New party is keeping Sydney open-minded about the big issues

New force: from left, Keep Sydney Open's Cronulla candidate Phillip Burriel, Rockdale candidate George Tulloch, Upper House candidate Wei Thai-Haynes and Kogarah candidate Natalie Resman. Picture: Chris Lane
New force: from left, Keep Sydney Open's Cronulla candidate Phillip Burriel, Rockdale candidate George Tulloch, Upper House candidate Wei Thai-Haynes and Kogarah candidate Natalie Resman. Picture: Chris Lane

"We are the first youth-founded and youth-run political party in NSW," Keep Sydney Open candidate for Rockdale, George Tulloch proudly states.

Started in response to the State Government's lock-out laws, Keep Sydney Open (KSO) has evolved into a new political party representing the youth of NSW and their concerns.

KSO has 42 candidates standing for the Lower House and 21 for the Upper House in State Election 2019, with candidates as far afield as Bathurst, Newcastle, Wollongong and Orange.

The local team is George Tulloch, standing in Rockdale, Natalie Resman in Kogarah, Phillip Burriel in Cronulla and Wei Thai-Haynes standing for the Upper House.

Their election priorities include 24-hour public transport, tackling problem gambling, support for small business, and the more evidence-based policy in response to domestic violence, the environment, health and education.

"We don’t want moralistic decrees from government," George said. "We want evidence before any decisions are made on these policies."

The other big issue for KSO is corruption.

"Legislation should be for the people of NSW not for big business," George said.

"We feel that the Liberal Party is basically a PR firm for big business and the corporations."

KSO was started in response to the lock-out laws by Tyson Koh, a DJ and executive producer of ABCTV music program Rage.

But when KSO supporters looked at how the lock-out laws affected Sydney culture they saw many more issues that were not being properly handled by the government including problem gambling, inadequate public transport and lack of concern for small business.

"It started against the lock-outs but it is more than this," George said.

"It’s opened our eyes to what the political elite had done to us."

KSO was particularly concerned at how the government was using police resources to target music festivals.

"We don’t have a problem with police. We do have a problem with how the government is telling the police to act and use their resources," George said.

"Any music festival with high energy music or targeted at people aged 18 to 29 is seen by the Government to be guaranteed as high risk and this can cost tens-of-thousands of dollars in police resources.

"The Liberals feel they can legislate music out of NSW."

George said the lock-out laws have made the city a more dangerous place.

"Foot traffic dropped up to 80 per cent after lock-out laws but violence rates have gone up. It’s actually more dangerous to be in the city after dark now than before," he said.

KSO Kogarah candidate Natalie Resman said this has also created a problem for women working in the city at night.

"A lot of women in the city after finishing work need the security guard to escort them to public transport or their car," she said.

She said the lock-out laws have also created a bubble around Barangaroo particularly when it comes to problem gambling.

Natalie has seen the problem first-hand after working as a gaming attendant at an RSL.

"Gambling is destroying lives,” she said. “Government should be doing more to reduce, not increase gambling in our community."

The lock-out laws also hit many small businesses but KSO feels that the government’s attitude to small business in general needs to be improved.

Phillip, who runs a coffee shop in Cronulla and a rooftop bar in the CBD, sees the need to be more support for small business, particularly in the shire.

The need for 24-hour public transport is a big priority for KSO.

Natalie said the lack of 24-hour public transport makes it a dangerous endeavour for women to travel particularly if they are travelling home from event late at night.

This goes with her other big concern, the issue of domestic violence.

"St George is very interested in football. It’s proven that domestic violence rises 20 per cent after a football game," Natalie said. "The government is not focusing on that. There needs to be more evidence-based approach to solving domestic violence."

George sees 24-hour public transport as a priority for St George.

"Basically, the Liberals decide how much money can be made for Transdev and other corporations," he said. "We need better public transport and less cars on the roads."

KSO Upper House candidate Wae Thai-Haynes said she got involved because she felt locked-out of two party system.

She is also concerned about the way water has managed in NSW and has been reserved for big business and not being given to the small business of farming which is vitally important to NSW, Australia and the world.

George believes that KSO could do well in the Legislative Council.

"The Upper House is where we have the most hope for," he said.

"We are preferenced by Labor, The Greens, the Animal Justice Party, Sustainable Australia Party and Voluntary Euthanasia Party.

"We think we can make a lot of changes in the Upper House because there’s lots of pockets around the state where there are people who would really care these issues.

"Basically, if you believe that NSW should be open, available and working for everyone and not just the select few you should vote for Keep Sydney Open."