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AUSTRALIA - NSW must move on bikie laws: opposition

OFF THE WIRE
Source: ninemsn.com.au
The NSW government has been accused of going soft on organised crime over its failure to address a High Court decision overturning tough anti-bikie laws.
In June, the High Court struck out NSW legislation which would have allowed police to apply to a court to have members of bikie gangs prohibited from consorting with one other.
At the time, NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith pledged to examine whether legislation could be introduced to address the High Court decision, made in response to a legal challenge by the Hells Angels.
On Thursday, opposition police spokesman Nathan Rees said the government had so far taken "zero action" on its pledge to fix the bikie laws.
"Greg Smith, the attorney-general, is asleep at the wheel - he needs to introduce legislation to remedy the High Court decision and its application to NSW as a matter of urgency," Mr Rees told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.
"If the government's legislation to address the overturning of these laws isn't introduced this week, it wont be debated until at least February 2012 - leaving police without extra powers to tackle organised crime."
NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell says the government is working with police "to find a way through the High Court's decision".
"I also wrote to the Prime Minister (in July) requesting a national approach on this, because clearly that's one of the consequences of the High Court," Mr O'Farrell told reporters in Sydney.
"In the meantime, police will use the powers that are available to them to deal with that bikie issue across NSW."
Mr Smith said he expected the issue to be discussed in November at a meeting of state and federal attorneys-general in Launceston.
South Australian anti-bikie legislation has also been partly disallowed by the High Court.
"We've been consulting with other states after the premier emphasised the importance of having a national approach to this problem," Mr Smith said in question time.
"We will consider any legislative changes carefully, to ensure that they are both constitutional and effective in combating the problem of bikie gangs."

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