Earlier this month, tattoo news headlines included a story of how an Australian politician proposed a ridiculous anti-tattoo law that seemed like the work of another conservative crackpot. However, it turns out, that it is indeed something to pay attention to and fight. Sharron Campbell, a solicitor in Queensland, who works in privacy and information rights, explains here how serious this issue is and how all of us around the world can get involved.
By Sharron Campbell
Down in Queensland--land of beers, barbies, and shrimps to throw on them--a politician has proposed that anyone who gets a tattoo should be registered with the government. He thinks this will somehow stop bikie gang money laundering.
Natural first reaction is to laugh: a law that ridiculous could never happen, right?
Australia has limited rights to free speech, there's no Bill of Rights, there's no general right to privacy. And in New South Wales, the State just south of Queensland, they passed laws just as bad as what's been proposed.
attend a police station to have your finger and palm prints taken
undergo a security determination by the Police Commissioner.
It's even harder if you want to actually run a studio and if you actually get your license the police can enter any time, no warrant required, to:
inspect and take copies of records
take photographs and videos
bring in drug and gun sniffing dogs.
These NSW laws, Queensland's proposed laws, seem to imply the link between tattooing and crime is so strong the rights of tattooists and the tattooed are somehow worth less than everyone else's. If those laws can pass in NSW, the proposed laws could pass in Queensland; the two States have the same basic rights, freedoms, and powers.
Once the wheels of government start grinding out a Bill it will be too late to stop it.
Wherever you are in the world you can help, before it's law, before it goes any further, by telling the Queensland government this is not okay.