Tattooist shut down under anti-bikie laws wants Government to reconsider
A Rockhampton woman who had her tattoo business closed down under controversial anti-bikie laws is urging the Government to re-consider her case.
Veronica Bartley received a letter from the Office of Fair Trading last July telling her she had been denied a licence to operate Gallery Ink under the former Newman government’s anti-bikie laws.
“It was devastating and I didn’t believe in a million years we’d be turned down,” she said.
Prior to this, there was no requirement for tattoo business operators or tattoo artists to be licensed by the state government — although Office of Fair Trading figures estimated there were around 400 in Queensland.
Ms Bartley said she was forced to close her doors immediately and her once thriving business was converted to a second-hand store.
You could have a negative decision made and you’ll never know the basis of why. Even if you appeal, the same thing applies.Criminologist Terry Goldsworthy
“It’s just been a big rollercoaster for us,” she said.
“I can’t move on, my husband has tried to move on, he did have a breakdown but he’s sort of accepted it now.
“I can’t give up on it, in principle, my name’s tarnished now here in this town, even people who know me.”
She wants the Government to review the legislation, which she said infringes on her civil rights and human rights.
“We can associate with whoever we wish without discrimination,” she said.
“What’s so bad about these laws is we’re classed as guilty, we have to prove our innocence.
“Our constitution laws say you’re innocent until proven guilty so it just goes against all our rights.”
No reasons given for rejection
Three applicants have had tattoo parlour licences rejected since the laws were introduced.
Criminologist Terry Goldsworthy said under the tattoo act, the Police Commissioner does not have to release the intelligence that led to licence rejection.
“You could have a negative decision made and you’ll never know the basis of why,” he said.
“Even if you appeal, the same thing applies.
“One of the principles of justice is due process and that would entail that you would be able to find out who has made the issues against you, what is the strength of the evidence against you.”
The Government said a taskforce will consider the tattoo parlour laws as part of a review of bikie laws and encouraged Ms Bartley to make a submission.
She said although she associated with bikies, she had never committed any crime and should be allowed to clear her name.
“I feel we’ve been really discriminated against … this whole case is ridiculous,” she said.
“They should be out getting the criminals that these laws are supposed to have been implemented for.”