Unions fund bikies High Court challenge against the Newman Government's anti-gang laws
- The Courier-Mail
- January 21, 2014
The Maritime Union of Australia and a group aligning itself with the Electrical Trades Union have given $5000 and $10,000 to the United Motorcycle Council's fighting fund, The Courier-Mail reports.
MUA state secretary Mick Carr told the paper the donation was made to help bring down laws that are not restricted to bikies.
Premier Campbell Newman said union members would be rightly upset by the revelation.
"I think many hard working union members would be unhappy about their money being used to bankroll criminals,'' he wrote on Twitter.
Acting Attorney-General David Crisafulli has also attacked the move.
"While the unions support criminal gangs, we'll continue to stand up for innocent Queenslanders who have had enough of these gangs and the huge list of crimes they commit,'' Mr Crisafulli told the news paper.
The UMC has announced it will launch a High Court challenge to the bikie laws.
The Queensland Council of Unions is also considering it's own action against the laws, saying they infringe on the work rights of members linked to bikie gangs.
The bikie laws include additional jail terms for gang members who are convicted of serious crimes, and also restrict their ability to gather in public.
They also ban people with gang links from working in certain industries.
Earlier, The Courier-Mail reported unions are helping bankroll the bikies' High Court fight against a common foe - the Newman Government and its anti-gang laws.
The Maritime Union of Australia and a group aligning itself with the Electrical Trades Union have donated thousands of dollars to the United Motorcycle Council fighting fund.
The MUA, which gave $5000, and a group calling itself the "ETU Boys", which gave $10,000, are among prominent donors to a UMC war chest currently swelling by about $100,000 a month.
The national arm of the Bandidos has also been forced to give $35,000 by other clubs who blamed its members for provoking the war on bikie gangs.
The Queensland Council of Unions will today consider separate legal action against laws which it considers may infringe the work rights of members linked to bikie gangs.
The ETU has already flagged its own High Court challenge of the "disgraceful" laws on behalf of members who face being stripped of trade licences despite quitting clubs.
Acting Attorney-General David Crisafulli said union members would "rightly question why their fees are bankrolling a group that includes gangs notorious for intimidation, drugs and violence".
"While the unions support criminal gangs, we'll continue to stand up for innocent Queenslanders who have had enough of these gangs," he said.
MUA state secretary Mick Carr said the union made its donation despite uncertainty about whether the new laws would target its members.
"The whole thing about the anti-association laws is they don't even mention bikies, it could be anybody … it could be me and (ETU state secretary) Peter Simpson having a beer somewhere."
Mr Simpson said the ETU had given "not one cent" to the UMC fund because "we've got our own fights to have".
The Bandidos' clashes with Finks associates and police on the Gold Coast were triggers for the crackdown.
A bikie leader said the Bandidos in Melbourne had stumped up on behalf of local members who had mostly either quit the club or were kicked out.
"The clubs said no one's chucking in nothing until the Bandidos throw in first because we're defending them," he said.
"They realised that everyone was dirty on them and they've said they're going to get on board ... then we took it one step further and said, talk's cheap, we're not chucking in a cent until youse chuck in first. So they did.
"It's just ridiculous what they've done; everyone knows that, even their own members know that.
That's what got us all tarred with the same brush."
Mr Crisafulli said the Labor Party needed to "decide whose side it's on: Queenslanders or the gangs".
"(Opposition leader) Annastacia Palaszczuk supported our laws in Parliament then got cold feet and … now her union mates are funding a group that includes criminal gangs," he said.
The UMC, chaired by senior Hells Angel Mark Nelms, represents clubs (bar the Bandidos) deemed criminal organisations.