FEATURE: Sydney vs Rex Banner err Mike Baird

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The lyrics to Beastie Boys’ indelible anthem ‘Fight For Your Right’ have never been so pertinent - well not since primary school anyway - but thanks to Mike Baird the overbearing, oppressive nanny no one wanted, 15,000 Sydney residents found themselves literally fighting for their right to party on Sunday. 

In case you’ve just returned from a lovely weekend away in Melbourne or any other world-class city, within which you enjoyed a full night out and were perhaps too ‘tired’ to catch the news; the organisation ‘Keep Sydney Open’ headed by Tyson Koh organised a rally in protest of the introduced laws and restrictions that affect many licensed venues located within the government’s dodgy AF (and comically titled) ‘Entertainment Precinct’ with lockouts at 1:30am and last drinks at 3am.  This precinct conveniently left out Barangaroo – the development site for James Packer’s new casino and Pyrmont, the location of Sydney’s only currently operating casino; which earned Mike Baird the title and accompanying hash tag ‘Casino Mike’.  Not to mention that you can’t grab a bottle of vino from the bottle-o round the corner after 10pm or even a fucking kebab after midnight in certain areas.  

The Sydney Morning Herald reported back in January that according to figures from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, there has been a 40% decrease in alcohol related assaults at licensed venues in Kings Cross over the past year.  They also stated that foot traffic has decreased by 84% citing City of Sydney as their information source.  So if you wish to play with numbers Bairdsy, it could be argued that alcohol related assaults in Kings Cross have actually increased per capita over the last year.  

The current (nanny) state of Sydney’s implemented bedtime lock-out laws have prompted many legends of the Aus music scene (some of whom are internationally revered) to come forward and offer their opinions/anecdotes regarding this issue which is directly impacting the culture and vibrancy of the city they got their break in.

Flight Facilities penned this letter that even goes as far as listing specific turning points in their career and the now closed venues they occurred within:

On Sunday The Preatures’ Isabella Manfredi was the hero Sydney didn’t deserve, but the hero Sydney needed.  She, along with fellow musos including Dave Faulkner of the Hoodoo Gurus and DJ/producer Nina Las Vegas were all preachers as they addressed the massive crowd, drawing on personal experience as both punter and performer to clearly illustrate the devastating impact these restrictions are currently inflicting and will continue to inflict on Sydney’s music scene, budding musicians and local businesses.  They were also extremely vocal in ensuring that everyone realise they are siding with and definitely not against the doctors and emergency workers whom are fighting for decreased violence and safer streets but believe that this can be achieved through the application of alternative methods - as evidenced by countless cities of similar size worldwide.  The group were supported by Art vs Science, who gave an apt performance of the aforementioned Beastie Boys’ ‘Fight For Your Right’, and band Royal Headache no doubt gave Baird his own royal headache.  Flume was in the crowd along with Danny Clayton from Channel [V] and Kate Peck of MTV who were all promoting and supporting the event via their various social media accounts but really it was the spirit and signage on the day that really packed a punch.

There were some hard hitting signs that were straight to the point which read, “Sydney go to bed now”, “24h Sydney not 24h Casinos”, "Locked out from venues, locked out from jobs” and “24h public transport people” with the latter put forward as a potential constituent in forming a solution to end the violence.  

There were also plenty of witty placards including: “Drop the Mike”, “We hit the dance floor, not each other” and “It’s not our Baird time”.  Check out the gallery below for more.

In what could only be viewed as a sign (see what I did there?), it was amusing that the protest march went straight past this, located at Museum Station which is presently under construction. 

Basically, Mike Baird, we don’t want thousands punished for the dead-shit acts of a few and don’t believe these laws are an appropriate or effective solution.  We do want action and an end to the violence as we the consumer are the ones in danger; however we require a solution that doesn’t blatantly prey on smaller venues to in turn feed the casinos and underhandedly/indirectly your pockets.   

Friendlyjordies has put together a thought provoking yet comical take down of Mr. Baird’s policies, which basically wraps everything we’re trying to say up in a neat little package.  We really mean it.  Sorry if it sounded sarcastic. 

In times like this all you can do is ask yourself: 


Words and Photos by Kate Carnell