Work drinks a risky move under Qld bikie laws

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Work drinks a risky move under Qld bikie laws

Queensland unions are concerned the Newman Government’s new anti-bikie laws will mean workers across many industries could lose their jobs, simply ‘for having a couple of beers with workmates on a Friday afternoon’.

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Queensland unions are concerned the Newman Government’s new anti-bikie laws will mean workers across many industries could lose their jobs, simply ‘for having a couple of beers with workmates on a Friday afternoon’.

Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) President, John Battams said unions are concerned the Criminal Organisations Disruption (COD) legislation, which was introduced in October 2013, will give the government the ability to deregister workers, including electricians, plumbers and security guards, who simply know people with ties to outlaw motorcycle gangs.
 
‘They could do this simply if you had a beer on a couple of Friday afternoons with workmates who are considered by the government to be “prescribed persons”,’ he said.

‘You might not even know that they have been classified as a member or an associate of a prohibited organisation — but the government could simply remove your licence and you’d be out of work. Successfully appealing against such a decision will be very difficult.’
 
‘No union supports or condones criminal activity. Neither do unions support laws that are unfair to workers and put people’s livelihoods at risk.’

High Court challenge
 
Battams said the legislation could potentially affect every occupation that requires registration in Queensland, and that union, including the Electrical Trade Union are considering a High Court challenge.

‘If applied more widely, this could include teachers, radiographers, doctors, nurses — everyone who requires state registration or licensing to work,’ he said.

‘Workers in these professions could all be a risk through these laws targeting freedom of association.’

Battams said the QCU has written to the government seeking a meeting to discuss the unforeseen impacts of these laws on workers’ rights and a possible review of the legislation.
 
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