The state’s opposition parties believe protesters wearing Sea Shepherd shirts and others wearing Sons of Anarchy merchandise could be unintentionally caught up in the state government’s first phase of anti-bikie legislation.
Parliament debated the bill on Tuesday, which is intended to ban insignia worn by outlaw motorcycle gangs in public places around the state.
But Labor and the Greens argue the legislation lacks too much detail, fails to identify outlaw motorcycle gangs, and gives the Police Minister too much power and discretion over which insignia should not be worn in public.
Under amendments to the Police Offences Act, clothing, jewellery or other accessories would be banned if it displayed the name, symbol, logo or image of an organisation deemed to be identified as an outlaw organisation, prescribed by the minister.
A police officer would be allowed to detain a person or seize the prohibited item if the amendments are passed.
Police Minister Michael Ferguson said the act was designed to reduce fear and intimidation as well as the likelihood of violence or disorder in public places.
Labor justice spokeswoman Ella Haddad called for the bill to be withdrawn and be redrafted as the party believed in the intention of the bill but held reservations over far-reaching powers afforded to the minister and its lack of appeal rights.
Labor police spokesman Shane Broad said Queensland was only state that had banned insignia in public places and it had not led to a reduction in organised crime.
He said a Queensland police officer had confiscated a Sons of Anarchy T-shirt under the law as he believed it was representative of an actual outlaw motorcycle gang.
Greens justice spokeswoman Rosalie Woodruff said people who wore Sea Shepherd-branded apparel could be targeted by the law.
“No doubt a case could be made against protesters as they might be perceived to generate fear for people in a public place,” Dr Woodruff said.
Mr Ferguson said the bill had been based on revisions to anti-bikie legislation in Queensland by the Labor government.
He said a prescribed group would require approval from state cabinet and the blessing of the Tasmanian Governor.
The legislation was passed on the government’s numbers.