REVEALED: Outlaw tag has Phoenix tempers rising

Jun 04, 2015
Born to be mild? Community sporting enthusiasts from the Phoenix Motorcycle Club of SA, which found itself implicated in the Government's "Gang of 27" crackdown.

Born to be mild? Community sporting enthusiasts from the Phoenix Motorcycle Club of SA, which found itself implicated in the Government's "Gang of 27" crackdown.

Organisers of a social motorcycle club inadvertently “outlawed” by the Weatherill Government’s latest anti-bikies gambit say there are “shocked and amused” to have found themselves nominally black-listed.

And they insist they will be “taking the matter up” if their bottom line is hit as “collateral damage” in Labor’s latest “tough on crime” foray.

A bill was tabled in parliament yesterday seeking to curtail members of 27 declared criminal organisations, one of which is identified as “the motorcycle club known as the Phoenix”.

However, InDaily can reveal the Phoenix Motorcycle Club of SA, far from being a criminal organisation, is a 51-year-old off-track non-profit racing club, affiliated with Motorcycling SA, that runs regular race meetings at Mallala and is registered with the Office of Consumer and Business Affairs.

“I am shocked and amused at the ineptitude of decision-makers to put us on that list,” said club secretary Glen Seidel when contacted by InDaily.

“Most of us don’t even have motorcycles.”

He insisted the group was “a track club, not a street club”.

“If we were into illegal activities, we’d have a lot more money than we do at the moment,” he said.

The confusion arises because the list submitted by police of clubs to be declared contains only 10 locally-operating gangs, but SAPOL has included a further 17 that operate in other jurisdictions, in a bid to prevent them relocating here in future.

SAPOL told InDaily in a statement the so-called “one-percenter” outlaw gang known as “Phoenix” originates “out of New South Wales (and) is a club with white supremacist views”.


The club patch of the “outlaw” Phoenix gang…not to be confused with the sporting group.

“The local club is a community based club – it is clearly  not  a 1% club,” SAPOL said.

“Clubs that have no identified associations with OMCG (Outlaw Motorcycle Gang) clubs are in no way impacted.”

A spokeswoman said police would contact the local club “to ensure any concerns they have are allayed”.

But even if they’re not about to have police kicking their door down, members of the local Phoenix are none too impressed to have their good name tarnished.

“We run an organised road racing event under the auspices of Motorcycling SA,” said Seidel.

“That’s our focus – we’re a sporting club, rather than any recreational pharmaceuticals or anything like that.”

Seidel says if authorities “are going to implicate a perfectly respectable sporting club, they’d better get the name right … so the public are not misled”, adding a concern that membership and participation could suffer from the Phoenix club’s inclusion as a declared organisation.

“This is obviously mistaken identity, but it does have potential to impact on our activities,” he said.

“We’re a sporting club and we rely on people joining … if somehow this affects our marketing, we’ll be taking the matter up.”

The Phoenix Motorcycle Club of SA was started after a “classic ride to Mannum” in 1964, and has gone on to become a social club for motoring enthusiasts.

InDaily in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

“Our sole purpose is to run two to five race meetings at Mallala every year,” Seidel explained.

“If the Phoenix Motorcycle Club has been placed on a register of potential illegal motorcycle clubs, I’d say that indicates a total lack of research into the issues they’re trying to address … If the level of research they’ve done is based on the impression they got from a name, that’s really quite bizarre (and) would make a mockery of such a law.”


A Facebook snap from the Adelaide Phoenix Club’s 2014 Picnic: has Labor’s bikie crackdown hit a snag?

As InDaily revealed yesterday, the Government’s proposed laws will effectively declare membership of outlaw gangs a criminal act, banning people from wearing club colours or accessories in licensed venues or from appearing in public with two or more other members of a declared gang.

Premier Jay Weatherill said it was designed “to severely restrict the ability of these organisations to operate in our community”.

Incoming Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the clubs on the list “currently pose a risk to public safety and we know those gangs are involved in serious criminal activity”.

But SAPOL today insisted “members of the Phoenix Motorcycle Club of South Australia will not be subject to the legislation”, as there is “a stringent test for SAPOL to apply which ensures members of social motorcycle clubs bearing the same name as an outlaw club cannot be captured in this legislation”.

They include proving membership of an outlaw gang, through the wearing of club colours, tattoos or accessories, or attending clubhouse functions.

“It is important to note that SAPOL has many years’ experience in enforcing OMCG members, as such the processes are refined and well tested,” the statement said.

But Seidel argues the blacklist appears to have “totally missed its mark and got some collateral damage”.

“It needs to be fixed and needs to be clarified … they’ve done stuff-all research and potentially hurt innocent sports organisers,” he said.

The discrepancy was picked up by Greens MLC Mark Parnell, who questioned the Phoenix club’s inclusion on the list. He says even if it’s a case of mistaken identity, “it exposes a serious problem with identifying which groups are legal and which are illegal”.

“Who will be next – Meals on Wheels?” he said.

“The Government has had years to get this right, so to make such a monumental blunder on the day of the announcement shows they are not to be trusted on law and order issues.

“We will look at the detail of the legislation before determining a final position, but if this blunder stands, they’ve started very badly in the trust stakes.”

A Government spokeswoman said the 27 declared clubs would be embedded in the legislation, and any further changes would be done by regulation.

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InDaily.
All rights reserved.