By Jorden Griggs
In late February over 15,000 people rallied in Sydney against late night lockout laws. The laws are supposed to combat alcohol fuelled violence but have had a detrimental impact on many live music and entertainment venues, as well as artistic and cultural spaces.
Studies have shown that these venues actually play a role in reducing alcohol related violence. That some have been forced to close down has resulted in job losses for staff and artists alike.
Controversially The Star casino and other gambling venues have been granted exemptions to the laws. This is a blatant attempt to funnel people into exploitative gambling halls. It is a boost to casino profits and to government tax revenue.
A law and order approach to anti-social behaviour does not address the root cause of the problems. We need to tackle the social problems that drive people to alcoholism and violence. The struggle against the laws needs to be linked with struggles for job security and access to services for young people including 24-hour weekend public transport and well-funded mental health programs.