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Let the bikie High Court battle begin, Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says

Let the bikie battle begin: Labor

Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says unions should be able to fund a bikie High Court challenge. Picture: Annette Dew Source: News Limited 


OPPOSITION leader Annastacia Palaszczuk has backed the right of unions to fund a High Court challenge against anti-gang laws.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie yesterday called on union members to speak up after revelations workers were footing the bill for the bikies' challenge.

The Maritime Union of Australia and a group aligning itself with the Electrical Trades Union have donated $5000 and $10,000 respectively to the United Motorcycle Council's fighting fund.

"That's a matter for that union but people have a right to appeal, they have a right to challenge," Ms Palaszczuk said of the donations.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie urged union members to speak up if they don't want to be involved in the bikie H...

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie urged union members to speak up if they don't want to be involved in the bikie High Court challenge. Picture: Tara Croser.

"We live in a democracy, we live in a place where if you don't like a particular law you have the right to challenge it."

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Mr Bleijie, however, described Ms Palaszczuk's comments as a "cop out".

"It's about time the Opposition Leader stood up and defended the laws that she and the Labor Party supported in Parliament," he said.

"It's a complete cop out for the Opposition Leader to say it's a matter for the unions where they spend money."

Mr Bleijie said members should speak up if they did not want their "hard-earned money" bankrolling a bikie-led High Court challenge.

The leaders of at least half a dozen Queensland unions yesterday met to discuss seeking legal advice on their own, separate High Court challenge to new laws aimed at weeding bikie members and associates out of industries including the construction industry.

Queensland Council of Unions president John Battams said they expected to receive that advice within a month.

"We have decided to explore legal advice in how a High Court challenge might proceed, because potentially this legislation could affect every occupation that requires registration in Queensland," Mr Battams said.

"If applied more widely, this could include teachers, radiographers, doctors, nurses - everyone who requires state registration or licensing to work."

He said the QCU was seeking a meeting to discuss the "unforeseen impacts of these laws on workers' rights" and a possible review of the legislation.

Mr Bleijie, however, said the new licensing regime was not targeting union members.

"What we are targeting are criminal gang members or their associates," he said.