International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss

When Criminal Laws affects Business Enterprises: A Case Study of the Tattoo Parlours Act in Queensland, Australia
Robyn Lincoln, Lucy Gubbins

Several Australian states have embarked on legislative reform aimed at curbing motorcycle club members’ involvement in criminal activities. These reforms extended into the sphere of legitimate business enterprises with the creation or amendment of occupational licensing regulations. This article examines one such example — the Tattoo Parlours Act 2013 in Queensland — with a particular focus on its use of criminal intelligence evidence, its non-disclosure provisions, and how these impact on fairness, equality, and the right to conduct business. This review sets out the background to the Act, explains the processes of application and appeal, and critiques the consequences of such licensing laws. The paper canvasses three main issues: that these laws constitute “hyperlegislation” that is characterised by political expediency, haste, and poor drafting; that the criminal law, especially that which deals with associations, can impact on legitimate enterprise; and that such laws lead to the stigmatisation of individuals giving few avenues for legal recourse. With this tranche of laws having been recently reviewed and revised, it is anticipated that many of these criticisms have been addressed. However, it is doubtful that all problematic aspects of the laws will be reversed, and it is unclear what opportunities for redress will be open to those individuals and businesses who were subjected to the laws in their previous form.

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