When Mike Baird’s government introduced Sydney’s infamous 1.30am lockout, an abundance of conspiracy theories emerged. Some said that big-time developers had weaseled their way into the premier’s hip-pocket. Others speculated the government had been overrun by fundamentalist religious zealots. But Paul G Roberts isn’t really interested in any of that. He’s too busy working on a solution.
The former adman’s new film After the Lockouts explores the cold hard facts. “It’s not a witch hunt,” he says. “The government, the police, the doctors believe we need to have the lockouts. But the social, economic and cultural value of nightlife to a city is plainly irrefutable. The film is about what the real truth is. Without emotion: just with evidence.”
Enlisting the opinions of local business owners Dave Evans (Hugos) and Maurice Terzini (The Dolphin, Icebergs), Keep Sydney Open’s Tyson Koh, and mayors of Berlin and Amsterdam among other experts, After the Lockouts aims to dismantle the misconceptions driving community support for the legislation. Over the next four weeks, the film’s rollout will be announced across cinemas and digital platforms, hoping to catch the attention of the state’s policymakers.
“If you repeat a lie often enough, people will take it as a truth. That’s what’s happened in Sydney,” says Roberts. “This whole thing has been embraced as a popular truth, but there’s clear evidence it’s a falsehood. We simply do not live in a city that’s so violent and dangerous the government needs to protect us. It’s one of the safest places in the world.”
The film represents the first phase of 24 Sydney, a wider campaign to re-establish Sydney as a global 24-hour city and re-energise the night-time economy Roberts claims is worth twice as much the tourism industry.
“I hope this film provides unequivocal evidence why Sydney needs to be an amazing 24-hour city, why lockouts need to go and why nightlife needs to be promoted as crucially as tourism.”
The Australian premier of After the Lockouts happens Thursday February 1 and will then roll out across cinemas and digital platforms. For more information go to afterthelockouts.com.