Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

NSW: Lock out laws no solution

In late January, the O’Farrell Liberal government in NSW passed new ‘lock out’ laws which will supposedly serve as a panacea to alcohol fuelled violence.

Patrons in Kings Cross and CBD clubs now face 1.30am lockouts and last drinks at 3am. New mandatory sentencing laws impose a minimum of 8 years and a maximum of 25 years imprisonment to those who cause death by “intentionally hitting” while intoxicated.

Media coverage of incidents involving ‘king hits’ has whipped up public hysteria and given the government space to introduce the new measures. Unfortunately these laws do not deal with the issues of binge drinking and violence at all.

In fact, statistics show that alcohol related violence has been declining in NSW over the past 5 years. The real reason the government has introduced the measures is to divert people’s attention away from unpopular issues such as cuts to emergency services, health and education.

A law and order approach to issues involving alcohol, violence or anti-social behaviour does not address the root cause of the problems. We need to tackle the problems that drive people to alcoholism and violence.

Investing in services for young people, health programs and by ensuring youth are afforded jobs and education is where we need to begin.

By Simone Howard