Dozens of tattoo industry workers in South Australia fear they will be out of a job if proposed laws to regulate the industry are passed, organisers of a protest have said.
About 100 people today gathered on the steps of Parliament House to fight against the Tattoo Industry Control Bill.
The law, currently before Parliament, would ban certain relatives of members of declared criminal organisations from working in the industry.
It will be illegal for them to own a tattoo business, be employed as a tattooist, or sell tattoo equipment.
Robert Cameron, also known as “Bear”, is a member of Gypsy Jokers, one of 10 clubs declared criminal organisations in the state under new anti-bikie laws.
He owns two tattoo studios in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.
“For me, my business will be closed down, I will never be able to tattoo again,” he said.
“I’ve been doing this for 28 years, I’ve been paying my taxes, I’ve owned my own business for 15 years.
“I think it’s just unjust that I can be declared a criminal when I’ve done nothing wrong and if I was a criminal they would have evidence and they’d put me in jail, wouldn’t they?”
‘We won’t stop fighting’: Gypsy Joker
Mr Cameron said there were at least 10 tattoo studios in Adelaide that were owned by people involved in clubs now deemed criminal organisations.
“There’s a hell of a lot of bikers in amongst the crowd,” he said.
“We won’t stop [fighting] and if they take my businesses off me, who knows where it will end up?”
Tattoo artist Dylan Glacken is not involved in any club, but the studio he works for is.
There is a very good reason why we are not trying to regulate pet shops.SA Attorney-General John Rau
He said he would be out of a job if the laws were passed.
“I don’t have any involvement in any other groups, I’m not involved in anything,” he said.
“I’ve got a couple of kids at home, this is the way I provide for my kids and my family and I think it’s unfair that they tell me I’m not allowed to do that.”
SA Attorney-General John Rau defended the proposed new law.
He said people in the industry involved in criminal activity would be happy with the changes before Parliament.
“I am satisfied with what I’ve been picking up interstate from my colleagues and from the police that there is
disproportionate association between this particular retail outlet and organised criminal groups,” he said.
“There is a very good reason why we are not trying to regulate pet shops.”