By Andrew Starke
Participants in the ‘People’s Parliament’ have overwhelmingly rejected laws that could result in a 3am lockout for pubs and clubs.
The Daily Telegraph initiative had 55 ordinary citizens debating policy and passing motions yesterday (March 1), with liquor industry issues getting a share of the spotlight.
The Parliament passed a motion to bring back the pre-1960s practice of a referendum to determine liquor laws and unanimously voted in favour of better transport to be provided around entertainment precincts to ferry revellers home.
On the question of whether there should be a review of laws to have 3am pub and club lockouts, 17 were in favour and 47 against.
Nightclub owner Justin Hemmes used the ‘People’s Parliament’ to call for extra police on Friday and Saturday nights to deal with alcohol fuelled violence.
“Our clubs don't breed a culture of violence. We don't encourage violence, it’s brought in by the community,” The Daily Telegraph reported him as saying.
He also rejected the idea of shutting clubs by 1am, claiming this would simply force people back to their homes and result in more house parties.
Hemmes also said he would not be prepared to fund extra police at night out of his own pocket.
The AHA (NSW) said the parliament’s rejection of earlier closing hours was a blow to those parties campaigning to cripple nightlife in Sydney.
“The people have spoken. They have seen this harsh measure for what it is – a band aid solution,” AHA (NSW) President Scott Leach told TheShout.
“Closing hotels earlier will solve nothing – it will just encourage more house parties like the one last month where three police officers were injured.
“The AHA (NSW) will continue to work with all sides of politics and the community on realistic solutions to societal problems like violent behaviour on our streets.
“For too long it’s been too easy to just blame hotels for society’s ills – we need people to take responsibility for their own actions and if they don’t, they need to be penalised.”
Leach backed comments made by Hemmes at the People’s Parliament that hotels ‘don’t breed a culture of violence’ but it is ‘brought in by the community’.
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