A guest post from Siobhan Harris:
Melbourne Mayoral candidate John Elliot is calling for nightclubs to close at 1am. He argues that this controversial move will put an end to street violence and keep Melbourne CBD residents safe. This ill-conceived promise will make street violence worse and ensure that residents feel less safe.
Nightclubs in Melbourne typically open around 9pm or 10pm, so if this measure were to come to effect, nightclubbers would only have 3 or 4 hours to enjoy themselves. But of course, nobody goes to a nightclub as soon as it opens (unless free entry before 12pm is offered) because girls and boys are busy getting ready or travelling from suburbia. Plus everybody knows the vibe peaks around 12pm.
When I was a receptionist at a restaurant I used to finish my shift at 2am every weekend. No matter how tired I was I wasn’t going to let another weekend pass me by without hitting the dance floor. So I would head to the nearest club, dance my legs off, drink and head home. It was the perfect system, all of my friends would be there and we shared some very memorable moments.
If I wasn’t able to do that, I’d take the party home. House parties would flourish, and what’s more, there’d be no legally responsible person telling you you’ve drunk too much or no security guard to boot you out. You’d just drink until you spewed and probably drink some more. House parties are so much more dangerous than nightclubs, underage drinkers aren’t asked to present identification and the booze is usually a rocket fuel concoction of spirits and soft drink.
But let’s just say nightclub X closed its doors at 1am, this would result in an outpour of club patrons all fired up and angry that they’ve been asked to leave. So they do what fired up and angry men and women do best, fight. Street brawls would be commonplace.
I also used to work as a street club promoter, picking up girls and guys off the street and then bringing them into the club to boost the numbers. I’m more qualified than anybody on this topic because I’ve seen the carnage on the streets when people are rejected from their favourite destination. I asked a guy once if he’d like to come in, he said yes and we headed to the door of the club. Unfortunately for him he was rejected because the bouncer suspected that he was drunk. This man travelled all the way out from the outer suburbs to drink and he was not happy, boy was he not happy. He punched the nearest guy walking past and both of them started throwing punches left right and centre. I’ve also witnessed a stabbing, the guy said it felt like getting punched really hard in the stomach.
I live in Melbourne CBD and I’ve even lived on King St. What I don’t want to see is a mass exodus of drunken idiots annoyed that they can’t party on. I want nightclubs to end when they feel that they should. Not to mention the effect it would have on small businesses. Nightclubs, bars and strip clubs would have to cut corners that would probably include job losses.
We can’t afford the extra street violence, we can’t afford the cost to businesses and we can’t afford to close our clubs just because some misguided candidate has a disproportionate fear towards youths.