Daily Life, Reflections

Keeping Sydney Open

I’m going to start this post with a disclaimer: besides one night every 18 months or so when I feel ‘the spirit’, my partying days are over. A big night for me means going to the movies. (I’m even on an alcohol free stint at the moment.) That doesn’t mean I’m happy to see what is going on in Sydney at the moment.

Frankly, it is a sad state of affairs. Added to the closure of iconic venues and loss of jobs, are recent allegations about the Thomas Kelly Foundation (set up after Thomas Kelly died in a one punch attack in the cross). Ralph Kelly his father, apparently pulled a $125k salary last year from the foundation. He is alleged to be lobbying on behalf of the casino.

Yesterday, 15, 000 people marched in Sydney to call for the end to lock out laws. (We would have been there too had the Ginger Hunk been mobile.)

The current lock out laws as they stand courtesy of the NSW Government Website are detailed below. 

Lock outs and last drinks: 1.30am lockouts and 3am last drinks at hotels, registered clubs, nightclubs and licensed karaoke bars. Small bars (maximum 60 people), most restaurants and tourism accommodation establishments are exempt. Venues currently licensed to stay open after 3am can do so without alcohol service.

Temporary bans: of 48 hours for troublemakers.

Takeaway alcohol sales: stop at 10pm for bottle shops, hotels and clubs. This law is NSW-wide.

Liquor licenses: two-year freeze on approvals for new and existing licenses.

Revoking of Competency cards and disqualifications: (up to 12 months) for bar staff breaching responsible service of alcohol requirements

Licensee fines: of up to $11,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 12 months, as well as strikes under the Government’s Three Strikes disciplinary scheme for failure to comply with the new laws.

This is why I think we need to Keep Sydney Open.

(In fact, I’d like to keep it open and make it better.) 

We are a global city, and we are missing out. 

Let me backtrack a couple of years ago to when I was in New York. I went out on a Wednesday night, and had one of the best nights of my life. Dinner in the meatpacking district, cocktails, and onto a club, (which did not get kicking until 1am, I might add.) The next night we went to Karaoke (the cool kind), bar hopping after that, and so on. The opportunities mid week of what to do were endless. For a variety of nightlife, not just clubbing. I’d like a city where I can go out and see live music, go out to dinner, go to a small bar, or dance the night away, should I wish, any night of the week. Our city is full of tourists, artists, creative folk, who are not in the day to day grind that would benefit.

This has nothing to do with violence on the street.

Violent, bogan behaviour and inappropriate alcohol use, starts at home. (Not on the street.) 

The lock out laws are being tagged onto the  ‘alcohol and drug fuelled violence’ initiative as a result of a couple of deaths in Kings Cross caused by idiot thugs. By stopping people drinking past a certain time, or locking them out of a nightclub, this is meant to stop the violent undercurrent in our culture? Personally, I think violence and attitudes towards alcohol starts at home, and is a wider societal issue that needs addressing.

Let’s take a look at our domestic violence statistics as a side-show. Some facts from Domestic Violence Australia.

The vast majority of dangerous, abusive and violent behavior that occurs in the privacy of people’s homes is committed by men against women. Just under half a million Australian women reported that they had experienced physical or sexual violence or sexual assault in the past 12 months.  

That is right. Half a million women. What are we doing about this? Locking men away from women? Screening all men for abusive tendencies?

I’d like to see violence addressed as a whole. I would like to see a less restrictive approach to alcohol in parenting. Do it like the french do. Have a wine at dinner. Teach alcohol as something that can be enjoyed, not abused. Less chance then that your kids will turn 18, and go out and get annihilated.  Teach them to be respectful. Teach boys to be respectful. To themselves, women, strangers and their peers.

We are adults. 

Whether I am 18, or 35,  or 55, it is my right to do what I please within the law. I trust that my instinct, upbringing, age and wisdom will guide me in how I should behave on a night out, how much I want to drink, and how late I want to stay out. If I am an idiot and break the law, then arrest me please. But do not take away the rights of everyone else. If I want to buy a drink past 10pm, go to a club past 1.30am, or god forbid, have a champagne picnic in the park with my husband in our local park (where I am told I will get fined, $2,200 by the council if I do), then it is my choice, and my right.

Find out more at Keep Sydney Open.

What are your views about lock out laws?

Do you wish you could have champagne in your local park by the lake?

Are we a nanny state?

Ashleigh XXXX

*****Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT*****

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