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Students are required to research and write a critical essay on a current government social policy of their choice (examples can include family policies, migration policies, education policies, crime policies, drug and alcohol policies etc). Students should choose a specific policy and not discuss the broad categories of policies.

The background discussion should give a brief explanation of what is social policy and what it hopes to achieve. It should address the rationale for the policy and the way the policy was formulated and implemented.

Based on their knowledge and research about what social policy is meant to achieve and drawing on wider research on policies in other jurisdictions, students should critically assess the successes and failures of this policy.

Finally, students should make recommendations that would allow this policy to have more successful outcomes

What is Social Policy and its Goals

A social policy refers to any rules or code of conduct that has been designed for the welfare of the people living in the society. It is for this reason that the Government imposes many rules or acts that can keep a check on these activities. Some of the social evils are the problems of drugs, alcoholism, migration, poverty, health problems, houselessness and others (Spector & Kitsuse, 2017). Some of these policies also include the responsibility of providing proper care to the old people and the children. The main point of their achievement is to see that there is no inequality among people. The social policies are mainly made by the Government based on the condition of the social evils going on in the society. The local people who often become the victims of these social evils report their grievances to the government through the different politicians’ or other such public forums.  The Government formulates these policies and channelizes the same through the local governing bodies.

One such social policy is the lock out law that was created by the Government of NSW in February 2014, in order to impose a ban on the habit of drinking at late night. The law was mainly hinted at bringing about a ban on people entering the clubs, bars, and other such places after 1.30am. The lock outs would start at 1.30am and the last drinks would be till 3 am. This was mainly implemented by the Government of NSW after the repeated assaults and deaths of teenagers on the road at night. These deaths mainly happened due to the physical violence that was started after people went into the effect of prolonged alcoholism. It was becoming a repeated incident especially during the New Year’s eve on the Kings Cross road.

The Lock out laws came into existence in the year 2014 and they were particularly imposed at the areas like the Kings Cross, the CBD area and many other such targeted regions that were vulnerable to be affected by the alcoholism and other such social crimes (Broadhurst, Lee & Chan, 2016). However, as per the opinion of Brannen, (2017), a policy is not successful until and unless there are a proper review and feedback of the same. It has been seen through the surveys that after the implementation of this law the rate of violence and murders in the targeted areas had reduced by a significant amount. As per the opinion of Donnelly, Poynton, and Weatherburn, (2017), it has been seen that over a period of about eight months the reduction in the rate of the violence and the assaults in the Kings Cross area reduced by 32percent and about 26 percent in the CBD area. This shows that the effort of the politicians and the NSW police force has been really active in maintaining the law (Giancaspro, 2015).


Reduction in a non-domestic assault since Jan 2014

Kings Cross Precinct

Down 49%

Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct

Down 13%

Proximal displacement area*

Up 12%

Distal displacement area**

Up 17%

Rest of NSW

Up 0.8%

So, it is evident that there has been a good amount of reduction in the number of non-domestic violence that was taking place on the Kings Cross road. Apart from this there also has been a decreasing in the crimes taking place in other such areas located in and around the targeted places. However it has been argued by Fisher, Wadd, and Clancey, (2018) the law has failed to bring an overall improvement in the condition of the drink and murder cases or other such crimes that were taking place in Kings Cross, CBD area, and other such places. This is because though there has been a significant reduction in the rate of the non-domestic violence in the CBD area and the Kings Cross area but at the same time the crime rate has increased in the rest of the regions outside the lockout zones. In other words, the law is a failure to bring an overall development in the country. It is also seen that the Victorian government seems to be in dead against of the lock out laws. As per the argument of Ross et al., (2017) this lock out law is a huge shame on the face of the nightlife of the NSW.

Background Discussion of Lockout Law in NSW

The Government t of NSW must have been sensible enough to make sure that they are being al to stop the rate of crimes and at the same time maintaining the culture, business, and the economy of NSW. The non-domestic assaults in the regions outside the lockout areas have risen by risen by 12 percent. It is also seen that there is a 17percent rise in the number of crimes taking place in the other time night entertainment districts as well, like Bondi, Cooge, and other such places. So, it is clear that the law is only concentrated in a few places and has not been able to bring about an all-pervasive solution (Miller et al., 2014).

As there is a ban on the pubs and the nightclubs after 1 am and there is also a ban on the home delivery or the takeaway systems, many of the drinkers are actually resenting the practice and are moving away outside the lockout places (Shakeshaft & Farrel, 2016). They might try to find their entertainment in other places and this means the rate of crime and violence is just shifting to places other than that of Kings Cross and the CBD regions. This case of the shifting treat is really an area of major concern and this has to be taken under strict check. As per the opinion of Mitra et al.,  (2017) the Victorian Government, on the other hand, has never been in favor of such lock out laws.  They believe in implementing the laws that would make people aware of the threats of excessive alcohol consumption through means like penalties and arrests. As per their perception, the laws like NSW lockouts would simply ruin the economy and the socio-cultural aspects of places like Melbourne.

The Victorian government is of the opinion that imposing the lockout the law would just increase the chances of the crimes. The drinkers would just seek their means of entertainment in some other places and carry on their crimes over there. So, Victorian residents and the Government of Victoria are not in support of this lock out law at all. They believe in sticking by the traditional rules and acts that would measure the alcoholism amount in the blood of people who drink and drive. On finding it above the level of 0.5, they impose fines on them. Apart from this, they also use the other methods like that of arresting the individuals who might commit severe crimes like assaulting others or indulging in many violent activities. They follow the traditional law that is Victoria’s Summary Offences Act 1966 which has some of the common grounds as per which the cops might arrest people on grounds of alcoholism or other drug addictions (Kelly, 2017). On the other hand, Gotsis and Wales, (2015) have stated that the lockout law of NSW has increased the chances of crime on one hand and has also put an unnecessary ban on the means of entertainment of people. This is also a huge slap on the face of tourists and a major portion of the NSW residents who are attracted towards the nightlife of Sydney.

Assessment of the Successes and Failures of the Law

Hughes and Weedon-Newstead, (2017) have stated that the opinion of Lord Mayor clearly argues that, the NSW lock out law has only been a partial success. As per the opinion of the Lord Mayor, the lock out laws only shammed and blew away the rich nightlife of Sydney rather than enforcing sensible, smart and careful safety precautions for the people. However one cannot ignore this fact that even after the politicians have resigned from their post the NSW police force have been really active in implementing the rules properly thus reducing the rate of assaults and crimes considerable.  However, Donnelly et al., (2016) have argued that there are also negative consequences of his law. Melbourne is one of the places that is getting badly affected by this lock out law.  The Minister for Liquor Regulation Jane Garrett has forwarded this argument that Melbourne is supposed to be the 24-hour city that will provide people with a 24-hour public transportation and entertainment facilities. However, with the imposition of this lockout law, people can no longer reap the benefits of this 24-hour facility. This is also a major blow to the trade and commerce.

Victorian Government believes that they must have a system where they will be able to enjoy a drink with their friends and family at any pubs, without the fear of being assaulted and attacked (Fisher, Wadds & Clancey, 2018). There must be no ban or lockouts on the pubs and bars to operate or serve drinks to people at night rather there must be strict laws imposed on people who get violent after drinking. In other words, the rest of the people must not be put under any lock out laws just for stopping some who are guilty of the offensive crimes. It can be said that after the imposition of the lock out laws Sydney is becoming a ghost town and that is really very undesirable.

The people of NSW are also in demand for getting some relaxations on the lock out laws so that they can enjoy the night life to a greater extent. The NSW government has however shown their acceptance to this public demand. They have agreed to give some relaxations and extend the time of the lockout from 1.30 to 2 am and the last drink would be served till 3.30am. They will also allow the residents to get drinks served at their table till 11 pm rather than 1-pm at night. However, all these relaxations would be done only after getting the approval from the NSW government (Allman & McCormack, 2016). However, the question still remains that whether the relaxations will benefit the people or satisfy their demands.

So, it can be concluded that the NSW lock out law has been able to reduce the rate or the assaults and crimes by a good amount. It has been beneficial to the people of NSW but only to a partial amount or in a half done manner. This is because the reduction of crimes is concentrated only to a few restricted areas. The chances of crimes are just getting shifted from the lockout to the non-lock out ones. On the other hand, this lockout law might make the lives of the local people fall in even greater dangers. The assaulters might shift their concern to other places where the lock out law is not strictly imposed. This law would also bring a death blow to the local markets like the bars, pubs, and nightclubs. This is because these units make up the major business of NSW and bring a great boost to the economy. However, the lockout law limits the business hours thus affecting the number of sales considerable. Hence the lock out law must be a bit liberal for the local residents.


Allman, K., & McCormack, J. (2016). Cover story: Breaking the prison cycle. LSJ: Law Society of NSW Journal, (25), 28.

Brannen, J. (2017). Mixing methods: Qualitative and quantitative research. Routledge.

Broadhurst, R., Lee, K. W., & Chan, C. Y. (2016). Crime trends. In Understanding criminal justice in Hong Kong (pp. 75-98). Routledge.

Dinh, M. M., Wu, J., & Ivers, R. (2016). Has there been a shift in alcohol?related violence to neighbouring inner city ‘lockout law’exclusion areas in Sydney?. Emergency Medicine Australasia, 28(5), 611-613.

Donnelly, N., Weatherburn, D., Routledge, K., Ramsey, S., & Mahoney, N. (2016). Did the “lockout law” reforms increase assaults at The Star casino, Pyrmont?. Star, 1(2).

Donnelly, N., Poynton, S., & Weatherburn, D. (2017). The effect of a lockout and last drinks laws on non-domestic assaults in Sydney: An update to September 2016. BOCSAR NSW Crime and Justice Bulletins, 12.

Fisher, D. G., Wadds, P., & Clancey, G. (2018). The patchwork of alcohol-free zones and alcohol-prohibited areas in New South Wales (Australia). Safer Communities, 17(2), 94-102.

Giancaspro, M. (2015). Late night lockout laws: Evaluating responses to alcohol-fuelled violence. Alternative Law Journal, 40(2), 118-122.

Gotsis, T., & Wales, N. S. (2015). Protests and the Law in NSW. NSW Parliamentary Research Service.

Hughes, C. E., & Weedon-Newstead, A. S. (2017). Investigating displacement effects as a result of the Sydney, NSW alcohol lockout legislation. Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy, 1-11.

Kelly, A. (2017). Anti-mask laws proposed in Victoria. Green Left Weekly, (1138), 12.

Miller, P., Palmer, D., McFarlane, E., & Curtis, A. (2014). Key stakeholder views of venue lockouts in Newcastle and Geelong. Crime Prevention and Community Safety, 16(1), 38-53.

Mitra, B., Charters, K. E., Spencer, J. C., Fitzgerald, M. C., & Cameron, P. A. (2017). Alcohol intoxication in non?motorised road trauma. Emergency Medicine Australasia, 29(1), 96-100.

Ross, N., Johnston, L., Cocks, J., & Stoker, L. (2017). Evidence-Based Law and Practice with Disadvantaged Populations: Perspectives of Parents Involved in Child Protection Proceedings. Newcastle L. Rev., 12, 23.

Shakeshaft, A., & Farrell, M. (2016). Re: Liquor Law Review for the NSW Government’s Justice Department. Chopra, S., van der Rijt, R. G., Ngo, Q., Clarke, F. K., Southwell-Keely, J. P., Robledo, K., & Moisidis, E. (2018). A comparison of maxillofacial trauma before and after implementation of lockout laws in Sydney. Australasian Journal of Plastic Surgery, 1(1).

Spector, M., & Kitsuse, J. I. (2017). Constructing social problems. Routledge.

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