Thomas Kelly’s Dad Says Lockouts Should Be Repealed If The Evidence Is There

The father of Thomas Kelly, whose 2012 death after a random one-punch attack served as a catalyst for Sydney‘s lockout laws, says he supports a review of the controversial measures.

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Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Ralph Kelly said he backed NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s plan to convene a parliamentary committee to reassess the effectiveness of the late-night legislation.

Kelly told the paper the Premier had personally called him on Tuesday to discuss the committee, saying we “need” a review of the laws to see if there’s “evidence that the link between alcohol and violence has decreased, and that we are now deemed to be a city which is safer for everyone to enjoy the amenities of its nightlife”. 

He added “it is 101” that the state should wind back the laws, pending on the results of the review.

The Kelly family called on then-Premier Barry O’Farrell to enact new safety measures in Sydney after Thomas’ death. After the 2013 conviction of Kieran Loveridge, Thomas’ killer, Ralph Thomas said it was time O’Farrell “finally did something about alcohol-fuelled violence to make a difference, to make us all safe so that we don’t have to see these situations continuously happening in the city.”

In 2014, O’Farrell’s state government instituted laws which restricted Sydney venues from permitting new patrons past 1.30am and serving alcohol past 3am. The laws were linked to marked downturns in violent alcohol-linked assaults, but some exemptions were granted after a huge backlash from punters concerned about Sydney’s culture. Regardless, advocates are still calling for a total repeal, claiming the laws have unfairly impacted lawful residents and the city’s nightlife industries.

The parliamentary committee is slated to table its findings in late September.