Advocacy

advocacy1From the early eighties, Brotherhood CMC has been heavily involved in advocating for and encouraging those in power to respond positively to the needs of those in the motorcycle community and on the fringes of our society. This has meant organising, supporting and acting in partnership with like-minded groups on issues such as motorcycle awareness, overturning compulsory lights-on laws, medical helmet exemptions, promoting motorcycling and it’s lifestyle amongst the general public and political power brokers.

Over many years it has supported many aspects of the riders’ rights movement both here and overseas. Most recently it supported, both organisationally and financially, the 2006 Bikers Australia National Motorcycle Awareness Ride to Canberra. Organising a press launch in Canberra for Bikers Australia’s National President, Noel Andrew, in December 2005, Hirsty managed to get not only the Federal Transport Minister, Warren Truss, to attend but also former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson and Nationals Luke Hartsuyker. Both Anderson and Hartsuyker are riders, and Luke rode to Canberra in January 2006 to join then Federal Defence Minister Dr. Brendan Nelson.

advocacy2Well organised by Bikers Australia, this national ride not only scored a large turnout of riders but enormous positive mainstream media coverage across the country. Showing the open nature of the ride, the throng of motorcyclists gathered at the road closure in Nth. Canberra were escorted to Parliament House by a local motorcycle club and the Federal Police.

2010 Inaugural Federal Politicians Motorcycle Ride

As part of its ongoing advocacy work Brotherhood CMC has worked closely with the Australian Motorcycle Council since 2008 in order to encourage our nation’s leaders to see motorcycling in a more positive light and encourage motorcycle usage amongst the broader Australian Population. Inspired by former Federal Opposition Leader, Dr. Brendan Nelson, both groups have worked to encourage politicians in all parties to come out of the closet and confess to their passion for riding.

What follows is one of the many press releases about this years event, a letter of appreciation from the Australian Motorcycle Council, some coverage from Live To Ride Magazine and a closing comment from Dr. Nelson whilst Australian Defence Minister in 2007:

“Leaders of the Australian motorcycle community will be rubbing shoulders with leaders of the country in Canberra over March 15-16, 2010.

Australian Motorcycle Council (AMC) chairman Shaun Lennard of Hobart and motorcycling author and identity Greg Hirst, from Brotherhood Christian Motorcycle Club in Sydney, will be in Canberra to join members from all sides of politics for their inaugural motorcycle ride on Monday, March 15 to highlight the benefits of motorcycling and call for greater recognition of motorcycling in transport policies.

“We’ll be joining motorcycle-riding MPs and Senators as they come out of the closet, well, garage, and join together in publicly encouraging Australians to get on a motorcycle,” said Hirst.

The AMC points out the increasing popularity of motorcycling, with more and more people from all walks of life taking up riding.

“There’s been a 60% increase in the number of motorcycles and scooters on Australia’s roads in the past 10 years – from around 300,000 to well over half a million now,” said Lennard.

“We’re looking for action from Governments across the country to embrace the environmental benefits that motorcycling brings – so Canberra is a good place to start.”

“More and more we’re seeing Governments across the Western world embracing motorcycling as a key element in an efficient transport network.

Media representatives are invited arrange a motorcycle, join this historic ride and then attend the ‘Inaugural Members and Senators Motorcycle Breakfast’ in Parliament House on Tuesday morning (March 16) where Shaun and Greg  will encourage governments of all persuasions to promote the use of motorcycles in Australia’s transport mix.”

Dr. Brendan Nelson Supports Motorcycle Riding

“Bikers should be given more respect on the roads. As Bikers, we can’t take anything for granted. We have to assume that every car is going to pull out in front of us. Congratulations to the Brotherhood CMC for promoting biking in a family friendly atmosphere, over so many years.”

Dr. Nelson, who has ridden motorcycles for most of his adult life, also called on governments of all persuasions to encourage the use of motorcycles in the general community.

“Increased motorcycle usage has real benefits for the environment and for a more efficient use of petrol supplies.” he said.

– 14 February 2007 at the Silverwater Street and Custom Motorcycle Show.

Why Brotherhood CMC joined the United Motorcycle Council

Brotherhood Christian Motorcycle Club for over thirty years has been seeking to integrate its member’s faith in Jesus Christ  and their passion for motorcycling.As a ministry arm of a local Parramatta based evangelical church, Street Level Christian Community Inc.,it  provides  evangelism, welfare and advocacy with those on the fringes of our society.

After reading the ‘Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act and Amendments 2009’ in NSW, the analysis by the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions  and having evaluated views both for and against this legislation, Brotherhood Christian Motorcycle Club felt it could not stand on the sidelines on this issue.

In May 2009 it joined the United Motorcycle Council NSW in order to:

  • Support  peaceful resolution of differences between motorcycle clubs
  • Encourage the development of a law abiding motorcycle lobby group
  • Support the development of a socially responsible motorcycle culture
  • Consolidate opposition to legislation that undermines the ‘ rule of law’
  • Express concern at the growing trend around Australia to enact laws that overturn human rights, recognising that such laws could be applied to other groups such as church groups.

Our position is not a support for any criminal activity but rather opposition to unfair legislation that damages the ‘rule of law ‘ in Australia. We encourage the use of the established criminal law in Australia to deal with any and all criminal activity within Australian society and within the motorcycle community.

We join with respected public figures and experts including Nicholas Cowdrey QC who have publicly stated concerns that these laws are ‘deeply disturbing’ and ‘inappropriate’.

We join with the Anglican Dean of St. Andrews Cathedral, Phillip Jensen,  in his assessment that laws like this stand in stark contrast to God’s justice and in particular that “The laws by which one generation protects society can easily become the laws by which society will oppress another generation”.

Brotherhood CMC also agrees with the public comments made by the Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Crime Commission, Federal Labor Senator Steve Hutchins who urged that any legislative developments to support law enforcement be considered and evidence based rather than politically driven.

Brotherhood Christian Motorcycle Club is a non- violent and law abiding group of committed Christian motorcyclists with a focus on reaching out to those on the streets and in motorcycle groups, people who are often alienated from mainstream government, community and church organisations.

We have worked to support individuals and groups to engage governments and law enforcement agencies in a peaceful and positive fashion as they try to communicate their issues.

We believe all Christian organisations and church groups should read this legislation and the comments by legal and theological experts and oppose any laws that opens the door for future religious and political persecution through the use of unnecessary and potentially oppressive police powers.

It seems Brotherhood CMC’s concerns about the ‘anti-association’ laws are well founded. The following articles explain why: