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Freedom Ride ‘start of the battle’ against VLAD laws


The first Freedom Ride national rally against the VLAD Laws has been a resounding success with close to 3000 in Brisbane and thousands more in 24 simultaneous rides in every state of Australia rallying in support.
But the speakers at the festive and boisterous Brisbane rally have declared it is just the start of a long fight against draconian legislation claimed by the Queensland Government to be the “world’s toughest anti-bikie laws”.
Rally speakers say the laws also attack the civil liberties and human rights of every citizen, not just motorcycle riders.
Brisbane Freedom Ride organiser Gabe Buckley (right), dressed in a pink vest, declared at the rally that he would stand for the Liberal Democrats Party (LDP) in the February by-election to send a message to the incumbent government.


“We’re as mad as hell and we’re not going to take this lying down,” he told the crowd of almost 3000 outside Parliament House before leading them through the swearing of the Eureka Oath: “We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties”.
DSC_0277Paul Keyworth, who has been campaigning to start the Motorcyclists Australian Party says he believes he now has the required 500 signatures to establish the party and will also consider running in the Redcliffe by-election.
Paul told the crowd the Queensland Police were not the enemy, but were obliged by bad laws and instructed by an errant government to harass riders.
“Enough is enough,” he declared.
Queensland Council for Civil Liberties spokesman Michael Cope described how the government’s Vicious Lawless Associations Disestablishment (VLAD) Act could turn any organisation into an outlaw organisation.
DSC_0303He said the laws were not needed and that they turned people into criminals not for what they had done but for whom they knew and with whom they associated, which was breach of “fundamental liberties”.
He also rejected the Police Commissioner’s voluntary ride register for recreational riders trying to avoid unwanted police harassment.
“Why should people register with the police when they want to go for for a ride on a Sunday morning?” he said to strong applause from the crowd outside Parliament House.
Electrical Trades Union spokesman Peter Simpson said the laws were worse than Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s Continuity of Supply Act of the 1970s in which three or more workers could not gather without being declared a criminal gathering.
DSC_0270“People should be able to ride and associate with whoever … they want,” he said.
“The ETU stands beside you.”
He called on voters in the Redcliffe by-election to put the Liberal National Party candidate last on their ballots so that the LNP not only lost the seat, but also suffered a massive swing of up to 25% to send a strong message to the Premier.
NSW Senator-elect and Triumph Speed Triple rider David Leyonhjelm (LDP) provoked a huge response from the crowd with his opening remarks: “I’m here today to reassure you there are still politicians that value liberty.”
He said the Queensland Government was creating a “moral panic” about bike riders who were singled out by the laws and police, and vilified in the public’s eyes. (More from the Senator-elect will be posted in a separate story.)
DSC_0221Stephen from Anonymous also addressed the crowd. His organisation’s video which warned the Premier that they would not forgive or forget was branded “gutless” by The Courier-Mail newspaper.
He said the mainstream media was “too gutless to tell you the truth”.
While most of the TV stations and many radio stations were present, the News Ltd newspaper apparently only sent a photographer.
They missed some of the strongest and most positive points of the rally from Australian Motorcycle Business Chamber founder Travis Windsor.
He said the draconian laws cost Queensland’s 1500 motorcycle-related businesses more than $5m a week in lost trade and jeopardised the jobs and livelihoods of up to 10,000 people. Read the story here.
DSC_0329He said the laws were dissuading riders from riding and also affecting industries such as hospitality and tourism.
He called on riders to ride, spend their money in bike shops, cafes and pubs.
Travis also suggested an annual Sturgis-style bike rally on the Gold Coast to inject much-needed tourist dollars into the state.
On a personal note, the family of Kevin Hill (left) told of how their father and husband, incarcerated for a minor parole breach, had been a model prisoner until the new laws took away all his jail privileges and locked him in a cell for 23 hours a day.
And on a humourous note, father and son Chris and Noel Webbe sang several protest songs. Click here to watch the short video.
Australian Motorcycle Council chairman Shaun Lennard, attending a Freedom Ride in Hobart with hundreds of other riders, said the national rally had attracted several thousand around the nation.
“We weren’t the organisers of it and as far as I know my participation was the only direct involvement,” he said. “However, from the reports I’m hearing it sounds like it achieved what people set out to achieve.”

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  1. Newman also said “they could have had more fun by going for a nice Sunday ride”. Well we did go for not just a nice Sunday ride but a fantastic one with all our friends. Some that we have not even met yet. How much better does it get than being with great people that all have the same love of freedom and bikes. Is it up for Aussie day as well?

  2. Leave the Riders and their Bikes alone. Let’s look at Politicians as they are always in the news. Ride on and Ride hard. Freedom to all.

  3. Only 3,000 bikes, it sure looked like more to me. With the number of registered bikes in Qld, I would hope to see a lot more numbers as this goes forward.

    For the next ride we NEED to get flyers out to bike shops, shops, pubs and community notice boards so that more riders can find out about it. Not everyone does Facbook remember.

  4. solidarity brothers.there are a lot of people who back u guys and girls who hve never ridden abike in our lives.go for it.we care too.

  5. Bravo Newman and your contradictory reply to our protest. ‘We should have spent a beautiful Sunday arvo riding the many lovely scenic tourist routes SE QLD has to offer’ . Well guess what mate? We bloody well would if we weren’t in fear of riding with mates and being arrested for it for the laws YOU BROUGHT IN!. WAKE UP STUPID!

  6. There can be no doubt that yesterday was a huge success. Despite the short timeline and limited publicity, around Australia, our fellow riders supported us here in Queensland with impressive turn outs. The next rally is being planned for Australia Day 2014. Stay tuned. Congratulations to all of you who turned out and demonstrated solidarity with riders. The vibe at George Street was positive, friendly and committed, the QPS should also be commended for their friendly and helpful manner. Remember that the VLAD legislation is anti-Queenslanders not just bikers, although we are targeted.

  7. Corrupt politicians, Corrupt Cops, Corrupt Clergy, who are the real criminal associations. Corrupt politicians have slowly destroyed this state taking bribes (political donations) to put in resorts, push planning proposals, ignore the environment, Cops have beaten people, oppressed minorities, harrassed innocent civilians yet cannot achieve their sworn goal to decrease crime, they tax the people illegally by speed cameras and involved themselves in fraud by verballing witnesses. Week after week we hear about another catholic priest who has destroyed another group of kids lives. Apply these laws to these associations and apply the same scrutiny and mandatory sentencing and see how they like it. Newman must go, Abbott must go before we allow ourselves to be fooled into another 12 years of repressive government.

  8. It’s Great to see so many riders on the road , my life had changed were I sold my bike for my family, but it does not stop me from what I love, Talking on the association of riders in one group how do’es the motorcycle police get away with wearing the same outfit and label on there jackets in groups, and what happens if you have a cousin in an outlaw group can we never talk to them a Christmas around the table or at there mums Birthday, Come on Newman pull your head out of your on dreams , A thought for you who is going to tell our PM that he can not ride his bike in Lycra with his friends on a Sunday morning.

  9. Very glad to see a good turnout. Looking forward to the Australia Day run so I can hopefully join in this time. Also, getting fliers out would be great, no facebook or anything for me. At least we had our own mini-protest and had 12 bikes for the day…

  10. The rides televised all looked like a great day. Mind you, to me, so did the previous ride of another group! The more people who attend, and I would love to see this event grow, the more united we all are. Congratulations to those who could and did attend, you have done us all proud. If we continue in this vein, remain united and stand together, we can still have a democracy and enjoy ourselves too, as opposed to being the next group to be picked off.

  11. The Freedom ride is not ita first year and is NOT organised by Gabe

    The Queensland And Brisbane Freedom ru has been going for years and is organized by Rossy from Queensland bikers.

    Find your own run name don’t steal others good work or the name of a preexisting run.

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