This week has been one of the biggest yet in regards to Sydney’s controversial lockout laws. NSW Premier Mike Baird, perhaps mistakenly, took to Facebook on Monday to weigh in on the “hysterical” outcry that has reached a critical point over the past few weeks, and was promptly slammed by everyone from business owners, artists, punters and more who weren’t buying his perspective on the issue.
Since then, a whopping 14,000 people have commented on the post, and that number is continuing to grow. It has also prompted an outpouring of open letters, memes, mock songs and more to Baird himself, with many capitalising on the fact that casinos remain exempt whilst he basically destroys the live music industry. From considered, well-constructed responses to more “unsavoury” comments, Baird has been on the receiving end of one of the most brutal takedowns seen on social media in a long, long time.
Attempting to provide some personal accounts, Sydney artists like Alison Wonderland, Basenji, Nina Las Vegas, Flight Facilities, and What So Not have all taken to their own Facebook pages to address Premier Baird, his out of touch laws and his condescending response.
However, that’s not all.
Further to this, a victim of a coward punch has also written to Mike Baird. Max Hardwick-Morris fell victim to a coward punch on Australia Day and has since been in hospital. He suffered a concussion and a broken fibular which required him to have surgery resulting in a plate and six screws going into his leg. According to Baird, violence is not only down, but the victims of this violence and the families of those victims are in favour of these laws. Hardwick-Morris says otherwise.
“I feel you’ve used the two unfortunate coward punches that resulted in deaths to further your political agenda,” Hardwick-Morris says, before going onto say that had Baird not made the Star Casino, and the new one coming in at Barangaroo, exempt from the laws, he may have had “mercy” on them, but now says the move “begs so many questions to be asked about your government’s agenda.”
From here, it’s open season. Hardwick-Morris goes in, saying, “The fact that you also ‘categorically’ lie to the public by forging statistics in favor of your policies and follow up by saying how Sydney has never been more ‘vibrant’ is disgusting.”
“You mustn’t have left your house past sunset in months within the confines of the CBD and surrounding areas as if you had you’d see it’s an absolute ghost town. It’s become an international joke.”
Shooting down all of Baird’s statistics he used in his statement, Hardwick-Morris counteracts them by using entrepreneur Matt Barrie’s report that decimated any review the NSW government had offered up, and instead shining a harsh spotlight on the reality of the future of Sydney’s nightlife. Discrepancies between the initial reports and areas looked at, and the consequent reviews of the laws have finally been revealed and it doesn’t look good.
Finally, Max pleads with Baird to see reason.
“Mr Baird, you’re killing Sydney’s economy, you’re killing small business, you’re killing Sydney’s music scene, you’re killing Sydney’s reputation, you’re killing the youth’s relationship with the government and you’re killing fun.
“Don’t bring your evangelical agenda and think you can play God by enforcing your beliefs on the rest of the state,” he writes. “I really hope you sit down and read these emails, the articles on the Internet, the memes mocking your policies, use an actual independent source to review the laws and above all else, listen to the review and don’t reject it before you read it like you already seem to be doing.”
“You shouldn’t be serving God as the Premier, you should be serving the state.”
You can check out Hardwick-Morris’ open letter here.
All in all, this week would not have been the best week of Baird’s political career, or even his life. He has copped a hell of a lot of flack, but it’s all of his own doing. It seems it is becoming commonplace to totally ignoring an uproar, just because it doesn’t fit your agenda. Even in Queensland, the debate wages on about their proposed lockout measures, which are even more drastic than that of Sydney. However, hardly anyone seems to actually be listening.
Coincidentally, Baird actually appeared on Nova this morning as well, and whilst he was presented with an articulate, well-constructed question asking why a curfew was the go-to response, and why it’s stuck, he continued to push his agenda and basically say that despite the pending review, it’s going to “take a lot” to change his mind.
Well, Mike Baird, you may not change your mind, but your constituents certainly are. Good luck* in the next election, you will certainly need it.
*We don’t actually wish him good luck. Quite the opposite in fact.
Image via Yahoo News