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Bikers council to challenge new laws -

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Reporter: John Stewart

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Bikie gangs in NSW have formed a bikers' council to challenge new laws
which make it illegal for them to associate with each other.

The anti-bikie legislation passed through NSW Parliament earlier this month. Critics say the laws
have been rushed through and might not withstand a legal challenge. John Stewart reports.

JOHN STEWART, REPORTER: After last month's very public bikie brawl at Sydney Airport, bikie leaders
have kept a low profile. But this weekend, club presidents will meet in Sydney to form a NSW
bikers' council. They've employed a barrister to fight laws designed to gaol bikies for meeting
with each other.

GEOFFREY NICHOLSON, BARRISTER: I think it's anti-civil libertarian. It takes away the right of free
speech. It takes away the right of lawful assembly for a lawful purpose without conviction on
secret information.

JOHN STEWART: When the bikie leaders gathered a few weeks ago at this hotel, police broke up their
meeting and arrested three people.

This weekend, police seem more willing to allow the bikies to meet.

MAL LANYON, GANG SQUAD: At this stage, we don't know enough about the purpose of the meeting to say
whether it's a constructive step. What I'd say to you is that we would encourage any talks that
increase public safety and reduce violence. We'll certainly monitor the meeting.

JOHN STEWART: In NSW, more than 50 bikies have been arrested in the past few weeks, but police are
yet to lay any charges under the new legislation.

Critics say the new laws were drafted too fast as state politicians scrambled to deal with the
surge in bikie violence and intense media coverage.

MARK FINDLAY. SYDNEY UNIVERSITY: In NSW, the drafting has been shabby. The possibility of them
being challenged is out there; in fact some of my criminal law students, undergraduate students,
could challenge those laws fairly effectively because of the holes that are there.

PAUL WILSON, CRIMINOLOGIST: We've had incidents of violence which are completely unacceptable.
No-one doubts that. But I think you've also seen some of the biker groups themself, the more
responsible ones, trying to get together to form coalitions or groups where they ensure that these
things don't happen at all. We should encourage that sort of movement, rather than bringing in
repressive laws which will drive them underground.

JOHN STEWART: The bikers' council also wants to improve the image of bikie clubs. A public
relations consultant says they face many challenges.

ANTHONY MCCLELLAND, MEDIA MANAGER: Plus you've got the police on the other side who are very good
at getting their messages out and very good, in a sense, at demonising these groups, and some will
argue that they deserve it and some of us - obviously the bikies themselves - would argue that they
don't. So it's very much an uphill battle.

JOHN STEWART: The bikers' council is considering challenging the new police powers in the High
Court. John Stewart, Lateline.