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Challenge to Qld anti-bikie laws to reach High Court within weeks

Updated 28 minutes ago

A lawyer working for Queensland's outlaw motorcycle clubs says he expects a High Court challenge to the state's anti-gang laws to start within the next fortnight.

Sydney barrister Wayne Baffsky says the case is being funded by the United Motorcycle Council of Queensland with donations from the public.

He says about $50,000 has been raised but that more will be needed.

"I would think at least $250,000," he said.

"I mean the work gets done regardless of whether you get paid or not but I would think over $250,000, probably closer to half a million."

There has been ongoing speculation about a challenge since the Queensland Government rushed the new laws through in October.

A relatively minor fight ... has resulted in some incredibly harsh laws.
Barrister Wayne Baffsky


Qld laws 'a step too far'

Mr Baffsky says he will argue the legislation is unconstitutional.

In 2011, he led the successful High Court challenge to a New South Wales Government law that criminalised the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.

"Too many people are suffering at the end of the day for laws that in my view and in many other people's view are unnecessary and brought in under a false premise," Mr Baffsky said.

The Queensland Government introduced the laws after a public brawl involving Bandido bikies on the Gold Coast, calling it a "line in the sand".

"A relatively minor fight ... has resulted in some incredibly harsh laws, yet there's been other people committing much more serious crimes who seem to have escaped the Government's attention," he said.

Under the new laws, the Government can declare any group a criminal organisation without having to present evidence to prove it.

Mr Baffsky says that is a step too far.

"The Government says that the police use them against inverted commas, bikies, but the laws themselves aren't written that way, they can be used against absolutely anybody," he said.

"We can see with them how these rights can affect other citizens as well if the Government chooses to use these Acts against other groups - for example the greens, or protestors or some other group that offends the government of the day's political sensibilities."

Queensland's anti-association laws criminalise all members and associates of 26 bikie clubs.

They have prompted a wave of police operations across the state.

International obligations considered

Three men accused of being bikies are awaiting trial in solitary confinement, charged for meeting their mates for a beer in a Sunshine Coast pub.

Mr Baffsky says he will argue the Queensland laws breach a range of important legal and constitutional principles.

"The grounds of appeal may involve freedom of association and freedom of speech, particularly the right to communicate on government political matters and the right to associate," he said.

"You can also assume that we will be challenging the laws based on our international obligations."

Mr Baffsky will argue that bikies, and anyone else who might be deemed a member of a criminal organisation, have had their political rights infringed by the laws.

His client in the High Court challenge will be a member of the Hells Angels who is yet to run foul of the laws.

The Newman Government has previously said it would vigorously defend any High Court challenge.