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The government is responsible for ensuring the maintenance of peace and order by the citizens and the other non-citizens residing within its political bounders. One tool employed as the various governmental bodies aim is through enacting laws and setting up policies that govern the behavior of the people. There have however been concerns regarding the effects that such laws, meant at ensuring the reduction of crimes, may have on the business and livelihood of the citizens. The paper will discuss the new lockout laws in Sydney implemented by the New South Wales government and the effect that they may have on business law.

Many criminal activities are executed during the night time since visibility is greatly reduced. The amount of people in transit is also at a minimum during this time with drinking activities being at a higher rate. The relationship between violent incidences and drug abuse is high with the most abused drug being alcohol (Muir, 2016). The government has been aiming at reducing such incidences through reducing the use and abuse of these drugs.

The New South Wales government introduced laws in 2014 aiming at reducing the prevalence of violent incidences that are brought about by the abuse of alcohol. The move was made after the death of two teenagers, Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie, after violent incidences (Davey, 2016). The two teenagers we assaulted during different instances through single punches.

Thomas Kelly was the first one to succumb to death in July 2012 after one punch while walking along Victoria Street by an excessively intoxicated stranger known as Kieran Loveridge (Davey, 2016). The head injury subjected the teenager to a coma where he succumbed to death only two days later. Kathy and Ralph Kelly, the parents of the victim brought the matter to the public after the death of their child citing increased violence as a result of alcohol abuse. The abuser was recorded to have assaulted other victims the same day hours before an encounter with Thomas Kelly. Kieran was charged of assault causing actual bodily harm and murder charge. The critical head injury had subjected Thomas Kelly to life support system that had to be switched off after no improvements were recorded. The jury found Kieran Loveridge of guilty of committing murder and other violent charges and the sentence was set for minimum of ten years and two months. The family however insisted the need to tackle the rising alcohol related violent to avoid other families going through similar experience Kelly family underwent.

Daniel Christie also an 18 year old from Sydney was also a one punch victim who died eleven days after the assault by Shaun Mcneil while partying with his brother Peter during the New Year Eve in the year 2013 (Muir, 2016). The parents had to switch off the life support of their son, whose skull had been cracked after the one punch that threw him to the road. The 27 years old bully, Shaun Mcneil who was heavily intoxicated during the night of the attack was not convicted of murder but rather manslaughter. The judge heading the hearing stated that the action by the offender were cowardly since he was of no match to the victim. The parents, who described their deceased son as the most loving person expressed the pain and the grieve they were going through, stating that no parent should ever have to go experience what they had experienced. They stated the dangers of alcohol requesting other young people to seek rehabilitation since the drug can easily ruin one’s and others people’s lives. The father of the victim, Michael Christie revealed to the media the death of his son subjected him to depression where he at one time considered committing suicide.

The death of Daniel Christie fuelled the heated debate on the rise in alcohol related violence in Sydney. Both of these attacks occurred within one year and few months just few meters apart. The jury then found Shaun McNeil guilty sentencing him for a minimum seven and a half years in prison for the death of Daniel Christie (Muir, 2016).

The New South Wales government under pressure by the public and media to tackle the increasing alcohol-related crime introduced the lock-out laws in the populated nightspots such as Kings Cross. The alcohol laws reduces the alcohol drinking period within the new Sydney Central Business District Entertainment Precinct. Such places according to these laws should not be opened after 1.30 a.m. encouraging lockouts and no drinks should be served after 3 am (Davey, 2016). The affected places include hotels, nightclubs, registered clubs and even karaoke bars. There is however exemption to most restaurants, small bars that hold a maximum of sixty people and the tourists’ accommodation. The law permits for the registered venues that are not exempted from the laws to remain open after 3.00 am provided there is no alcohol sale. Other outlets within New South Wales that sell takeaway alcohol such as clubs, hotels and bottle shops are expected to close before 10.00 p.m. In case any of the bar staff including the owner or the employees breach the alcohol requirements, their competency cards can be revoked for a period of up to one year (Davey, 2016).

Apart from reducing the alcohol drinking period, these laws also tighten the punishment. Such a rule include a two-day temporary ban on any person who cause trouble. The issuance of new licenses and renewal of existing licenses is also affected by requiring a mandatory two year freeze. Failure to comply with any of the stated laws by the staff also attracts a license fine amounting up to 11,000 dollars and or imprisonment of one year, while under the government’s Three Strikes disciplinary program (Keep Sydney Open, 2016). The New South Wales government has put these strict laws to show it’s relentless to fighting against the increasing alcohol-related programs. It has also offered free buses within the new Sydney Central Business District Entertainment Precinct, which is the area between King Cross and the Central business district to avert the occurrence of alcohol fuelled violent incidences.

These laws have however been criticized due to their impact on licensed businesses with business owners claiming that they should be relaxed. An important campaign body to the relaxation of the lockouts laws is the Keep Sydney Open. The founder of the body, Tyson Koh explains the impact the laws posed on the night-life within Sydney affecting business that operates at night. He also expresses grief stating that King Cross is likely never to be the same way it was before the introduction of these laws. The entertainment industry is the most hurt by these laws since most of the business carry their operations at night.

The data released by the New South Wales government Bureau of Crime Statistics revealed a major reduction in crime since the lockout laws were implemented with non-domestic related assault reducing by 45 percent in the area within King Cross. The remaining area within the central business district that was affected by the laws also saw a reduction of non-domestic related assault by 20 percent according to the same source. Other institutions that were affected by the lockout laws such as the local hospital including St Vincent’s Hospital also reported a drop in the number of assaulted victims since the introduction of the laws in 2014.

The laws have attracted several opinions with more than 1800 submissions made pertaining the case. The biggest opposition to these laws was in February 2016, when more than 800 persons took to the street protesting these laws (Keep Sydney Open, 2016). Those venues that are not hosting live music performance are the most affected. Proposal include extending home delivery of alcohol from the set 10.00 p.m. to midnight in an aim to revive Sydney’s nightlife thus the entertainment industry. The founder of Keep Sydney Open proposes for the venues that have adhered to the lockout laws since their establishment in 2014 and have the right management to be exempted from these rules that require lockouts at 1.30. a.m. and closure at 3.00 p.m. He argues that locking out of clients and kicking them out of the venues at the same time increases the probability of violence occurring with thus the laws endangers the drinkers.

The anti-lockouts laws campaign that was started by Keep Sydney Open indicate an adverse effect of the laws on businesses, culture and the personal freedom of the affected party (Keep Sydney Open, 2016). Although the campaign agrees that there is a great need to control the rising alcohol related crime, it disagrees with the strategy taken by the government through the lockouts and last drink laws. The campaign site the rate of decrease in foot-traffic has been larger than the rate of assault hereby questioning the effectiveness the laws have presented. According to the campaigners, the effect has largely affected business that heavily relies on the foot-traffic more than it has helped reduce the crimes. The founder stated that more than 20 ventures have been closed since the establishment of the laws. The explanation has been the reduction of the drinking period has greatly reduced the revenue the business generate thus affecting their profit. For the owners to be able to sustain the business, they have been forced to apply alternative measures that include firing employees and closing the business (Keep Sydney Open, 2016). The campaign has hereby focused on the effect such strategy may have on the society through job loss. Such effects include heighten crime in neighboring areas as the employed persons aim at maintaining their social status and lifestyle.

The campaign request for better strategies that help in preventing crime whereas not affecting the businesses. The proposal include the adoption of a holistic and lateral approach in preventing alcohol-related violence. It include the establishment of safer transport system through surveillance system such as CCTV. Keep Sydney Open also proposes for focus to be shifted from reducing the span that drinking venue are open to the tougher laws that will act as a lesson to other bullies. The approach also requires for licensed premises to be assessed for density and diversity and the also the pattern of violence among individual groups to be studied (Keep Sydney Open, 2016).

The campaigners have expressed disappointment as the heightened alcohol violence crimes have been tackled by punishing law abiding businessmen through limiting their chances of business success (Keep Sydney Open, 2016). It has stated that the focus should be set on the law breakers who use alcohol as justification for their criminal actions. The businesses that have invested heavily in ensuring the safety of their customers have also been hugely affected despite their efforts to observe that law and order is maintained. The campaign focuses on ensuring the contribution of such business to the reputation of Sydney as a leading entertainment destination is not neglected as the city makes efforts to keep violence incidence at a minimum.

Keep Sydney Open recommends for the application of innovative policies stating that nightlife and safety are not mutually related (Keep Sydney Open, 2016). It aims at ensuring that the people that want to go out and drink can do so without being worried about compromising their safety.

The campaign recommends for the New South Wales government to assess the effectiveness of the lockout laws by assessing the damage they have on the social and economic status of Sydney. The State of Victoria and Queensland had introduced such laws before and they proved to be unsuccessful. The State of Victoria had introduced lockout laws of 2.00 a.m. but an audit by the KPMG found the policy failed to reduce street violence while the Auditor General of Queensland also found their 3.00 a.m. lockout laws and 5.00 closure time to have caused a financial loss of more than 10 million dollars (Keep Sydney Open, 2016).

After review of the laws by the New South Wales government, the Callinan’s review of the Sydney’s lockout laws found a positive reduction in alcohol related crime in King Cross and the Sydney Central Business District at the cost of the licensed businesses and musicians who rely on operations of these venues at night. The review recommended for the laws to be relaxed asking the government to extend the lockout and last drink time to 2.00 a.m. and 3.30 a.m. respectively for a trial period (Davey, 2016). The recommendations were also for the closure time for takeaway alcohol shops to be 11.00 p.m.

The strategy aims at creating a balance between the maintenance of law and order as well as protecting the businesses. The responsibility of ensuring safety does not solely depend on the alcohol selling time but on all parties therefore need to adopt a more holistic approach.


Davey, M. (2016). Sydney’s lockout laws could be relaxed to 2am, independent review finds. the Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2016, from news/2016/sep/13/sydneys-lockout-laws-could-be-relaxed-to-2am-independent-review- finds

Keep Sydney Open (2016) Keep Sydney Open — Fight Sydney’s lockout legislation! Retrieved October 13, 2016, from cbd-legislation

Muir, E. (2016). Wasted: A story of alcohol, grief and a death in Brisbane.