The Myth: The fascist Australian or Queensland government (depending which version you get) is planning on making people register their tattoos.

Reality: Neither the Australian Federal Government nor the Queensland State Government are currently considering forcing people to register their tattoos.

Why not?

Basically because they agree with the sentiments of all those doing the complaining – the idea is ridiculous.

So how did it start?

In the wake of the Queensland government’s controversial VLAD (Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment) laws (commonly known as ‘anti-bikie laws’), some people dragged out and started sharing articles such as this one about a proposal made in May 2013 by an MP from the Gold Coast named Ray Stevens.

Mr Stevens proposed that all Queenslanders with tattoos would have to register their tattoos with the state government. His theory being that it would stop criminal gangs using tattoo parlours to launder money by recording fake names.

Of course the civil libertarians were all over the idea as a gross invasion of privacy and everyone else with any concept of reality recognised that it was an absurd request to ask every resident of Queensland with a tattoo to register it with the government.

Nonetheless, despite the fact the idea was dismissed, the rumour continues to be given momentum thanks to social media’s ability to spread mass ignorance and the willingness of clickbait merchants such as this to fuel the fire.

What are the facts then?

After Mr Stevens proposed the idea the response he received from his fellow parliamentarians was “Thanks for the idea Ray but we’ll give it a miss”.

Futhermore, a petition was put to the Legislative Assembly in August 2013 seeking assurances that the Queensland government was not considering such a register. Attorney General Jarrod Bleije provided an official response to the petition organisers confirming that they had no cause for concern. You can even read that letter here.

When the Queensland state government decided to go to town on the criminal bikie gangs in late 2013, one of the pieces of legislation was the Tattoo Parlours Bill 2013 which was designed to achieve the same end as Mr Steven’s proposal – prevent criminal gangs from laundering money through tattoo parlours. However that legislation includes no mention of making people with tattoos register their ink with the government.

To the best of our knowledge and according to the archives, no such proposal has even received any mention in the halls of the federal government.

As with our other ‘Facebook Fixers’ our message is the same. Criticise where criticism is due but check your facts before getting on your high horse.

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