Brisbane Rebels motorcycle club president Mick
Kosenko told Guardian Australia on Sunday that up to 15
Rebels chapters had donated money to the LNP “just to
prove the fact that they can’t prove where their funds
are coming from either”.
The contentious bikies issue has
resurfaced in the final week of the election campaign,
after Newman claimed Labor could not guarantee that
bikies had not funded the party via the Construction
Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU).
CFMEU national secretary Dave Noonan
rejected Newman’s “wild and bizarre allegations”, and
invited him to “follow up” on
claims a Hells Angel was used to
intimidate striking workers at a Brisbane
construction site run by an LNP donor.
continued its attack on Labor
on Sunday, releasing video of an Electrical Trades Union
(ETU) official at a political rally talking about links
Labor has vowed to repeal the LNP’s
criminal gang laws, which include bans on bikies working
in licensed trades including construction and the
Newman has told reporters to
“Google” links between the CFMEU,
a major Labor donor, and bikies, saying the onus was on
Labor to show its funds were clean and the union to open
However, Newman has cited allegations from senior Victorian police – that a senior official of the CFMEU was a bikie – which were withdrawn under cross-examination during the trade union royal commission last year.
Noonan challenged Newman to point out irregularities in the union’s finances, which he said were published and open.
“Of course he can’t, that’s why he hasn’t taken the matter to the police,” Noonan told Guardian Australia.
“For the record, we completely deny any of the wild and bizarre allegations Mr Newman has made.”
Noonan said one of the few known incidents involving bikies at Queensland worksites was the appearance of a Hells Angels member in colours, alongside employees of building company Grocon, during industrial action by CFMEU members in 2012.
Grocon, which according to donor records gave the LNP $11,600 in 2012, has rejected CFMEU’s version of the incident and denied any involvement of its employees with bikies.
However Noonan said the CFMEU continued to hold “grave concerns that Grocon management were involved with bringing that individual to the site to intimidate members”.
“Of course Grocon have since won major contracts with the Queensland government including for the Commonwealth Games,” he said.
“It would be good if Mr Newman could undertake to have a look at that issue.”
LNP state director Brad Henderson told the Courier-Mail that the party had received donations from only two bikies and both were refunded.
But Kosenko, clubmate Angelo Garozzo and former Outcasts member turned political candidate Russell Wattie all told Guardian Australia their donations had not been refunded.
The difficulty of political parties vetting donors is further underlined by the fact the LNP itself took a $3,000 donation from a convicted heroin trafficker at a 2011 fundraiser for Newman before his rise to state leader.
Kosenko said members of his Rebels chapter had been longtime LNP supporters and had previously donated to the party through their hydraulics and construction businesses.
“A lot of people in our club voted Liberal last election,” Kosenko said.
Kosenko declined to say how much he had personally donated but said it was under the threshold for anonymous donors of $12,800 – raised from $1,000 by the Newman government last year.
Labor campaign director Anthony Chisholm said on Sunday that Newman should withdraw TV adverts which link the party with criminal proceeds from bikies.
Chisholm said the ads were “misleading and exactly the same behaviour” Newman had accused Alan Jones of, before suing him for defamation over accusations about coal company donations to the LNP.
“When Mr Newman was asked yesterday to back up his claims, the best he could come up with was ‘Google it’,’’ he said.
“Queenslanders are seeing an increasingly desperate premier. Well, today is the day he needs to back it up with evidence.”
Newman’s top bureaucrat Jon Grayson, the director general of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, on Friday filed a separate defamation lawsuit against Jones and radio station 4BC.
In video released by the LNP, ETU state secretary Peter Simpson is heard telling a rally outside parliament: “I know some guys in motorcycle clubs, some of our guys have got good relationships with guys in motorcycle clubs.”
Simpson also refers to an industrial dispute involving the Maritime Union of Australia, during which “the bikies rode up … bringing wads of cash to support the guys on the picket line, I was there with them”.
“Some people are bit nervous of being associated with bikies, I’m proud to say [the ETU] aren’t,” Simpson says.
The video notes the ETU gave $206,374.50 to Labor last year. Comment is being sought from Newman’s office.