Join the rally on Sunday to Keep Sydney Open

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There has been increasing debate regarding the NSW State Government’s lockout laws over the past few days, since NSW Premier Mike Baird posted the below statement on Facebook. It was an insulting swipe at the people of Sydney, of whom he is supposed to be a representative. The response? Thousands upon thousands of impassioned, dissenting voices leading to a frenzied backlash across social media and in the mainstream press.

So overwhelming and growing has the discontent been at the incredibly negative impact these laws are having on Sydney, that a rally has been organised in the city this Sunday lunchtime, 21st February. Thousands of people are expected to attend.

We’ll be there on Sunday and we hope you will too. We asked some of our team to explain what the lockout laws mean to them and the reasons they will be adding their voice to the rally on Sunday.

Bobby Townsend (editor)
Things must look very different when you’re viewing them from your ivory tower. Claiming that the lockout laws are “improving the city” is an insulting and moronic statement, as the city we love is having its heart ripped out and while small businesses are systematically being destroyed. If Mike Baird really thinks it’s just about not being able to “drink till dawn” or “impulse-buy a bottle of white after 10pm” then he is incredibly out of touch and doesn’t deserve to represent the fine people of Sydney. Still, I’m sure his mates at the casino will sort him out with a cushy job after this has inevitably led to his political career dying a deserved death.

Sophie Metcalfe (photographer/reviewer)
Whilst I don’t live in Sydney anymore, I remember my many years being involved in the nightlife and music culture of Kings Cross. Whether it be a gig at FBi Social or my friend’s residency at World Bar – the funny thing about Kings Cross is that I always felt so safe there. It was grotty and smutty but buzzing and busy. In other words, it was a safety in numbers. Being a female in a dark quiet lane is not a good feeling. It’s unfortunate that we have to feel threatened by something so innocuous but that’s the situation. Not only this, we get told time and time again by society to avoid quiet streets and dark lanes at night. Sydney (from what I’ve read – I haven’t been there to experience it at hand) seems to be on the road to becoming one large dark laneway. But people still need to work, people still need to get to places at night, people still want to see live music, people still want to engage with the night. They also want to feel safe in their streets when going about their business and I think the lockout laws are creating the exact thing that they seemingly wanted to avoid. Unsafe nighttime environments. Well, I certainly know which I would prefer when it comes to a dark laneway and a busy strip of strippers, bouncers and kids partying. Both my sister and cousin were bashed in Newcastle when their lockout laws were already in place. My sister was trying to get home and was away from a busy area. It’s about public transport in busy areas. Open the discourse to problems other than king hits… which are acts by cunts who are not just cunts after hours but they’re also cunts before 10pm and before 1:30am.

Travis Jordan (writer)
Only having lived in Sydney the last 12 months the city I know is not even close to the one I was told of growing up. If the government was genuine in making the city a safer place for all, implementing laws that are crippling the cityscape and releasing large amounts of intoxicated, agitated patrons into dense areas wouldn’t be the definitive decision. The NSW Government is less extinguishing the fire than they are just fanning the flames.

Phil Erbacher (photographer)
My friends and I used to make the pilgrimage to Kings Cross from interstate, ready to embrace its underbelly and mystery. We would surrender caution and embrace chance. This was decades ago. The history stretches back much further, of course. For the last six years I have lived five minute’s walk from the Cross. I miss the electricity in the air. I miss the mixed denizens. I miss live music both in the middle of the day and at night from FBi Social. I loathe seeing people’s small business dreams go up in smoke. I feel for everyone who depended on the traffic and trade, including the sex workers.

Melissa Barrass (writer/photographer)
Big ups to State Government for the lockout laws. Newtown is tonight swarming with drunks, running in front of cars, falling with cases of beer at the light crossing, oh and some fugly jerk who probably hasn’t got pussy in years wants to mutter something to me as I walk by. RIP Newtown.

The Keep Sydney Open rally is this Sunday, meeting at Belmore Park in Central at 12:30pm and then heading into the CBD. Here is the Facebook event page:

There will be speeches and performance from many notable personalities. Confirmed so far are: Isabella Manfredi from The Preatures (Speaker) / Dave Faulkner from iconic Australian band Hoodoo Gurus (Speaker) / Bernard Keane Political Editor of Crikey and author (Speaker) / Tyson Koh from Keep Sydney Open (MC/Speaker) / Art vs Science (Musical performance) / Royal Headache (Musical performance).

So show up with your memetastic banners and share your photos on social media using @keepsydneyopen and #keepsydneyopen.

Also, sign the petition here:

And like the Facebook page here

Supporting Keep Sydney Open means you stand for the cultural vibrancy of the city. It means you stand up for the live music scene, for jobs and youth employment, for the right to dance and cheer, the creative energy that makes Sydney what it is and yes, to buy a bottle of wine at 10:01pm.

The Keep Sydney Open rally urges:
– lockout exemptions for licensed premises that are predominantly live music venues
– an end to the new licence freeze for predominantly live music venues and small bars
– the lifting of restrictions on retail hours
– late-night public transport, like in Melbourne
– the introduction of a Night Mayor, like in Amsterdam and Berlin
– an invitation from government to discuss next steps in partnership with those whose livelihoods depend on the music and cultural industries thriving in Sydney
– police to work with, not against, the responsible venues who provide safe nights out in a global city