In Australia, one of the current social media revolutions is the fate of Sydney Lockout Laws. The debate over Sydney’s controversial pub and club lockout laws is heating up as a long-awaited review of the measures nears release, and those opposing the lockouts challenge the framework’s supporters to match the massive anti-lockout rallies.
The measures, which included a 1:30am lockout at nightspots and 3:00am “last drinks” in the city, were introduced in March 2014 after a sting of violent alcohol-related assaults around the Sydney CBD. The laws were immediately criticised as too heavy-handed, and have been blamed for the closure of many Sydney clubs, pubs, and venues.
The anti-lockout group Keep Sydney Open threw down the challenge to pro-lockout campaigners to prove their support with public rallies. Keep Sydney Open has held large public demonstrations attracting thousands of people. They advocate for a more considered and nuanced response to alcohol-fuelled violence including proven measures around policing, transport, planning, diversification of after-dark activity, anti-violence education campaigns, positive incentives for licensees and the introduction of a night mayor.
The Keep Sydney Open campaign used social media to bring awareness and support to the issue of lockout laws in Australia. They implemented an effective and viral hashtag: #KeepSydneyOpen. This hashtag was used to voice the opinions of anti-lockout law supporters and it allowed the campaign to target demographics between 18-30 as these are the people who are affected by the laws the most. Social media made it possible for these supporters to speak freely and spread their message to those who want to hear it.
In my opinion, there is much to be done before imposing curfew…