Our question to the Premier: does he recognise the enormous negative impact that the lockouts have had on Sydney's night-time economy and vibrant nightlife, acknowledging that there are other measures that can reduce violence and keep Sydney open?
Ms JENNY LEONG: My question is directed to the Premier. Does the Premier recognise the enormous negative impact that the lockouts have had on Sydney's night-time economy and vibrant nightlife, acknowledging that there are other measures that can reduce violence and keep Sydney open?
Mr MIKE BAIRD: I thank the member for Newtown for her question and her constructive approach to this issue. I understand the sentiments that she has expressed. Certainly, as part of this discussion I will go back a little in the sense of what happened and the reason we put these provisions in place. A couple of years ago there were scenes that not many of us would like to recall. They were horrific. We saw tragic loss of life—young men who could have done anything and gone anywhere were struck down in senseless acts—and there was rightly community outrage against what we saw. The measures we put in place were focused purely on trying to reduce those sorts of incidents and to keep our community safe.
As we look at any provisions or laws that come in, it is entirely appropriate that they are considered in terms of effectiveness and potential impacts. We are in the midst of doing that. As I went through those days I did reflect. I have said it will take a lot to change my mind on this. But that does not mean I am not open to what the review finds—that is why we have established it and that is exactly what we will do. I have had the privilege, in many ways, of meeting with some of the victims' families. If we are honest, none of us can imagine what that would be like—we have to be in their shoes, and we cannot be. But you can see the pain and you can try to understand what that would be like. That is where this debate needs to come to.
We need to understand what these laws and these provisions have done for our city. There is no doubt that they have increased safety and reduced violence. We have to listen to our police, our ambos and our doctors. The Senior Australian of the Year is not talking about this issue just because he wants to talk about it; he is the one who deals with the victims of this violence on too regular a basis. As part of this process I received a lot of constructive feedback on social media. That is part of government today; it is part of public policy—if you have views and positions, people have every right to respond. My hope is that they are not always as abusive as some of those received, but it is part of the process. Having said that, I will give a sample of other comments that were not necessarily seen. I received one from a 28-year-old. She said:
Please do not bow to the pressure of these anti-lockout groups.
I'm 28 years old and I regularly enjoy going out for drinks with my friends, seeing live bands and going to festivals.
The lockout laws have not impacted any of this.
That is her view and her perspective, and we must be open to it. The review is being undertaken—and it is being undertaken by the eminent Ian Callinan, who brings a lifetime of experience of leading evidence-based inquiries and exercising independence in the highest court in the country. He brings great expertise to considering all sides of this debate. I have said on a regular basis that if part of the review shows there are changes we can make to improve the laws and help business and jobs while keeping people safe, we will look at them closely. So I thank the member for her contribution to the debate, and I am very open to it. I encourage everyone to participate. Everyone has ownership of this great city—every single person who counts themselves lucky to live in what I think is the greatest city in the world. We all have a stake in it. On that basis, I encourage everyone who wants to participate in this review to do so. Together, we will continue to keep Sydney the greatest city in the world.