Lacanian ink and leather ‘down under’: Queensland’s ‘bikie’ legislation and its crimes of fashion

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MacNeil, WP, 2017, 'Lacanian ink and leather ‘down under’: Queensland’s ‘bikie’ legislation and its crimes of fashion', Griffith Law Review, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 615-631.

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Throughout 2013, the then Queensland Government passed an increasingly bizarre series of legislative acts aimed, specifically, at largely Gold Coast based ‘bikies’; that is, local motorcycle club members long notorious for their links with drug traffickers, prostitution rings and organised crime. Consisting of the Criminal Law (Criminal Organisation Disruption) Amendment Act 2013 (Qld), the Tattoo Parlours Act 2013 (Qld), and the hilariously monikered but deadly earnest Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act 2013 (Qld), this statutory troika extensively broadened police authority, potentially empowering Queensland’s ‘blue heelers’ to arrest bikies on grounds as flimsily ‘reasonable’ as wearing a leather motorcycle jacket or sporting a tattoo. Long staples of alternative cultures, leather and ink had effectively become crimes of fashion in Queensland. This article investigates the socio-legal processes involved in Queensland’s uncanny return of the sumptuary laws, the psychic economy underpinning said return. Psychoanalytic notions such as ‘the fetish’, ‘phobia’ and ‘suture’ will be utilised to unpack this demode instance of the ‘politics of the law’.

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