If you care about Newcastle’s nightlife you should read this

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.

Written by Newcastle Live

If it’s on in Newcastle, it’s on Newcastle Live

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  1. What a great letter. I do not go out much at night but I would like to think I had a choice to do so . it is not right that any have to suffer for the bad behaviour of a few.

  2. Totally agree with Adz’s comments.
    Everyone deserves the right to go out & enjoy their evening. Most are responsible adults, but yet again it is a small minority who spoil it for the majority of well behaved patrons.
    Cities all over the world have venues
    open into the wee small hours & yet the “powers that be” in Newcastle are intent on treating us like children.

  3. Because I drive in a careful and considerate manner we should not have road rules because everyone else will also behave on the road in the same way as I do. That is the same level of logic as in Adz’s letter.

    • Here is the irony of your comment and a reflection of the abject hypocrisy of 1 of the loudest voices behind the lockout laws, preventable medical negligence in the NSW hospital system alone kills in excess of 13000 people every yr. Hunter New England Health has the worst record for medical negligence in the state with compensation payments costing the state of NSW many tens of millions of dollars every yr.

      While for the vast majority of those deaths, the doctors involved should be charged with criminally negligent manslaughter (because this is not the first time the negligent quality of their care has caused the death of a patient) the reality is those and the vast majority of negligent doctors in the health system, unlike coward punch offenders, are never ever held to account for what can be in many cases the catastrophic harm their (just like coward punch offenders) pride and sense of entitlement is causing.

      Funny how for 1 group of people (doctors) the thousands they knowingly kill every year can be overlooked because the view of our pollies is that “whats a few thousand deaths when they help millions” but for the rest of us the rule is 1 death is 1 death too many, resulting in highly punitive & draconian measures to stop what is seen as an unnecessary and often premature loss of life.

      I agree we have laws for a reason if we’re going to enforce them as you argue we should then lets enforce them equally for everyone and not give some, because of their position in society, a free ride for the carnage they cause while on the other impose highly punitive & draconian measures on the masses because 1 arsehole decides to do what arseholes do.

  4. Playing in a band means I get to see the impact of these laws. Patrons have dropped off as now it’s just easier and less hassle to stay home and drink there. All the mess caused by the light rail debacle hasn’t helped, nor the old age brigade moving into apartments and complaining about the noise. Relaxing the laws will help but I think there are a few other issues that also need to be addressed. Let’s hope it happens

  5. Why don’t we find the streets these councillors live on and each Saturday night have a peaceful but fun street party that starts at ten pm.
    They don’t change the laws because they are not effected by them. Let’s make it important to them.

  6. You have the good life be happy with what you’ve got, Drinks to a certain time, Dance all night, go home with your friends or your loved one have another Drink 🍷, hit the love sack go all night enjoy .
    It’s better then going out until some idiot who as been Drinking or Getting off his or her face on Drugs late at night , waiting too Kick , Bash the living f. . K out the young and older responsible people.
    We all have grown up with some type of restrictions , if that’s all you and some are worrying about , Curtain times at your local watering hole .
    How Lucky are We

  7. That was well written. I’m in my 40’s and I still enjoy going out to see live music and what Newcastle’s night life has to offer. One other sad thing is about the people that choose to live in the city, whinge and complain about the nightlife. They CHOOSE to live there, not forced to so if they don’t like it they should consider moving. They should adapt to the city and the city SHOULDN’T have to adapt to them.

  8. I agree. It’s much easier to use lock out laws than spend time & resources punishing those that offend. I don’t think you can ever make everyone happy but the responsibility should be on the perpetrators not the whole community

  9. “Because I drive in a careful and considerate manner we should not have road rules because everyone else will also behave on the road in the same way as I do. That is the same level of logic as in Adz’s letter.”

    Well, because I drive in a dangerous and inconsiderate manner, absolutely everyone should be punished for my actions.
    That is the same level of logic as in the above letter.

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