Here we go again: Sydney‘s lockout laws – which have devastated the late night industry – are on their way to be repeated in Perth, following a violent (and yes, alcohol-sodden) brawl over the weekend in the entertainment precinct of Northbridge.
Footage of the incident showed a group of dudes throwing chairs, tables and glass bottles outside a kebab shop at 4am last Sunday morning, which apparently all kicked off because someone asked to borrow a lighter. One unit even ripped a brick straight out of the ground.
Look, it’s fucked, and life-threatening, so you can’t really blame theAustralian Medical Association calling for lockout laws in a bid to prevent his kind of violence. But as we’ve seen in Sydney, lockout laws are not the answer, and the city itself is lobbying to axe the lockout laws and develop a system that actually culls violence without crippling the nighttime economy.
And yet Perth is looking to introduce them – but not, however, without a fight.
Music body West Australia Music (WAM) has released an impassioned plea to save Perth’s live music scene, while simultaneously savaging the very idea of lockout laws.
“Calling for lockouts is plucking the low hanging fruit of social cures,” said WAM CEO Mike Harris in a statement. “We need to be asking why are there gangs of bored youth in Northbridge who are unlikely to be patrons of any of the establishments in that area.”
He pointed to lockouts being proven ineffective both in WA and other states, and the frustratingly obvious ticker that none of these dudes were patrons of nearby venues, anyway.
“In relation to the footage that has triggered the latest call for lockouts it is quite evident that those involved in the fighting were not patrons of the venue outside where the fighting took place.”
Of course, WAM has a horse in this race – but a bloody good one. See: Tame Impala or Birds of Tokyo or John Butler, internationally acclaimed acts that cut their teeth in Perth’s live music scene.
“WA takes great pride in the successes of its artists,” said Harris. “Take away their opportunities to develop as artists and we won’t have the next generation of West Australian musicians on the global stage.”
Assaults in the Northbridge area have dropped 36% between 2008 and 2015, according to the WA Liberal’s own website:
Of course, incidents like the one of the weekend prove something needs to be done. But while getting to the root cause of alcohol-fuelled (and mostly male) violence has always been trickier than imposing blanket regulations, what state government has ever let that get in their way?
Photo: Channel 9.