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.
The obvious questions then are:
- Who is Keep Sydney Open
- What is the organisational structure of Keep Sydney Open
- Who controls Keep Sydney Open
- Who is responsible for administering Keep Sydney Open
- Who finances Keep Sydney Open’s activities
- 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.
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.
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.