O'Farrell defends new booze rules
NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell answers questions regarding new legislation that aims to reduce the alcohol fuelled-violence in Sydney. Nine News.PT2M25S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-317nm 620 349 January 22, 2014
Young partygoers have ridiculed the NSW government's raft of measures to tackle alcohol-related violence, accusing Premier Barry O'Farrell of killing the city's nightlife and vowing to post petitions on the doors of nightclubs.
Mr O'Farrell also faced a fierce backlash on social media over the reforms.
Social media backlash: Barry O'Farrell.
Andrew Levins, DJ and owner of The Dip restaurant at the late-trading Goodgod nightclub, which will be subjected to 1.30am lockouts and 3am last drinks, joked on Twitter that the state government should have spent money on a "don't be a f---wit campaign" to address men's behaviour rather than impose draconian rules on revellers.
Two petitions campaigning against the lockouts and last drinks cut-off collected thousands of signatures within hours on Tuesday afternoon.
Both petitions said the trial would affect thousands of "innocent individuals" who work in hospitality, including club owners, tour promoters, DJs and bar staff.
Andrew Levins: DJ and owner of The Dip restaurant at late-trading Goodgod nightclub. Photo: Steven Siewert
"These measures unfairly penalise venues and not the individuals inflicting violence on innocent revellers," video jockey Grant Muir posted in an online petition.
Music promoter, DJ and Kings Cross resident Sasha Skalrud said the new restrictions would lead to a proliferation of illegal warehouse parties.
"Illegal parties will start happening by the handful. Underage kids will attend these parties because there won't be anyone there to stop them. These parties won't have RSA [responsible service of alcohol] Marshalls [sic] and bar staff who'll be able to cut off their alcohol supply once they become intoxicated," he wrote on dance website inthemix.com.au.
"There will be no police or security guards to stop the fights that will inevitably break out."
A 2000-strong Facebook group called Save Our Nightlife was distributing copies of the petitions to put on nightclub doors and was planning to spread flyers in Kings Cross and to organise a protest.
One member of the group, Chris Sinclair, posted: "RIP Sydney: 1788-2014".
Response to the laws was strong on social media.
" ... instead of punishing the venues punish the people [who] cause fights - so dumb," wrote Pete-Kid Finley on Mr O'Farrell's Facebook page, which has been flooded with hundreds of negative comments.
"Why are the many being punished for the sins of the few??," asked Michael Kucera.
Alan Hashem wrote that he had previously attended a venue with a 3am drinks ban, and the concept did not work.
"Quickly everyone, lets run to the bar and all buy as many drinks as we possibly can!! Oh wait now the place is closing soon so lets finish these drinks and all head out onto the streets with everyone else that has probably done the same thing. Yep see that working," he wrote.
The new policy specifies that venues can remain open after 3am, but cannot serve drinks. But some questioned why a venue would choose to remain open after 3am if it was not making money over the bar.
Others said the livelihoods of many were threatened by the new laws.
Franco Costa wrote: "These lockout and last drinks laws will be responsible for destroying the livelihoods of so many entertainment and hospitality workers, venue owners, promoters etc - and more importantly they are your own tax players. Perhaps taking the time to speak with people in the industry would have been the sensible thing to do. History will judge you harshly!!!.. from one of your previously fiercely loyal supporters!"
Holly Baker said: "People are fighting in the streets of Sydney on weekend nights.. So lets lock them all out at the same time with no transport, and all more than likely intoxicated. Logic/10."
While the vast majority of responses on the Premier's Facebook page were negative, some people, such as Leanne Cork, applauded Mr O'Farrell's actions.
"Wonderful, I cannot understand these people who are so against it," she wrote.
"Why do people want to get drunk, be abusive, fight, stay in bars until 3am. morons without a life who want to ruin other peoples should be locked up. Decent people should be able to go out and enjoy themselves without fear."
Another person, who named himself Todd Not-so Suttle, said he had worked in security and as a responsible service of alcohol marshal on the central coast, where similar curfews were in operation. He believed they worked.
"I have first hand seen a reduction in alcohol fuelled issues since its introduction," he wrote.
"A lot of people end up heading to the cross in the early hours of the morning after being out on 'on the piss' all evening. It's almost a right of passage for most. By introducing a 1.30am lockout you're going to stop these highly intoxicated patrons from bothering to trek there in the first place. Thus solving a large percentage of alcohol related issues."