Po­lit­i­cal feud to save bikies

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS -

BIKIES and or­gan­ised crime bosses are amass­ing hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in un­ex­plained wealth by op­er­at­ing across state bor­ders be­cause Mal­colm Turn­bull can’t con­vince La­bor gov­ern­ments to sign up to a na­tional scheme to con­fis­cate dirty cash.

The fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has been locked in talks with state and ter­ri­tory gov­ern­ments for the past five years, try­ing to con­vince them to agree on a na­tional un­ex­plained wealth strat­egy to pre­vent crooks hid­ing their as­sets across state bor­ders.

Af­ter La­bor’s state elec­tion win, Western Aus­tralia be­came the lat­est to refuse to take part in ne­go­ti­a­tions over con­cerns they will miss out on their share of con­fis­cated cash.

Jus­tice Min­is­ter Michael Keenan said the rogue states risked be­com­ing “havens for crim­i­nal as­sets” who will hide their riches in ju­ris­dic­tions that refuse to sign up.

The Sun­day Tele­graph un­der­stands the fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is close to fi­nal­is­ing “re­fer­ral leg­is­la­tion”, which needs to be passed by just one state gov­ern­ment to trig­ger the scheme. The Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment hopes NSW will pass the Bill later this year.

But se­nior mem­bers of the Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice are pri­vately frus­trated by de­lays to the na­tional scheme, which was to begin in 2016.

Mr Keenan said the com­mon­wealth, states and ter­ri­to­ries need to work to­gether be­cause “crim­i­nals do not re­spect bor­ders”.

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