You and me, we love art. This love is the driving force behind Work-Shop. When we can we throw our support behind anything and everything creative.

But our support, and your support, often is not enough. Sometimes people just get it wrong. Good intentions be damned, it is hard not to take it personally when the monsters of the world strip everything bare and leave a mess behind.

A beautiful example of this horrible mess was when Brisbane was torn to bits in the Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen years. It took a long time to recover from the tear it down and eradicate anything fun legacy he left behind — although many would say Brisbane didn’t really recover at all.

The old adage tells us if you don’t learn from your mistakes you are doomed to repeat them. It may not be as grave as this, but things are in the works right now that will have wide spread repercussions.

One of our good friends wrote a letter to Queenslands Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk about his thoughts on the changes approaching Brisbane.

It is a nice letter.

Dear Annastacia Palaszczuk,

My name is Alexander L’Estrange and I’m a local Brisbane musician. I have decided to write to you in order to express my concerns with your newly proposed late trading and 1am lock out laws, set to be implemented on the 1st of February 2017 in Queensland.

History has shown that people in communities that are given personal freedom (within reason), empowerment, and the right to make decisions for themselves prosper greatly.

Cities that we revere as culturally rich, liberal and enlightening are those with pasts steeped in texture, ugly and beautiful, but which through the empowerment of its people have given birth to our modern Western ideals. Ideals that have fostered exploration, creativity and excellence within the arts and science, and that have moved us in a direction to seek social equality and betterment.

Some of these ideals come under threat when governments become overly bureaucratic or unrealistic. We see an addiction to policymaking, overly restrictive legislation and rule making, and excessive policing of individuals.

Undoubtedly, a government must do all it can to protect its citizens, but it mustn’t hinder good people’s personal liberty, one of our greatest virtues. We need sensible, pragmatic policies for functioning law and order, not governmental mums and dads telling their adult children when to go to bed.

The Queensland State Government’s newly proposed late trading and 1am lock out laws will hinder the personal liberty of good-natured, honest, adult citizens… and stifle business in the process. It could also pave the way for even more restrictive legislation to be passed by governments in the future.

To some, this legislation may seem moderate and necessary, a way of combatting the tragic drunken violence that we have recently seen in our major cities. However, it’s imperative that rationality overrides emotion when debating the future freedoms of our citizens. These laws cannot correct an individual’s violent nature. When considering a response, we must acknowledge that these tragic events have occurred, thus far, as statistical anomalies, and that the people behind them do not represent the majority.

Furthermore, to argue that legislation such as this would stop binge drinking culture, and not just displace it, is puerile. These laws would do nothing but sweep the problems under the suburban rug, and funnel people away from licensed venues and buzzing malls and into the darker corners of our city, where community protection and police protection is far scarcer.

These laws are not just nonsensical and futile, but an insult to the intelligence and good nature of Queenslanders. In a country that is seeing a rise in social and cultural division, we need to fortify our nightlife and embrace it like other great cities do. We cannot underestimate its power in bringing people together. It’s where new culture, art and communities are shaped. It’s the embodiment of the festive and free Australian spirit that we hold dearly.

I ask you to please reconsider the late trading and 1am lock out laws.

Yours Faithfully,
Alexander L’Estrange

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