The Beat
19 Feb 2015|

Anti-bikie laws: Coming or going?

This week’s installment covers unexplained wealth, the ACC and gangs, anti-bikie laws, cybercrime in Australia, CVE and the Boston Marathon bomber trial.

Unexplained wealth: revenue or effect?

While the Australian Government works through the options (see here and here) to create an effective regime that tackles ‘unexplained wealth’, the UK House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has made its intent clear to the UK National Crime Agency: ‘drastically’ increase your seizures. Pity the UK House of Commons Home Affairs Committee’s concern was framed in terms of revenue vs budget allocations, rather than their impact on fighting crime.

Australian Crime Commission annual report

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement met last week to discuss the Australian Crime Commission’s 2013–2014 annual report. The report makes specific mention of both the Eligo National Task Force, designed to investigate the use of alternative remittance by serious and organised criminals, and the Australian Gangs Intelligence Coordination Centre, the intelligence-led response to Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. These are just some of the activities making up Australia’s efforts to counter the $15 billion that organised crime costs us annually.

Anti-bikie laws: Coming or going?

Also on bikie gangs, Queensland looks set to review its ‘Anti-bikie’ laws now that a new government has been elected. Although controversial due to the way these laws criminalise association, the laws were upheld in the High Court late last year. Queensland Attorney-General D’Ath’s view is a positive one: action needs to focus on all organised crime, not just bikies—a point we’ve made before. This comes at a time when the ACT Government is considering its current bikie laws after recent shootings in the capital, some of which have been linked to bikies.

Cybercrime in Australia

Australians are continuing to fall victim to cybercrime. Security company Kaspersky Lab has reported that more than $1.2 billion has been stolen from over 100 institutions over the past two years in 30 countries, including Australia. Three of the Big 4 Australian banks declined to comment on whether they were affected by this particular attack. Kaspersky Lab spokesman Sergey Golovanov noted the sleek and professional nature of these attacks. Hopefully this report serves as a wake-up call to Australian institutions and consumers to become more aware of the dangers of cybercrime.

Countering violent extremism in Australia

In advance of Attorney-General George Brandis’ appearance this week at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, the Australian Parliament’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security Section has released new measures to counter violent extremism (CVE). This outlines a history of government CVE initiatives and includes a breakdown of allocations of government funding to the Building Community Resilience Grants Program. It’ll be interesting to see if the Washington Summit results in new Australian measures in this space.

Boston Marathon bombing

Also in the US, the Boston media are becoming frustrated with the unusually high amount of restrictions they’ll face in covering the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, charged with the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013. With continuing requests to move the trial out of Massachusetts to obtain an impartial jury and the publication of interviews finding significant bias amongst potential jurors, it could be some time before this trial commences.

Coming up

The Financial Action Task Force Plenary and Working Group meetings is currently underway in Paris, which is expected to find Australia anti-money laundering regime is deficient is some ways. This intergovernmental body aims to set standards against money laundering and terrorism financing. Given that IS is estimated to have $2 billion at its disposal, there’s perhaps never been a more important time to counter to flow of funding to terrorist groups. We’ll provide news on the outcomes as they come to hand.

Clare Murphy is an intern working within ASPI’s Strategic Policing and Law Enforcement Program. Image courtesy of Flickr user Karwik.