A Supreme Court ruling this week means live music venues and strip clubs are exempt from Sydney’s lockout laws.
The heavy-handed lockout regulations, barring entry after 1:30am and permanently shuttering many a good business in the Sydney CBD, were brought in by former NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and backed by current Premier Mike Baird. You might know the latter as #casinomike, his unofficial nickname as a result of Star City Casino being conveniently out of the lockout zone despite being Sydney’s largest venue for violence. And you might rightly consider the whole situation a farce, seeing as the laws were brought in as a knee-jerk reaction to two violent incidents that occurred mid-evening.
Fortunately, some bars are fighting back. As the Daily Telegraph reports, Smoking Panda Bar pushed the issue all the way to the Supreme Court. The venue was previously exempt from lockout due to its “tourism accommodation establishment” status, but that was taken away after an investigation revealed some people within the bar were not staying at the Coronation Hotel, which it is located inside.
But according to Justice Natalie Adams, the legislation never said bar patrons were required to be hotel guests — and as a result of that ruling, strip clubs in the city and live music venues are also exempt from lockout. Good times.
It’s uncertain if #casinomike will double-down and attempt to limit the exempt status of such venues, but given the bad attention it’s received, as well as opposition from Sydney mayor Clover Moore (and Sydney’s entire nightlife industry), here’s hoping the Fun Police will sit this one out. After all, it’s apparently okay for venues showing major sporting events, which makes no sense, but… Yay?