OPINION: Changing lockout rules will force people to act

FOR obvious reasons there has been a lot of talk and debate about patron lockouts at licensed venues, harsher laws for violent acts and a whole raft of other changes.

In my opinion there is no magic solution to all this and it probably is a combination of change that may make some headway.

The other day I was reading a fiction novel where there was a line that said, "Sadly the law is not about justice, it's about conflict resolution."

My take on that is that the legal system has to juggle decisions between what the victim and their family expect, versus the circumstances and what the general public expect on both sides of the matter.

Add to that the scale of punishment the courts work within. We sometimes criticise judges when in actual fact the parliament sets the rules, and guess who elects the parliament - the public.

So if we want harsher penalties, we need to start with our local member of parliament to change the rules - the guidelines that basically we should be living by.

In regard to lockouts, I'm not sure about a 2am lockout and 3am close.

It has no impact on me and what I do, whatsoever, but in my experience it creates other problems.

For instance a venue that refuses entry after 2am will most likely come up against people who aren't happy with that law and challenge them, which ends in assault and injury - and the venue still has to show cause on what happened?

Same with selling certain drinks after certain hours. If some nob is determined to get pissed and give grief, they will manage it another way or dish up the grief earlier.

There also seems no answer for the drugs that people take, either before they go out or when they acquire some near a venue, yet then it becomes the venue's problem when the stuff kicks in, but also seems to work as a defence when the proverbial poop hits the fan. So I am guessing by now you are wondering where is my solution.

It has to come back to the laws set by the parliament - and the first one I would initiate would be 2am close for pubs and clubs. No lockout, just a complete cease of trade.

As Wayne Bennett says, "Nothing good happens after midnight", which is so true.

In saying that, however, people still should be safe. So the penalties for violence have to be harsher and the guidelines stricter to give judges less room to move on the side of lighter sentencing.

I understand that is what the government is trying to achieve at the moment, but we shouldn't be stopping there. I say "we" as we have the opportunity to really change what we are not prepared to put up with.

Maybe we even need a referendum on the death penalty, because it seems our system is not working at the moment.

I am not a right-winger, but in my view every action has a consequence and it us up to us to decide what that is.

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