Bikies to Challenge Laws in Australian High Court
SYDNEY — Bikie clubs are preparing to launch a challenge in the High Court against Queensland’s anti-gang laws, saying that they have no choice but to fight back.
Clubs and motorcycle enthusiasts around the world are assembling a half-a-million-dollar fund to support the challenge. Other supporters have offered to open up their homes or provide holidays overseas so bikies can ride out the new laws, reported AAP.
The challenge, led by Zeke Bentley of Brisbane-based Irish Bentley Lawyers and joined by Sydney barrister Wayne Baffsky, will argue the laws violate civil liberties enshrined in the Australian constitution and erode the separation of powers.
Mr Bentley says the laws can jail any individuals indefinitely for refusing to answer police questions, and prevent individuals from working in certain industries, such as construction and security. He also says the laws empower political interference into the administration of criminal justice and can be used quite broadly.
“They apply to any group the Government of the day decides to classify as unlawful, and they apply to innocent people who meet a member of an unlawful group socially,” he said.
United Motorcycle Council of Queensland spokesman and Rebels veteran Mick Kosenko says Queenslanders should support the challenge in the High Court as the laws have potential to impact broadly on all Queenslanders.
“The laws don’t state motorcycle clubs – they state people – and every Queenslander is a person,” Mr Kosenko said.
He also says they’ve asked about 3000 Rebels members in 21 countries to contribute to the fund.
“It’s almost like a Eureka Stockade feeling – we’re the underdogs,” he told AAP.
However, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says law-abiding motorcycle enthusiasts do not need to be concerned about the new laws, at a press conference on Dec 1.
“These laws are against criminal gangs. Gangs that manufacture drugs and sell them to kids. Gangs that result in a whole lot of misery in our society,” Premier Newman said.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie further insists that the laws target only criminal motorcycle gangs, the groups that are linked to murder, rape, extortion and drug trafficking.
He says the Queensland Government is prepared for the High Court challenge. “We always expected a challenge and we are ready to fight back,” Mr Bleijie said.