Who are we?

Belinda Neal, at the time the Labor member for the seat of Robertson in the federal parliament, was reported to have said

Don’t you know who I am?

during an incident with staff at Iguanas nightclub on the central coast in June 2008. Mrs Neal went on to have a checkered career. Recently she was expelled from membership of the NSW Labor Party.

In Tasmania, in 2009 a government minister apologised after going on a tirade against a security guard and asking:

Don’t you know who I am?

In The Newcastle Song, Normie turns the spotlight from himself to a member of the Hells Angels by asking:

What are you?

So there are a number of questions people must confront:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What am I known as?
  3. Who are we (collectively)?
  4. What are we (collectively) known as?

As inhabitants of Australia question 3 is contemplated frequently.

The song I am Australian attempts to answer that question:

It has been said one can’t know who one is unless one first knows where one came from, and unless one knows both of those things, one can’t properly assess where one is going.

Sadly, there exist two schools of thought which are not useful in contemplating the future. The first is a slave to history, feels comfortable in the past and basically wishes the future to be a continuation of the present/past. The second, for whatever reasons, abhors the past, judges the past by the present and wishes the past didn’t exist (in action this means going to extreme lengths to obliterate all traces of the past) and sees the future in terms of a set of untested ideals.

With Daily Telegraph writers Daryl Passmore and Annabel Hennessy (“Growing strains”, Daily Telegraph, 3 November 2017, p.7) reporting:

  • Australia is expected to reach the Australian Bureau of Statistics 1998 predicted population of 24.9 million people in 2051 by mid 2018
  • Sydney is expected to reach a population of 9 million by 2051, three million more than the 1998 prediction for 2051.

now is not the time for inappropriate thinking. Proper, issues-based discussion is necessary.

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Whilst it is important we all participate in the big canvas discussions, the reality for most is that we are too busy managing our own micro lives, and attending to “spot fires” in our own neighbourhoods, to do so in any meaningful way.

The inspiration for this post came from my chance discovery of an Irish singer Michael English whose work I am really impressed by. One of the songs he sings is  From The Highlands to Ireland :

On my mother’s side my heritage is a mixture of pure Scot and Irish (the Scots having made the trip across the Irish sea), so this song caused me to think about Australia – in Normie’s terms “What are you?”.

On my father’s side the heritage is English.

So as a white, male, baby boomer, Anglo-Saxon (kinda) Protestant (I’m an atheist but was brought up as an Anglican), the prevailing view on social media seems to be that my views are irrelevant and in some quarters that I should be shut up or shut down. However, I was never one to simply go along with the prevailing view.  Rather, I take and espouse the view which I consider to be the correct one.

To sign off this post I’m adding another two songs by my newly found star, Michael English.

First, The Blacksmith and the Barman:

Secondly, Ding Dong, Sing my Song:

 

 

 

 

Kings Cross is transitioning

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The dishonest folk of Keep Sydney Open proclaim Kings Cross in 2017 is a “ghost town”. Apparently they pine for the old Kings Cross, the one they say was “vibrant”, of the pre-2014 lockout Mayhem Period. They claim the lockout laws devastated the “late night” economy of Kings Cross. The lockout laws imposed a curfew on alcohol sales after 3am, taking away the right to sell alcohol in the 3am to 8am period. The period 3am-8am could hardly be described as “late night”. A better description is “early morning”.

Some alcohol vendors departed the scene immediately the lockout laws were introduced, indicating they were well aware their business model was dependent on the early morning period. Those dependent on late night trading (up until 3am) did not have to take a hit because of the lockout laws, and would not have done so, had they adjusted their business model, remained positive and promoted their late night businesses. Instead, they went into full on whinger mode, declaring the ruination of Kings Cross and bitterly attacking the government of the day. In this they were ably supported by the Kings Cross Chamber of Commerce (known as Potts Point Partnership), which it seemed placed priority on looking after its alcohol industry members, rather than promoting and assisting the “non-alcohol” section of their membership base.

The whinger whiner mode adopted by the industry players was to a large extent a self-fulfilling prophesy, as no doubt punters stayed away because of the negative publicity. After all – who wants to join a sinking ship?

Those with foresight saw a great opportunity arising out of  “lockouts” for the non-alcohol sector.

The alcohol industry had dominated the Kings Cross economy pre-2014. Some say it had cannibalised it.

Within 2 years of lockouts over 70 new businesses had started in Kings Cross, as reported in March 2016.

The move into a balanced diverse economy in Kings Cross – away from an alcohol industry based monoculture – continues, and seems to be gaining momentum in the second half of 2017.

For example, A Squad called Savage – a fitness studio – opened in October 2017 in premises in Springfield Mall. The premises, despite having DA approval for a licensed restaurant, had been vacant and unoccupied for 9 years, creating an eyesore in the heart of the Cross with its garish “To Let” signage.

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A little while earlier Almeida – a hair salon – opened in premises which, likewise, had been vacant for a very long time.

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A few months ago Petal & Fern – a florist – opened a shop front store in Kings Cross.

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In mid 2017 Fashion+Music+Friends – clothing – opened a pop-up shop and is now looking for a long term lease. The proprietor says she made the decision to move from Paddington to Kings Cross because “it’s the place to be”.

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Opening on 4 November 2017 in Darlinghurst Road, Kings Cross is Double Cross Clothing.  

Live Music received a real boost mid-year in Kings Cross with The Beat nightclub opening at 42 Darlinghurst Rd. It has non-stop live music 6 nights per week. Regrettably patronage is not higher than it is. Where are all the Keep Sydney Open people who marched in the streets for longer alcohol sales hours, saying extended hours were necessary for culture and particularly live music?

The Osaka Bar now has live music two nights per week – on Tuesday and Thursday – with Sumiko Jones and John and Yuki Jazz Band .

The transformation of the Kings Cross economy from an alcohol based monocultural one to a healthy diverse one continues…..

 

Keep Sydney Open

kso sign removal for duke

Keep Sydney Open, its members and/or supporters have made vicious attacks on residents of Kings Cross.

From spreading false memes about Kings Cross, such as “Kings Cross is dead”, “residents want everyone tucked up in bed by 9.30pm” to the most vile and malicious false defamatory statements about residents – nothing is a bridge too far for the Keep Sydney Open movement.

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The obvious questions then are:

  1. Who is Keep Sydney Open
  2. What is the organisational structure of Keep Sydney Open
  3. Who controls Keep Sydney Open
  4. Who is responsible for administering Keep Sydney Open
  5. Who finances Keep Sydney Open’s activities
  6. Is it a ‘democratic” organisation, with a broad based membership. Do the members have a say in the running of the organisation.

The website of Keep Sydney Open doesn’t provide any real answers to those questions.

To the person in the street, Keep Sydney Open is just an informal Facebook group who have been able to marshall folk to attend protest rallies against NSW liquor laws (notably the suite of measures introduced by the NSW government in February 2014 and known colloquially as Lockouts), the spokesperson for whom is Tyson Koh, an accomplished media performer.

Here another spokesperson for the Keep Sydney Open movement, City of Sydney councillor, Jess Scully sets out the aims of KSO – to repeal ALL the 2014 amendments to the Liquor Act.

In examining the questions above, and without any inside information, one has to gather together pieces of information that are scattered about.

Domain Name registration

The domain name keepsydneyopen.com was frst registered on 28 January 2014, just days after NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell announced the government’s intention to introduce lockout laws.

domain name rego 6 months ago

Keep Sydney Open Ltd

Keep Sydney Open Ltd intended to hold a protest event in Kings Cross on 21 January 2017 from 9.00 pm until midnight and as organisers of it gave Notice of that intention to the Commissioner of Police. The NSW Police objected. The Supreme Court of NSW prohibited the event.

That court case was the first most knew of the existence of Keep Sydney Open Ltd.

Keep Sydney Open Ltd was incorporated on 16 December 2016, following an application for incorporation made by Stephan Gyory on 30 November 2016.

Stephan Gyory is President of Darlinghurst Business Partnership (the Darlinghurst Chamber of Commerce) and owner of The Record Store which sells vinyl to DJ’s.

The constituent documents (current as at July 2017) of Keep Sydney Open Ltd can be viewed here.

The company has a peculiar organisational structure. Stephan Gyory is the company secretary. There are three directors, who appear to exercise ultimate control of it. The directors are Stephan Gyory, Tyson Koh – a DJ himself- and known as the KSO media spokesperson and Madeline Dwyer of Birchgrove. It seems however that administration of the company lies in the hands of a group of Governors, who are appointed by the Directors on payment of a fee to be set by the Directors. There are to be a maximum of 25 governors and a minimum of 2.

Until Keep Sydney Open Ltd discloses who the governors are and what fees have been paid by them for a seat at the table, one is left in the dark.

Until Keep Sydney Open Ltd discloses how it fits into the “organisational structure” of the KSO movement, one will be left guessing.

Mat Henderson – Lawyer for Keep Sydney Open Ltd

Mat Henderson is a NSW legal practitioner. He holds a “secret registration” as a lawyer (that is a search on the Law Society of NSW find a lawyer engine will not turn up his name). He holds a current practicing certificate as a corporate lawyer. Perhaps the secret registration stems from his activities in earlier years.

On 7 July 2017 Mat Henderson was acting pro-bono for Keep Sydney Open Ltd when he wrote:-

KSO is not (and never has been) a recipient (directly or indirectly) of any funds from a political party or a business or individuals involved in the liquor and hospitality industries. Offers have of course been made but they have been refused. It is a central tenet of KSO’s philosophy that it is a community organisation dedicated to restoring the vibrancy of Sydney’s nightlife for the cultural betterment and safety of all citizens, and to do so free from fear or favour of any vested financial or institutional interests.

[Bolding added for emphasis]

2011 Residents Association say the Keep Sydney Open banner erected by a major player in the Sydney alcohol industry, namely the Kings Cross Hotel, was the equivalent of a donation in kind to the Keep Sydney Open movement of $30.000.

The “lockout loving residents” reported the unlawful erection of the banner to authorities.

Organising Committee member – Jacqui Munro

KSO organising committee member Jacqui Munro ( a one time political staffer for Gladys Berejiklian ) resigned when KSO announced it intended seeking a seat in the NSW Legislative Council at the 2019 NSW state elections.

She felt the organisation was going too far, and well beyond the aim of repealing ALL the 2014 Liquor Act amendments.

Such a repeal would most likely see a return to the Mayhem Period in Kings Cross.

Organisation/Funding?

In the absence of any clear open and honest statement from those “in the know” in the Keep Sydney Open movement, it is difficult for the public and supporters of KSO, to get a clear picture of the organisational structure of KSO and who funds its activities.

 

Welcome

After years of being a Luddite and not having a website to call my own, I’ve decided to dip my toe in the waters and establish one.

I have been a twitter user for years and have enjoyed the discipline it provides…forcing one to really think about words and get your intended message across in 140 characters. Sometimes however, it is necessary to expand on an idea – and this website is intended to provide the space to do just that.

Back in the 1970’s I was a fan of the writing style of Lord Denning, with his staccato sentences and simple words. His style did not receive universal acclaim, and indeed in some quarters was received with derision, particularly by those who favour a prolix style and see writing as an opportunity to demonstrate their extensive vocabulary.

In a busy world in a rush to get things done, one tends to “rush off at the mouth” (particularly if one has the luxury of  a typist to transcribe the words left on a dictaphone), without taking the time to stop and think: How can I write this better? How can I make my meaning clear in the simplest way? Will I be understood by the recipient of the message? In those circumstances it is easy to fall unconsciously into the trap of the long-winded.

Twitter, however, has changed all that. It necessitates one becoming a fan of the Lord Denning style of writing.

I do hope you enjoy my posts or find the information I present useful. However this website is not designed to entertain or inform you. It is meant to provide me with an easily searchable database of information which I have discovered, and which to date I have had to search for on my computer, often without success, because of my failure to design a good indexing or archiving system.