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Qld independents flag bikie law concerns

AAP logoAAP 28/08/2016 Jamie McKinnell

Two key independent Queensland MPs have raised concerns about Labor's new anti-gang legislation in the lead up to its introduction into the state's hung parliament.

Speaker Peter Wellington and Cairns MP Rob Pyne are eagerly awaiting a briefing from Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath this week, with the government cautiously releasing only part of its plan so far.

The government's suite of changes, which will replace the Liberal National Party's (LNP) anti-bikie laws, will include a NSW-style consorting offence in line with the recommendations of a taskforce that reviewed existing legal frameworks.

For Mr Wellington, the lack of commentary around freedom of association was an issue.

"The government hasn't spoken about that so I'm keen to see the government's response, the basic freedom of Queenslanders to meet and gather," he said.

Asked whether it could be a deal-breaker for him, he replied: "I've campaigned very strongly about that."

Mr Pyne echoed Mr Wellington's comments.

"I'm really concerned with the lack of focus on individual rights and civil liberties," he said.

The Cairns MP also questioned the government's justification for a total ban on bikie club colours being worn in public - that it is an instrument for intimidation.

"All different sorts people are intimidated by all variety of things," he said.

"I don't know if you can legislate on such subjective grounds and it certainly does concern me." But Mr Pyne didn't rule out supporting the legislation, which will be introduced into parliament in two weeks, and said he would be closely examining the taskforce's report in the lead up to his vote.

"If the legislation before the House actually pushes us too far away from individual rights and civil liberties, I'll ... oppose the legislation," he said.

Ms D'Ath will need to lobby crossbenchers for support over the next two weeks.

With government and opposition tied for numbers in parliament, the votes of Mr Wellington, Mr Pyne, fellow independent MP Billy Gordon and the Katter's Australian Party could be the difference between the bill's success or failure.

The LNP has already criticised Labor's intention to change its laws, warning any weakening would pave the way for a rise in crime rates.

Leader Tim Nicholls again pointed to a 12 per cent decline in crime rates under his party's laws as proof of their effectiveness.

"It seems that Annastacia Palaszczuk and this Labor government are only interested in the clothes that the bikies wear, not in the crimes that they commit," he said.

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