Vic sinks national bikie gang laws Thursday, April 16, 2009 Â» 08:01pm Victoria and the ACT have teamed up to scuttle plans for national laws banning bikie gangs. Attorneys-general have agreed to strengthen laws to fight organised crime across all states and territories. But they stopped short of agreeing to harmonise anti-bikie gang laws across state jurisdictions. Pressure for a nationally consistent approach has mounted since rival gangs were involved in a fatal brawl at Sydney Airport last month. South Australia and NSW, which have already passed laws to criminalise bikie gang membership, had been pressuring others to follow their lead. They argued that states and territories that failed to act risked becoming safe havens for bikie gangs. But Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls and his ACT counterpart Simon Corbell denied they'd put their communities at risk. They said police should focus on criminal behaviour rather than individuals' affiliations. 'We've agreed to a nationally consistent set of principles that will prevent any jurisdiction becoming a safe haven for bikie gangs,' federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland told reporters in Canberra. '(But) it doesn't require each and every piece of legislation (across Australia) to be word for word.' The commonwealth will introduce a range of laws to increase access to material gathered via telecommunications interceptions and strengthen the asset confiscation regime. States agreed to bolster questioning powers and consorting laws to crack down on crimes committed by members of a group. There will also be greater cooperation across jurisdictions. But none of that goes as far as laws already passed in South Australia and NSW, which criminalise bikie gang membership. Victoria won't have to change its laws at all. 'They (the laws) are things we have in place in Victoria,' Mr Hulls said. 'This national framework will ensure there are no gaps when it comes to organised crime legislation in any jurisdiction.' Mr Corbell said the framework enabled each state and territory to develop its own response according to its particular circumstances. 'What the meeting has recognised is there's different ways to skin a cat, but the objectives are the same,' he said. NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos went into the meeting with three key demands. He got his way on two - but not the one he considered most important. He won on increased access to telecommunications interception. And he expects endorsement on Friday of his push to have corporations law changed to ban gang members from being company directors. But he also wanted bikie groups and members banned in one state to be declared illegal across Australia, which was sunk by Victoria and the ACT. Asked if he was disappointed on that front he told reporters: 'This is still a work in progress'. Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory had all suggested they would adopt the South Australian and NSW approach, Mr Hatzistergos said. Victorian Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu said the state risked becoming a hotbed for bikie crime if it refused to ban gangs. 'Rob Hulls has got this wrong, (Premier) John Brumby's got this wrong and they are exposing Victorians to the incredible risk of this state becoming the soft underbelly for crime,' he said. South Australian Premier Mike Rann agreed Victoria risked becoming a safe haven for bikie gangs 'just because they are concerned about the civil liberties of crime gangs'.