In the wake of Sunday’s successful rally organised by the Keep Sydney Open team, calls have been coming from the industry to keep up the momentum.
In the lead up to the review, which Premier Mike Baird has already flagged as basically redundant due to his being in favour of the lockout laws, more and more businesses have been making known their displeasure at the knock-on effects of the laws.
According to Ben Carroll, co-owner of Applejack hospitality which operates five bars around Sydney, “Casino Mike” might be a little shocked at just how vocal the opposition to the laws is becoming.
“Yesterday was great to see and all the mass media coverage that it got,” says Carroll. “And to have families down there, taxi drivers down there along with kebab shop owners, newsagency owners, it was a real mix of not just young people, it was great.
“The protest is a conversation starter. My friends in my networks that aren’t in the hospitality industry, they now understand what it is about. There was never really any information given out about the lockouts law initially and even in the industry there was never really much.”
The organisers of Sunday’s rally have claimed that up to 15,000 people took part, although some media outlets have suggested smaller numbers. But there has been widespread coverage and Carroll believes that the industry is poised for further, more far-reaching action.
“I think the industry is going to have to do something more drastic,” he says. “There is chat on industry forums saying, ‘let’s all close for a week or a night’. It would be hard to get everyone to participate and it is the far extreme of drastic measures.”
He goes on to explain that while he doesn’t have the silver bullet the action from the organisers of the rally and petition needs to continue.
“We have to probably have another rally, the petitioning is great, and us keeping it front of mind over the next six months is going to be key. The pressure has to remain on the government so that they know how vocal we are and how much it means, not just to the industry, but to many other people as well.”
The NSW lockout laws are currently being reviewed by former High Court judge Ian Callinan QC, who will publish the report into his findings in August.
Image care of Keep Sydney Open Facebook page