A High Court challenge to the Queensland government’s ‘anti-bikie’ laws wrapped up last week and the verdict, which is not expected for several weeks, will have national consequences.
Hells Angels member Stefan Kuczborski has been the face of the legal challenge, with the United Motorcycle Council of Queensland backing the appeal on behalf of 17 biker clubs.
UMCQ spokesman Mick Kosenko said they are fighting for the right of freedom to associate and that the laws pose a threat to everyone.
“It affects every Queenslander… there’s nowhere in the laws that mentions anything about motorcycle clubs—it can be a group, it can be an organisation, or any three people who associate in Queensland,” he said.
Under the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act, gatherings of three or more people of an organisation can be charged, and the onus is on them to prove their group has no criminal intent.
Those prosecuted under the act also face an additional mandatory sentence of up to 25 years if convicted.
Mr Kosenko said the laws give undue power to the State Government to determine the criminality of selected organisations and their participants.
“They [Newman Government] have taken so much power away from the courts, they’ve almost made themselves lawyers, police and judges,” he said.
If the state’s VLAD laws are upheld, they are likely to be adopted by governments across the country.
Solicitor-generals for Queensland, the Commonwealth, NSW, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory all argued in support of the laws and their validity.
“I think it’s sad that Australia’s freedom has been put in the hands of motorcycle clubs… we’re fighting for every Queenslander and I don’t think every Queenslander realises that,” Mr Kosenko said.
“If we win, it’s a bunch of bikers from Queensland that will have changed Australia’s history—we’ll have set a precedent.”