There’s a new party in town. One that’ll make you dance like a rockstar and unite like a politician. But first, let’s party!
They began as a movement, marching the streets against the 2014 lockout laws. Now, Keep Sydney Open (KSO) is a state political party for the 2019 NSW elections, and they are hosting a fundraising party on June 30 to celebrate.
It’s called the ‘Party Party’, and will be held over five floors of the Kings Cross Hotel: a watering hole that held on tight as other venues collapsed around them because of the lockout restrictions.
“As champions of nightlife, it would be rude to launch a political party without throwing one,” said Tyson Koh, a KSO spokesperson.
“We’re determined as ever to ditch the lockouts but it’s important to support the venues, bands and DJs in the city.
“There will be a lot of hard work in the lead-up to next year’s election but for now, let’s dance!”
The lockout laws were introduced by the then-premier Barry O’Farrell, in response to two one-punch attacks – Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie. They also included new laws to tackle one-punch perpetrators.
Since then, there has been vocal opposition to the lockout laws as dozens of nightclubs and bars began to close down. Many others praised the success of them, citing a major drop in “alcohol-fuelled violence”, but a drop in foot traffic within the CBD has been considered the cause.
In 2016, the lockout laws were relaxed by the NSW government, advocated and pushed by KSO. Many selected venues were given an extra half hour to let people in and to serve them. 1:30am lockout became the 2am lockout.
Today, Sydney’s nightlife is changing, which Hunter and Bligh researched and wrote here.
But, as a political party, KSO will not just focus on lockouts, Tyson said. They will also target issues around transport, tax, creative industries, housing, gambling, over-regulation, urban planning, and police.
“Our party is advocating for a transparent, inclusive and accountable government,” Tyson said. “Australia is judged on Sydney’s progress, so we need to set the standard in every aspect.
“We don’t want to be known as a ‘casino city’ and we want to stop government planning policies that cave to powerful interests.
“We want to change the NSW Lobbyist Code and allocate more funding to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
“We have an opportunity to return Sydney from being a nanny state to a 24-hour city.”
The political party will also be targeting a number of issues that affect young people, including those who live in inner-city areas.
“We have an opportunity to reopen social spaces across NSW and make this state more affordable: you shouldn’t have to rely on the “bank of mum and dad” to live in Sydney,” Tyson said.
“We need to stimulate, not suffocate this great city. We need seats in Parliament to achieve this.”
KSO’s ‘Party Party’ is expected to help spread their message, and is also expected to help raise funds for the party to help “compete with the major parties if we are to bring back Sydney’s vibrant character.”
“We are a grassroots campaign and our Party Party reflects this,” Tyson said. “We don’t have big corporates bankrolling us. There will be no blue ties or union shirts at our Party Party.
“We want change. We want to go out for a drink or have dinner without permission from the nanny state. We want to go to outdoor concerts without copping overzealous cops.”