The Electrical Trades Union has become the first union charged under Queensland’s new disclosure laws.

Queensland unions say the Newman government is investigating their expenditure like the Gestapo.

The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) has become the first union charged under new disclosure laws.

It appeared in a Brisbane court on Thursday accused of seven breaches, with a hearing set for May 26.

While the Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) didn’t want to comment on the case specifically, president John Battams says government investigators are regularly examining newspapers and billboards for signs of breaches.

“They are keeping tabs on unions in a Gestapo Nazi way to try to figure out how much they are spending on various campaigns,” Mr Battams told AAP.

“I think what happens, when you have bad laws passed, is people have no option but to carry out some sort of civil disobedience.

“In a democratic society there should be no constraints on a union’s ability to campaign for its members.”

The QCU has launched a High Court challenge against the laws, which it says are unconstitutional and gag free speech.

Premier Campbell Newman is unapologetic for pursuing unions, saying hard-working members should know where their dollars go.

“You can find out how people are paid in major companies these days, why should unions be operating under a veil of secrecy?” he said.

The ETU would not comment while the matter was before the court.