Entrepreneur Matt Barrie, who was thrust into the limelight by thousands of Sydney residents sick of the restrictions of the city’s controversial lockout laws when he penned an 8,400 word essay against them, has written a biiiig followup.
He’s written a submission for the current inquiry into the effectiveness of the lockout laws, calling out the exaggeration and misapplication of data and the chummy relationship between the New South Wales government and property developers, which he alleges is the prime motivation behind the laws.
“I show that the only winners from these laws have been the casinos and property developers, and the biggest losers have been small businesses, jobs, the economy, civil liberties, tourism, and the social, cultural fabric and reputation of Sydney.”
There’s a lot in this submission that Barrie already covered in his stratospherically popular post ‘Would the last person in Sydney please turn the lights out?’. But there’s some interesting tidbits here.
The core argument of Barrie’s submission is that the NSW Government knew that its laws would not have prevented the deaths it was responding to, that the medical data from St Vincents Hospital was inconclusive and that the only reason the laws were implemented was because they had financial ties with property developers and the casino.
But it’s when he talks donations from Crown Casino that it starts getting really murky. As we know, the Crown, like The Star now, will under the current arrangements be exempt from the lockout zone in central Sydney.
Barrie alleges that St Vincents Hospital receives money from the casino, writing that he is “not sure why a Melbourne casino is donating to a Sydney hospital, in the middle of the Sydney entertainment precinct.”
His most explosive argument is that the Thomas Kelly Foundation, set up with the goal of lobbying for laws intended to prevent alcohol-induced violence, is also funded by Crown Casino. He writes:
Stranger still, this foundation’s main financiers are the Crown Casino, the owner of Crown Casino, Macquarie Bank – substantial shareholder & investment bank of Star Casino, the NSW Premier’s office – legislator of the lockout laws and City of Sydney- who helped implement the lockouts.
It’s an interesting followup to the original piece, and a pretty compelling submission to the lockout laws review.
Let’s see if it has any sway.
Photo: Matt Barrie.