Today, Keep Sydney Open is announcing its official registration as a state political party in NSW. It will contest seats in both houses of Parliament at the 2019 NSW state election, with a focus on seats in the Legislative Council or ‘upper house’.
The effort was achieved after a 6-month campaign, where Keep Sydney Open was able to meet the requirements to register with the NSW Electoral Commission. The party registration process in NSW is noted as being the most difficult in Australia.
Tyson Koh, spokesperson for the party, said: “This is bigger than a rally — way bigger. By putting lockout laws on the ballot of next year’s election, people now have a real choice and a course of action to rescind these laws, wind back the ‘nanny state’ and build a 24-hour city.
“For more than over four years, our group has represented every person who believes that lockout laws were a knee-jerk reaction. We see with our own eyes that these laws have devastated the both the night-time economy and reputation of what was once a vibrant international city.”
The KSO campaign has so far achieved:
- A 30-minute relaxation of lockout laws and cease of service times for music venues;
- A pushback of bottle shop closing times from 10pm to 11pm across NSW;
- A lifting of lockout laws for the Mardi Gras parade;
- Changes to ‘small bar’ regulations; and
- A turning of the state of Sydney’s nightlife into a mainstream issue.
“We all know that Sydney is a magical place, but the magic has been missing for some time,” Koh said. “People now recognise that the NSW Government is largely responsible for this.
“What many don’t realise, however, is that Keep Sydney Open’s supporters were never concerned with lockouts alone. Instead, we’ve come together with a common desire to make this the best city it can be. We know that it’s not about what time we can enter a venue, it’s about asking: What city do we want?
“We are the first party in NSW set up to address cultural and youth issues. Young people all over NSW who would ordinarily vote Liberal or Labor are looking at those parties’ policies with bewilderment. We feel cheated, and being locked out of social spaces as well as the housing market has led to a generation of disillusioned young adults.
“We’ve spent over a century organically cultivating social precincts without government interference. The people of Sydney deeply resent their playground being destroyed. We don’t want to be known as a ‘casino city’, and want to address the corrupt governance that’s destroying Sydney.
“We know that a confident and diverse nightlife is a safer and more welcoming. We advocate for a suite of interventions across transport, law enforcement, public health, creative industries, licensing and planning. An approach that respects data, expertise, genuine consultation, transparency and good governance will have a great impact on the day-time economy too.
“In short, we want to be proud of Sydney again.”