As the iconic Sydney suburb of Kings Cross wheezes like an emphysemic mule in a tragic attempt to not die, more and more politicians seem to be realising that perhaps the city’s lockout laws weren’t the best idea.
The latest polly to speak out against nanny statesman Barry O’Farrell’s attempt to turn post-1.30am Sydney into a zombie ghost town is Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm, who’s penned an op-ed for The Daily Tele absolutely ripping the lockout laws a new one.
Much like ridding your nan’s granny flat of a cockroach infestation by BLOWING UP THE WHOLE PLACE WITH YOUR NAN STILL INSIDE, the lockout laws, which were instituted to wipe out alcohol-fuelled violence last February, have also been wiping out venues, businesses, jobs, pedestrians, culture and nightlife with reckless abandon, as well as causing a host of other headaches, and Leyonhjelm says it’s disgusting.
“We should all be disgusted about what is happening in Kings Cross these days,” he writes. “I’m not talking about drunken louts. Being shocked by people behaving badly in Kings Cross is like being shocked at Range Rovers in Mosman or sheep near Boorowa.”
Leyonhjelm, who is currently spearheading a Senate inquiry into the laws mentions the closure of venues like Hugos Lounge and The Exchange Hotel as evidence that the laws are doing more harm than good.
“Countless thousands have visited Kings Cross over the years without harming anybody, or inflicting anything on themselves more serious than an empty wallet and a hangover,” he says. “Every major city in the world has a naughty area that acts like a safety valve.”
“The lockout laws, which require pubs to refuse to admit new customers from 1.30am and come with a raft of other rules, are public policy gone mad.”
He continues: “Already a third of the licensed venues in the area have closed and the rest are hanging on by a thread, hoping someone in the NSW government will see sense. And it’s not just the pubs, nightclubs and dens of iniquity that are suffering. Restaurants, shops and newsagents are also closing.”
And to drive the point home, he also takes a stealthy jab at some of his fellow pollies.
“…Some of the politicians who want to tell you how to live can barely manage their own lives,” (oh snap!) he shades. “Many had their rites of passage at the Cross but now want to deny others the same opportunity. Others just seem worried that somebody might be having a good time.
“Far more disgusting than what goes on at Kings Cross is people being thrown out of work by nanny-statists and politicians seeking to impose their hypocritical standards on us all.
“But there is something even bigger at stake than that: if the lockout laws effectively close down the Cross, there will be nowhere in Sydney, and perhaps not in Australia, where it’s OK to be naughty,” he concludes. “Part of the fabric of our city will be lost, and the fun police will have finally won the day.”
Testify, Leyonhjelm, testify.
Read his full statement here.
The good senator’s comments come hot on the heels of Greens MP Jenny Leong’s assertion that Sydney needs more venues, instead of more lockouts.
Meantime, 70 staff from the now defunct Hugos Lounge, who lost their jobs as a direct result of the laws, are currently preparing to launch a class action lawsuit against the NSW government.
Watch: Senator Leyonhjelm on the Nanny State Inquiry and Sydney’s Lockout Laws