLAD laws.

He said police were not legislatively equipped to combat organised crime prior to VLAD.

"VLAD targets associations that have as one of its purposes a criminal purpose," he said. "These groups would include criminal motorcycle gangs, paedophilia rings or other organised crime groups. Innocent motorcycle riders are not covered under the VLAD legislation and never have been.

"We also empowered the CCC to tackle serious organised crime and it appears the additional powers and functions of the CCC are working."


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