Strict lock out laws see Madonna locked out of her own party, bar owner claims

A blonde woman next to a bar.
Madonna and a Sydney bar. Photo credit: Getty

Sydney's strict lockout laws led to Madonna being refused entry back into her own party, a bar owner claims.

The laws, introduced in 2014, mean anyone who leaves a bar after 1:30am will not be let back in and the bars must close at 3am, AAP reports.

Bar baron Justin Hemmes, who owns  27 bars, 12 restaurants and six hotels, told a New South Wales parliamentary inquiry on Friday the laws have caused him many problems.

It includes having to refuse entry to Madonna at her own after-party, as well as keeping out the coach of the Chelsea Football Club after he stepped out to take a call.

"They just don't understand what we're doing. It's an embarrassment," he said.

Hemmes is calling for the laws to be repealed, saying they have served their purpose of reducing alcohol-fuelled violence in Sydney's CBD.

"There are now far more efficient and effective means to disperse people home 24 hours a day," he said.

"With respect, Sydney's lockout laws must go. They have served their purpose and Sydney has been recast."

But emergency services workers want them to stay, saying it makes working in the CBD on the weekends easier and safer.

"We should not return to the ugly, deadly and dangerous past of having alcohol as the driver of our economy," Brett Holmes from the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association said on Friday.

"We believe that the lockout laws have been proven very clearly to save lives and to make life better for those people who are given the responsibility for looking after public safety."


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