Sometimes, when the social urge takes charge, the Professor sallies forth to break bread with like-minded types. Such dinner gatherings often represent a critical mass of antisocial attitudes, as judged by contemporary Victorian standards, there being much levity at the expense of hooked-up, nicely remunerated members of the Mordy-Litijus tribe, social workers, the notion that underpaid teachers spend their four months’ of holiday time preparing lesson plans and, inevitably, the sort of women who represent compelling arguments for male sodomy. Given what happened in Andrew Bolt v Self-Identifiers and the fact that cigarette butts are sometimes carelessly discarded beneath an al fresco table, a case could perhaps be made that a peaceful Bunyip and companions are law-breakers and undesirable elements liable to prosecution under a variety of new measures being introduced in the Garden State and other jurisdictions. In Victoria, the latest novelty is a ban on what are being described as domestic “fortifications”, which police have been given an authority to tear down. They are embracing that option with relish.
The new law is aimed specifically at bikies, as is Victoria Police’s stated intention to give anyone riding in club colours a hard time, even if they are within the speed limit and perhaps on the way to refurbish grandma’s spouting. In other states similar measures have been introduced, the common thread being that Australia’s various police forces need something more muscular than existing laws to make outlaw motorcyclists behave themselves. This seems a peculiar view, as dealing drugs, manufacturing them, stockpiling arsenals and shooting fellow citizens are already against the law and have been for some time.
Now it is true that bikies elicit little sympathy and deserve less. Certainly, no decent parent would be pleased to find a child had decorated himself with a “1%” tattoo. Plus, given the way that Harleys handle, there would be reason to doubt the young one’s sanity, as agile Italian and Japanese crotch rockets are cheaper, faster and a lot more fun. But being stupid and illuminating your bicep with a tatt are not illegal activities – not yet, anyway. What should worry the rule of law’s supporters is just where this business of nominating particular groups for selectively harsh treatment might end.
The Billabong just happens to be surrounded by a rather high and private fence, which by the new legislation’s loose definition might be construed as one of those "fortifications". The possibility that police might come knocking is, while unlikely in the near term, a possibility down the road, for if there is a tendency amongst those who pass and enforce laws it is the lure of “mission creep”.
"Step away from the Anne Summers jokes, put down the list of Arts Victoria grants recipients and throw yourself face-down in the dirt....." Fanciful, yes, but not unthinkable -- not in a land where a former ABC media critic is consumed with regret that the Finko and Ricketty review was unable to impose the threat of jail time on troublesome newspaper editors.
Today it is bikies on the short end of the battering ram. Tomorrow, who knows which sub-demographic of undesirables might be in for a bit of official attention?