Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says criticism of the state’s tough anti-bikie laws by a prominent barrister is politically motivated.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has dismissed criticism of harsh anti-bikie laws by a prominent barrister describing him as a “Labor lawyer”.
Stephen Keim, SC, has told a lawyers’ conference that provisions in the Vicious Lawless Disestablishment Act, banning gatherings of three or more bikies, breach human rights.
The barrister was also recently stripped of government work for criticising Queensland’s sex offender laws.
But Mr Newman said Mr Keim appeared to have political motivations.
“Mr Keim is a Labor lawyer. A Labor Party member in the past, if not today,” he told reporters.
“Of course he’d say that.”
The premier also downplayed a successful Greens Senate motion which condemned Mr Newman for describing defence lawyers for bikies as “hired guns” and part of the “criminal gang machine” who sell drugs to teenagers and young people.
“The Labor Party and the Greens? C’mon,” the premier said.
The Queensland Law Society, Bar Association of Queensland, Australian Lawyers Alliance and barristers have publicly condemned Mr Newman’s comments on bikie lawyers.
But the premier was unrepentant when asked about that criticism.
“There are many members of the legal profession who support these laws unequivocally,” he said without naming them.
Mr Keim told an Australian Lawyers Alliance conference on Friday he had been stripped of government work for criticising sex offender laws.
He had been asked late last year to represent the crown in an administrative law matter involving a Brisbane pub.
But a spokesman for Mr Newman contacted AAP on Sunday to repeat the denial the government had issued last week, arguing they considered Roger Traves QC to be better placed to handle the brief than Mr Keim.