Liberal Member of the Legislative Council, Rob Lucas, said today he would oppose strongly any proposed lockout of bars and clubs in Adelaide city.
Mr Lucas said it was clear from statements by the Rann Government and Police Commissioner Mal Hyde that they were considering the introduction of a compulsory lockout.
Messrs Gago and Holloway recently attended the Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy meeting in Melbourne and their Joint Communiqué stated:
“A key outcome was the agreement to assess late night lockouts for licensed premises based on analysis across the nation of existing and trial lockouts to recommend a preferred framework” (23 May 2008)
After that meeting the Advertiser reported:
“Early morning lockouts from bars could be enforced nationally as part of a unified political pledge to combat binge drinking. Federal, State and Territory Governments have agreed to work together on the plan” (24 May 2008)
“This proposal is a knee-jerk, ill-conceived, unworkable and unfair proposal which is part of a ‘nanny state’ policy making mentality,” Mr Lucas said.
“Again, a majority of young people who happily enjoy themselves in clubs and bars are going to be penalised by a small minority of troublemakers and governments wanting to be seen to be doing something about the issue of binge drinking.”
In Victoria, the Brumby Labor Government this week introduced a 2:00 am lockout and there have already been mass protests of more than 3,000 people as well as legal action to overturn the decision.
There is also an online Facebook Group titled “Official Melbourne 2:00 am Lockout Petition”, of which there are almost 30,000 members, highlighting the unpopularity of the proposal.
However, for many young people 2:00 am is not late and many enjoy themselves at bars and clubs until much later on weekends.
The lockout would potentially create even more problems as young people locked out after 2:00 am would instead remain on the streets of Adelaide and visit cafes and fast-food outlets which would be open.
“If young people are locked in after 2:00 am it would mean they would not be able to leave a venue to take an intoxicated friend safely to a taxi, have a cigarette, visit an ATM or take a telephone call,” he said.
“It would mean when concerts or functions finish at 1:00 am many young people would not be able to get into bars and clubs in the city by 2:00 am, especially when some venues have queues which might mean a delay of an hour to enter.
“It would also mean that shift workers, including hospitality staff and others, would be restricted from popular after work drinks.
“This policy would make Adelaide a laughing stock. Could you just imagine visiting performers and clubbers like Justin Timberlake or the Foo Fighters, following their shows, trying to visit a club at 2:00 am and being told they are locked out? It wouldn’t happen in New York!!
“Now is the time for opponents in South Australia to organise and oppose and make it clear to the Rann Government they won’t accept a lockout and that alternative more effective measures to combat the effects of excessive drinking are adopted.
“The Rann Government won’t listen on any issues unless it is hit over the head with the ‘baseball bat of mass opposition’ – so now is the time for action.”
Mr Lucas stressed that these views were personal views and not necessarily shared by the Liberal Party.