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The Legislation We Had to Have?: The Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act 2009 (NSW)

Current Issues in Criminal Justice, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 457-465, 2009

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 09/76

10 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2009  

Arlie Loughnan

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: September 2, 2009

Abstract

In the wake of several high-profile incidents of outlaw 'bikie gang'-related violence, including a fatal bashing at Sydney Airport, the New South Wales Government has introduced new laws to expand police powers relating to 'criminal organisations', membership, and association. This Comment provides a critical overview and analysis of the Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act 2009 (NSW) (the Act), with reference to recent related legislation in other States and at federal level. The Act contains a number of problematic aspects, as it creates what are in effect status offences and makes compromises regarding conventional rules of procedure, proof and evidence. This Comment argues that the Act must be understood in the broad context of penal popularism and that it is symptomatic of the dominance of 'law and order' politics in NSW. Revealing a clear debt to anti-terrorism legislation, an emphasis on risk and prevention, and the curtailment of individual rights in the larger interests of security, the Act is an unfortunate if not unexpected step in the ongoing process of criminal law reform in NSW.

Keywords: criminal law, criminal gangs, anti-terrorism offences

JEL Classification: K10, K14, K30

Suggested Citation

Loughnan, Arlie, The Legislation We Had to Have?: The Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act 2009 (NSW) (September 2, 2009). Current Issues in Criminal Justice, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 457-465, 2009; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 09/76. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1467313

Arlie Loughnan (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
+61 2 9351 0246 (Phone)
+61 2 9351 0200 (Fax)

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