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
He says about $50,000 has been raised but that more will
"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
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
In 2011, he led the successful High Court challenge to a
New South Wales Government law that criminalised the Hells Angels Motorcycle
"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
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
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.