The 'bikie effect' and other forms of demonisation: The origins and effects of hyper-criminalisation
The last decade has seen a significant expansion in the net cast by Australian criminal laws. In the name of crime prevention and risk management, legislatures around Australia have introduced various forms of 'extreme' criminalisation which push the criminal law beyond its traditional boundaries. This article presents four recent case studies of 'hyper-criminalisation' to show that law-makers have effectively deployed tropes of demonisation and danger - 'bikies' are the archetypal 21st century example - to justify expansion of the parameters of criminal law and the severity of its sanctions. We consider the implications of this type of law-making, given that, frequently, the resulting laws are not limited in their operation to the bikies or other 'demons' who were instrumental in their rhetorical justification.