Queensland unions say they have “not given one cent” to a High Court challenge to the state’s anti-bikie laws.
Queensland unions are fuming over accusations they’re bankrolling bikie gangs, saying the government’s blanket claims are nonsense.
The state government on Tuesday launched an attack on unions and said members should be outraged their dues were being used to fund a High Court challenge to the government’s anti-bikie laws.
The attack came after it was revealed the Maritime Union of Australia gave $5000 to the United Motorcycle Council’s fighting fund against the anti-bikie laws.
The MUA is the only union that has contributed to the fund, and says it polled members on the move beforehand.
Unions are furious about the government’s broad accusations, and Electrical Trades Union state secretary Peter Simpson says they’re nonsense.
“Our union has not given one cent to the campaign,” he told AAP.
“For them to come out and say we are defending criminals is outrageous.”
The Queensland Council of Unions said they were considering mounting their own legal challenge to new licensing laws specifically, not funding the bikie challenge.
President John Battams claimed the licensing laws allow the government to deregister workers if they were proven to have links to criminal gangs.
“We think they are absolutely over the top. They would compel some workers to be deregistered even if they have no criminal record,” he told AAP.
Mr Battams wasn’t surprised the state government had been making “hysterical” claims against unions.
“They always attempt to stigmatise and label anyone who goes against what they do,” he told AAP.
“All we are doing in this is protecting the rights of ordinary workers.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said union members should be disturbed and outraged their money was being used to fund the High Court challenge.
“It’s quite odd that unions would bankroll criminal gang members,” he told reporters.
“I think this question really needs to be asked of the union members … are they happy with their money being spent to bankroll funding of criminal gangs for challenges in the High Court?”
Premier Campbell Newman said union dues were being used to “literally run criminal defence, run campaigns for criminal organisations”.