Wellington accused of using Yandina Five as 'opportunity'
UPDATE: Former Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has accused Speaker Peter Wellington of using the Yandina Five as a 'political opportunity' to attack the Newman government, despite being warned of serious drug dealing concerns.
Mr Bleijie said he did not accept claims by Mr Wellington that he was merely helping Mike Smith, who was convicted of drug dealing on Friday, after just having a beer in the pub with his son in law.
The Yandina Five, who later became the Yandina Seven, were used as prime example of the 'draconian' nature of Queensland's anti-bikie laws.
The Member for Kawana said Mr Wellington had been warned in Parliament by both himself and former Premier Campbell Newman about Mr Smith's criminal reputation.
He said Mr Wellington continued to 'sympathise with criminal gang members' despite their convictions being outlined in Parliament via a Supreme Court judge.
"This guy was charged with drug traffic offences which was not under the VLAD (anti-bikie) laws,'' Mr Bleijie said.
Mr Bleijie said Mr Wellington voted for Queensland's Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act (VLAD).
"He voted for the laws and then saw it as a political opportunity to attack the former government,'' Mr Bleijie said.
Mr Bleijie said despite warnings about Mr Smith, Mr Wellington was happy for him to hand out how to vote cards with a Peter Wellington t-shirt on during the last election.
The Sunshine Coast Daily is seeking comment from Mr Wellington.
Wellington 'should resign' over drug-dealing bikie
SUNSHINE Coast MP Peter Wellington has defended his crusade against Queensland's anti-bikie laws and his support for a former bikie convicted of serious drug offences.
Former Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie have seized on a weekend News Corp front page highlighting Mr Wellington's support for Mike Smith, who was jailed for nearly eight years on Friday.
Mr Smith was arrested under Queensland's Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act (VLAD) laws.
Mr Newman tweeted on the weekend that Mr Wellington was warned "about these people" and should resign.
The former Premier told the ABC Mr Wellington should no longer vote in Queensland Parliament on the VLAD or any anti-association laws.
"Premier [Annastacia Palaszczuk] cannot accept his [Mr Wellington's] vote - it's a massive conflict of interest," Mr Newman said.
He said Mr Wellington had been found to have worked with people who had now been convicted of very serious drug offences.
"The laws have been upheld by the highest court in the land - there is no need for Premier Palaszczuk to muck around with these laws, particularly if it involves the tainted vote of Mr Peter Wellington who has stood alongside convicted drug dealers."
"Frankly it's a very bad look - it's such a bad look that really his position as Speaker of the Queensland Parliament is now untenable - he should resign," he said.
Mr Newman said Mr Wellington was warned in 2014 by him and then-attorney-general Jarrod Bleijie that he should stop associating himself with criminals.
"People who were members of criminal gangs and produced ice, and sold that product to the community," Mr Newman said.
Mr Bleijie also took to social media to highlight the issue.
"With Palaszczuk holding power with the support of Peter Wellingon, and Peter Wellington being supported by drug trafficker Michael Smith, it is no wonder that Labor wants to water down the criminal gang laws.
"In light of Michael Smiths drug trafficking conviction yesterday, Peter Wellington should reconsider his opposition to the criminal gang laws and ensure Palaszczuk does not weaken them.
"We must do all we can to keep criminal gangs and the drugs they manufacture and traffic out of Queensland."
Mr Wellington wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday that he had been approached by Mr Smith because he was his local MP and a lawyer.
"The LNP's attack dog the Courier Mail is trying to justify the retention of the draconian VLAD laws by featuring Mike Smith and myself on the front page with the inference I support criminals,'' Mr Wellington wrote.
"Mike Smith came to see me when his son and son-in-law were arrested by police after having a beer in the Yandina Pub. He was in a distressed state and told me he had no criminal convictions.
"As his Member of Parliament and as a former policeman and solicitor, I was disgusted that five men having a drink in a pub could be thrown in jail without being convicted and forced to wear pink jump suits.
"Innocent until proven guilty is the cornerstone of our justice system and this right was removed by the former LNP Government led by its Attorney General Jarrod Bleijie.
"Criminals whether bikies, murderers, fraudsters or corrupt politicians should face the full force of the law and all be equal before the law. And, Queensland already had existing laws to deal with all of these crimes."
"The VLAD laws were shown to be an overreaction by the LNP who with their huge majority sacked thousands and picked fights with anyone who dared to question their decisions.
"They were so arrogant they brought in laws that took away our civil liberties, we were no longer innocent until proven guilty and the right to a fair trial was removed.
"No longer could a person have their charges tested in a Court of Law before being sent to jail.
It was madness by a Government drunk with power.
"I am pleased that my involvement in highlighting this abuse of power caused by these laws has resulted in this review.
The review of the VLAD laws will be considered by Cabinet on Monday.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Cabinet would be carefully considering the review's recommendations.
But she dismissed Mr Newman's comments as those of a former Premier voted out by the people of Queensland.