Fears that Non-violent Venues Unfairly Penalised by New Laws

I recently came across an article on Smh.com.au which discussed the so-called ‘epidemic’ of alcohol fuelled misconduct and assaults in particular. The writer of the post questioned the validity of calling the problem an epidemic, providing statistics from an independent report into the 5 year statutory review of liquor laws.

According to the report there were significant reductions in the following areas:

”on licensed premises (-28 per cent); alcohol-related assaults on police (-35 per cent); alcohol-related domestic assaults (-12 per cent); alcohol-related non-domestic assaults (-28 per cent); and hospital emergency department attendance rates for acute alcohol problems (-9 per cent) between 2008 and 2012”.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/sydney-liquor-laws-a-blunt-instrument-that-misses-the-mark-20140201-31trx.html#ixzz2sRJNO0Ai

Much of the fuss surrounding alcohol fuelled issues is related to cowardly one-punch incidents such as the one that resulted in the death of Daniel Christie on New Year’s Eve. Not too long ago another teen lost his life after being assaulted in Kings Cross, Thomas Kelly. These 2 deaths certainly indicated a serious problem which needed attention but many believe that Barry O’Farrell’s tough new laws will not achieve this.

Many people believe that the measures are penalising responsible drinkers along with the problematic ones.

The writer of the article on Smh.com.au detailed the side effects of implementing the new measures such as the lockouts and last drinks calls. Certain musical genres thrive only after dark and these musicians as well as their fans will be negatively affected and unfairly so.

The article goes on to detail some of the other “injustices” of the measures:

There seems an injustice that a venue supporting late-night entertainment, which has worked hard to keep its liquor licence without a mark to its name, should face the same fate as those venues proven to attract and service the violent and unsociable characters responsible for this debate.

It is quite clear that there is a disconnect between young people and those changing the laws.

Simon Caldwell has worked as a DJ for 20 years and has become somewhat of an icon of Sydney’s electronic music scene.

Caldwell states the obvious fact that people want to go out and they don’t want to have to go home at either one or three in the morning. And should they have to?

(Read more about the writer’s opinion here: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/sydney-liquor-laws-a-blunt-instrument-that-misses-the-mark-20140201-31trx.html#ixzz2sRJNO0Ai)

There are also concerns that Barangaroo and The Star are being exempted from the laws which many see as unfair.

Perhaps one of the most extreme of the measures implemented is the laws that tackle alcohol-fuelled crime, including a mandatory minimum sentence of eight years in jail for fatal “one-punch” assaults where drug or alcohol use is a factor.

Also venues in the Sydney City precinct will be subject to a 1:30am lockout and a 3am last drinks call. Bottle stores across the state also didn’t escape the reach of the new laws and are now forced to shut their doors at 10pm.