Recently a letter to the editor in a local paper by Adz Carter stated:
“I don’t see why hundreds upon hundreds of well-behaved patrons should have the hours they can enjoy themselves limited by the actions of the amount of idiots who would barely reach double figures.”
We can’t verify the “double figures” but the sentiment is the same.
Why are those who are entrusted with the decision to review Newcastle’s lock-out laws continuing this illogical argument and punishing the vast majority because of the actions of the relative few?
Why are they continuing to treat Newcastle’s population as children who need to be told when to go home to bed?
I am a citizen of Newcastle. I don’t consume much alcohol and I certainly don’t condone violence of any kind, verbal or physical. So why is it that I am being punished?
Nearly every Novocastrian could ask the same question.
The decisions made a decade ago have caused financial hardship, severely affected the live music industry, resulted in job losses, turned our once vibrant city into a ghost town at night, and decimated the night-time economy.
Those arguing for the lock-outs to be sustained continue to speak in half-truths. They say the lockouts, introduced in 2008, are responsible for a reduction in incidents of alcohol-related violence. The fact is that such incidents of violence actually rose in 2010. The truth is that when the venues themselves introduced ID scanning across their premises, and therefore true individual accountability, a sustained reduction of alcohol-related incidents actually began to occur.
The simple fact that an adult cannot purchase a cocktail after 10 pm in many venues throughout the 2nd largest city in NSW says much about the draconian nature of these laws and their inappropriateness in 2018.
Unfortunately, the impacts of these laws have much wider repercussions than cocktail-sipping for tens of thousands of people. The city’s amenity and countless lives have been affected.
Instead of putting resources behind efficiently timed transport and effective policing, the powers that be seem to think it is appropriate to limit the freedom of its citizens to the point where it is akin to playground punishment for infants-age schoolchildren. This is not democracy.
Most of us moved to the city for the things it offers that a country town or city suburb doesn’t. I have invested in this city, paid rates, employed people and buy most things here. And now I am having my liberty restricted because of . . . what?
The lock-outs and their associated restrictions are far from democratic. The many are being punished for the sins of a few because it is more convenient/easier than actually fixing the problems and punishing the actual individuals involved in wrongdoing. Just punish everyone! It’s easier.
These laws were recently reviewed and, it seems, those making the decisions can’t see any reason for changing them. Rather than really look at the full spectrum of issues here, it seems once again it is just easier to ignore the fact that we are adults living in a democracy who have a right to a safe and vibrant night out without being told when to go home to bed.
The majority of Novocastrians don’t condone violence or engage in it. The majority of us want to be able to go out, even late at night, and enjoy the diverse offerings a city should have. The majority of us aren’t the problem. Punish the very few that are, not the rest of us.
To even consider a continuation of these archaic laws is not justice, It is a lazy injustice that affects our freedoms as members of a democratic society. We pay our taxes to, in part, pay people in authority to enhance our lives, to protect us from harm and to ensure we have the services we want, not to take the lazy way out and burden us with onerous and ill-informed blanket restrictions that infringe upon our freedoms.
We are adults and please, after ten years in the play-pen, we’d like to be treated that way.