06 May 2013


Mermaid Beach (Queensland) MP Ray Stevens is reported to have come up with one of this year's most amusing proposals for crime control. Let's have a state-wide register - it's unclear whether it's to be online - of tattooed Queenslanders!

People with ink would reportedly have to register their tattoos with the Qld State Government as part of Stevens' plan to crack down on 'bikie gang money-laundering operations'. If reports are to be believed, the tattoos rather than the parlours are to the subject of registration.

According to one report the MP considers that
bikie gangs were using tattoo parlours as a front to launder their ill-gotten gains, and a form of tattoo register would stop them using fake names and inflated tattoo prices to do this.
Mr Stevens said fake names were used at bikie-affiliated parlours, with cash payments of thousands of dollars for bogus tattoo work.
"Under the Health Act there should be a register of people getting tattoos so that we can identify those people getting tattoos rather than have John Smith, Bill Brown and all the other fake names of people who are paying $5000 or $10,000 for tattoos. This is a way for these bikie clubs to clean their money," he said. "Considering the number of bikies and tattoo parlours I've seen in my area, considering the shootings in my area, I think it's a very worthwhile exercise to look into tattoo parlours and health activities associated with them."
Mr Stevens said the proposal could work with people required to give their name and identification to parlours when getting a tattoo with that information passed on to the Government register. Similar restrictions are used for the sale of cold and flu medication containing phenylephrine, which is targeted by criminals because it is an ingredient in making speed.
One immediate thought is that the parlours - supposedly run by crims - would be expected to contribute to a register that would demonstrate that criminal activity is taking place.

Let's not think about inconveniences such as verification or privacy.

Queensland Council for Civil Liberties spokesman Terry O'Gorman unsurprisingly is reported as commenting that the proposal is
a naive and extreme approach. "To require everyone who gets a tat to be registered is to require a huge number of the population who want it as a fashion statement to go on what would effectively be a criminal register," he said.
He said there was already a Federal Government body, Australian Transactions Reports and Analysis Centre, or AUSTRAC, which used high-tech means to investigate alleged money laundering, while if police had legitimate information to suggest a tattoo parlour was being used for laundering they would easily be able to get a phone tap and listening devices in place.