Don’t hold your breath for an overhaul of Sydney’s lockout laws while Mike Baird is in office.
The NSW Premier has gone on a lengthy Facebook tirade, talking up how good the restrictive measures are, in response to what he calls the “growing hysteria this week about nightlife in Sydney”.
Presumably in response to a highly-shared and frankly ass-whooping opinion piece penned by leading business figure Matt Barrie, which systematically assesses all of the damage done by the lockout laws and examines the potentially corrupt and religiously motivated rationales behind them, Baird has offered his own statement in defence of the polarising legislation.
In an illuminating rant – which refers to the government’s successful elimination of “drinking ghettos” (wtf? is he referring to Kings Cross?), uses the same moral panic-inducing rhetoric of drunken violence “spiralling out of control” and people “literally being punched to death in the city” that was used by politicians and the mainstream media to whip up hysteria about one-punch assaults and pave way for lockouts in the first place, and which barely conceals his contempt for citizens who believe that their right to freedom is more important than an illusory feeling of safety from the boogeyman – Mike Baird has proudly proclaimed his endorsement of the nanny state and shown us that he has zero intention of altering the state’s lockout laws any time soon.
“The main complaints seem to be that you can’t drink till dawn any more and you can’t impulse-buy a bottle of white after 10pm,” he says, with almost mind-numbing patronisation. “I understand that this presents an inconvenience.”
“Some say this makes us an international embarrassment,” he continues. “Except, assaults are down by 42.2 per cent. And there is nothing embarrassing about that.”
What Baird fails to point out however, is that this statistic is compared to foot traffic plummeting by up to 80% in parts of the lockout zones, which potentially equates to an increase in assaults per capita.
Baird’s statement also comes as yet another beloved Sydney venue announces its impending closure, just like countless others since the lockouts were introduced including this one, this one, this one, this one, this one and this one .
However, the Premier also claims that “the number of small bars in Sydney has more than doubled in the same time period”.
We haven’t seen any reports on this but we’d certainly love to.
“Over the coming months a detailed review into the effects of the lock-out laws will be undertaken,” Baird goes on. “I await this work with interest. But as I’ve said before, it is going to take a lot for me to change my mind on a policy that is so clearly improving this city.”
Translation: abandon all hope for any meaningful change.
Check out Mike Baird’s full statement below, read Matt Barrie’s essay about the lockout laws here, or you can email the Premier directly and have your say about the legislation right here.
UPDATE: Artists, punters and industry figures have responded en mass to Mike Baird’s justification of the lockout laws.