For more than a century, Sydney's two dominant newspapers have been fierce rivals -- despite stark differences in their world views and target audiences. Reporters at The Sydney Morning Herald
, a fixture on Sydney's affluent north shore and eastern suburbs, have long looked down at their Daily Telegraph
competitors as ethically dubious beat-up merchants. At the Tele
, which dominates Sydney's sprawling west, Fairfax types have been dismissed as smug and self-important.
But since teenager Daniel Christie was struck down in Kings Cross by a one-punch assault on New Year's Eve, the papers have marched in lockstep by campaigning for the New South Wales government and wider community to get tough on alcohol-fuelled violence. For 17 days straight, the cry has rung out from the front pages and editorial columns: something must be done. Prime Minister Tony Abbott weighed in last week with a front-page column for the Tele
; today, the Governor-General attended Christie's funeral service.
Such sustained campaigning by both papers on a single issue is unprecedented in recent times, according to former SMH
editor Peter Fray. "Campaigning is easier for the tabloids -- they're virtually on a permanent campaign footing," he said. "The really interesting thing about this is that the Herald
is matching the Tele
The coverage is heaping enormous pressure on Premier Barry O'Farrell to act -- which he has seemed extremely reluctant to do.
's Safer Sydney campaign is calling for 1am lockouts and 3am closing times in trouble spot areas such as Kings Cross. The paper is also offering $2500 to the reader who can create the best advertising campaign against alcohol-fuelled violence. Meanwhile, the Tele
's Enough campaign is calling for the following:
- Be a real mate -- take responsibility for each other and stop violence
- Mandatory minimum jail terms for punches that cause death or serious injury
- 1am lockouts across the Sydney CBD
- More trains to get people home quicker
- Review liquor licences annually, and charge on a risk basis
- Ban the sale of alcohol 30 minutes before the venue closes.
upped the ante today with a story headlined
"Lock these grubs up", showing 93% of respondents to a survey want minimum sentencing for one-punch crimes causing death.