Hundreds gathered in central Brisbane today (March 11) to protest proposed new laws that would enforce a tough state-wide curfew on nightclubs and live music venues.

Under controversial new measures aimed at tackling alcohol-related violence, the Queensland Police Union has recommended to a parliamentary inquiry that all pubs in the state be forced to close at midnight. And with the exception of a few designated "entertainment precincts" such as the inner-city Fortitude Valley suburb of Brisbane, police are supporting a 2am close of trading for the state's nightclubs.

At present, venues in the state capital have a 5am curfew, and guests cannot enter the premises after the 3am "lockout," which was imposed state-wide in 2006.

A boisterous crowd of about 500 gathered outside the state parliament today to rally against the controversial shutdown proposals. Participants carried banners which proclaimed "Save the Music." At one stage, a chant sparked off, "We don't need your legislation. We don't need your forced control," sung to the tune of Pink Floyd's classic "Another Brick In The Wall."

"We don't believe [Queensland premier] Anna Bligh has taken all relevant issues into consideration with these drastic measures," comments Zach Salar, organizer of the "Reclaim the Nightlife" rally and founder of Brisbane lobby group Queensland Locked Out. In an open letter to parliament, Salar warned, "reduced trading hours will kill off the music scene in Queensland and the Valley, which has given life to every major band from the Bee Gees to Powderfinger." He concluded, "Please, do not destroy the culture of our great State."

Any new legislation would have to wait until after the state's Law, Justice and Safety Committee into alcohol-related violence reports its findings to the legislative assembly, a development on which is expected any day now.

The turnout for today's rally was dwarfed by a Feb. 23 march in central Melbourne. Some 10,000-plus protesters assembled for that event, which rose up in response to local alcohol licensing regulations which had contributed to the closure of the iconic Tote live music venue. People-power paid off: following the rally, the state government committed $250,000 Australian ($230,000) in funding for the newly-created music lobby body Music Victoria, which intends to play a central support role to the live music business.