New South Wales' new Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has said she is at a "comfortable place" with Sydney's lockout laws during two of her first commercial radio interviews in the role.
Berejiklian was sworn in as NSW premier on Monday, replacing Mike Baird who announced his sudden resignation and retirement from politics last week. She was interviewed yesterday morning on two Sydney radio stations—KIIS 1065 and 2Day FM—to discuss her views on some of the state's most pressing issues. When questioned about Sydney's lockout laws on KIIS 1065, Berejiklian told hosts that she was "kind of at a comfortable place with them now because we had an independent report that said 'come on, you can relax them a little bit,' and we did," referring to the 30-minute extension granted as a result of High Court Judge Ian Callinan QC's independent review of the laws.
Here is the full transcript of Berejiklian's comments:
I'm kind of at a comfortable place with [the lockouts] now because we had an independent report that said 'come on, you can relax them a little bit,' and we did. My basic philosophy in life is let people exercise their freedom, so long as that freedom doesn't impinge on other people. But when it does impinge on other people, governments should be there to protect people, and I really support having a safe environment especially for young people.
I think you can't say it's all black or white, you've got to accept that protecting people is the best and most important job for government. That's why I feel that where we've got to with the lockout laws is a good balance, because it means people can enjoy live music at a reasonable hour but also protecting young people. Mums and dads in the suburbs are worried about what their young kids are doing when they're having a good time, and you don't want to stay up—well I mean, parents stay up worrying anyway—but you want to make sure you've got a government in action that's really thinking about what we can do to keep kids as safe as possible. And also send the right message: it's not OK to have a culture where people think it's cool to get drunk and hit people. I think the lockout laws have really forced people to think about those things and say 'why have we accepted this for a long time, that it's ok as a culture to do this?'The past week has been an eventful one for lockouts in Australia. Earlier this week, the Queensland Government decided they would be abandoning their planned 1 AM lockout just days before it was due to be implemented, while down south a Keep Sydney Open rally was prohibited from taking place by the NSW Supreme Court, leading to the announcement of a new protest on February 18th.