Independent MP Shelley Archer has decided to support Western Australia's State Government's Prostitution Bill, assuring it will be passed by Parliament.
The legislation attempts to regulate the sex industry by requiring brothels to be licensed and allowing workers to receive standard workplace conditions such as worker's compensation.
Ms Archer says has told the Legislative Council she decided to support the Bill because she believes new laws are needed to help prevent the sexual exploitation of Aboriginal women and children.
A toxic trifecta of drugs, alcohol and pornography is fuelling a culture of violence against women and children. They are being bashed, raped, disabled and killed, their lives are marked by desperation and terror.
Given the reality of the situation this Bill at least provides some protection against exploitation of the women involved and some capacity for communities to control the operation of brothels.
A detailed manual overseeing the world's oldest profession is to be introduced in Western Australia soon and will explain how to run a brothel and the safest way to work as a prostitute.
The 50-page draft policy, titled Code of Practice: Occupational Health and Safety in the Sexual Services Industry , will be completed soon after long-awaited prostitution laws pass through Parliament, expected to be early next month.
The code of practice, the first of its kind for WA's sex industry, covers issues that prostitutes, brothels and escort workers encounter on a regular basis, including regular health checks and safe sex practices.
The guidelines recommend prostitutes not be on duty for more than 12 hours, have three-monthly health checks for sexually transmitted infections and be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.
New sex workers should be given induction training on how to handle difficult clients, how to refuse services, deal with workplace violence, sexism and harassment, how to put on a condom properly and what to do if a condom breaks during sex.
Unclean or faulty equipment such as spas and sex toys, condom breakage, escort work to unknown or unsafe locations and unchanged linen are identified as industry hazards.
Industry insiders have welcomed the imminent introduction of the code, saying it is long overdue.
The draft code was developed last year by a group consisting of sex workers, medical experts, local government and Health Department representatives. Ms Forrester said the group would meet again soon after the laws were passed to finalise the code.
The Western Australia (WA) parliament has passed a controversial bill which will decriminalise brothels and give prostitutes basic working rights, including superannuation and workers compensation.
The bill will see the regulation of brothels and escort agencies in WA, where prostitution is legal but running a brothel is not. Nor is living off the earnings of prostitution.
WA's Liberal Opposition opposed the legislation but it passed with the support of independent MP Shelley Archer in exchange for the promise of drug, alcohol and sex education programs for Aboriginal children in the northern Kimberley region.
Western Australia's Opposition Leader Colin Barnett said hw would scrap laws legalising brothels. He said he would not allow brothels to spread across suburbs. He intended to regulate the industry by licensing brothels in designated areas.
If elected, a Liberal government will repeal the Prostitution Amendment Bill 2007, B arnett said: A Liberal government will not allow the spreading of brothels throughout the suburbs and towns of WA.'
Barnett and Opposition police spokesman Rob Johnson have been calling for changes to WA's new prostitution laws for months.
Johnson said only a few designated areas would be allowed in WA: W e can't afford mini-brothels operating in residential areas where you have men coming and going all the time to satisfy their sexual pleasures. Legalising brothels hasn't worked in the
east. Since legalising brothels, there has been a proliferation of legal and illegal brothels.
A sexual health expert is calling for the decriminalisation of prostitution across Australia, saying it will help
prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
Basil Donovan from the National Centre in HIV is using a study of sex workers in New South Wales, where prostitution has been decriminalised, to back his call.
The study shows that sex workers in that state have lower rates of sexually transmitted diseases than their counterparts in other areas of Australia.
Sex worker Sharon said: When I came to Sydney I couldn't believe the difference in attitude, you know, workers don't have to worry about getting a criminal record or worrying about police knocking down the door.
I found that working in New South Wales has been more conducive to accessing health services and taking control of my health than when I was in Perth worried about, you know, the police or when I was in Victoria feeling forced and insulted and
degraded and invaded by having to go for mandatory testing.
Basil Donovan said: In Sydney you are looking at a chlamydia prevalence that means how many women are infected in any one day are one to two per cent in Sydney sex workers.
The general population of prevalence for women of the same age is four to five per cent. Count the school girls is about one to two per cent or slightly higher. The prevalence of gonorrhoea in sex workers in Sydney is about as close as you can get
The findings of the study are being presented at the Australasian Sexual Health Congress presently being held in Perth. Professor Donovan says the results in New South Wales are in contrast to other states where prostitution is either illegal or
Professor Donovan says the requirement, in Queensland and Victoria, for brothels to be licensed has meant much of the industry has stayed underground. The substantial part of the industry is effectively illegal cause it's not licensed. It's very
difficult to run health promotion programs and to access those women to ensure that they are seeing doctors.
Janelle Fawkes from Scarlet Alliance which represents Australian sex workers backs the findings. She says the key to containing sexual diseases in the sex industry is education and ensuring workers are motivated to get medical treatment. She says
the use of 'licenses' makes the situation worse: In licensing framework model you end up with a large percentage of the industry that is operating outside of the legal framework, therefore it doesn't have the same levels of access to HIV
prevention, education, outreach by a sex worker organisation, being covered by the states workplace conditions for occupational health and safety et cetera.
Banning brothels in residential areas would be a welcome first step to curbing prostitution, though laws need to go further by making it
illegal to pay for sex, Perth's Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey says.
He supports the so-called Swedish model, which makes buying sex and brothel ownership illegal, rather than prostitution itself.
Attorney-General Christian Porter is working towards delivering the Government's election promise to ban prostitution outside designated zones but has rejected calls from some Not So Liberal backbenchers to adopt the Swedish model on the basis that he
did not support a system which punished only the men who bought sex. He was prepared to consider introducing tougher penalties for men caught buying sexual services outside designated areas.
Archbishop Hickey said men had to be held responsible for what was effectively a form of abuse against women: (Under the Swedish system), at least men will get a different message than the one they are getting at the moment, which is almost
With the celebration of Don Dunstan's legacy with Don's party it is timely to examine why South Australia has gone from
being the most progressive social reform state to the most regressive, vindictive and anti-sex.
The achievements of Don's era are of course legendary, among them Don's fashion statements signifying diversity, standing up to bigots by holding back a fundamentalist-called-for tsunami at Glenelg, eradicating the Pink Files, and creating three
nude beaches. Even the Liberals were progressive with Steele Hall's government reforming the gerrymander and Murray Hill introducing a bill legalising homosexual acts.
In Adelaide, even the word “sex” has been censored on roadside billboards. Atheists are prevented from advertising on state buses. South Australia is the only state left where prostitution is illegal. It has the highest age of consent of any state.
The Rann Government is becoming increasingly fascist-like. A representative of the Catholic Church is an unelected member of Cabinet. More and more legislation requires accused persons to prove their innocence rather than the prosecution having to prove
Western Australia is set to legalise prostitution in a bid to improve health standards and keep brothels out of
Hundreds of suburban brothels are expected to close when WA Attorney-General Christian Porter ends decades of turning a blind eye and starts regulating the sex industry next year.
Prostitution is illegal in WA but police rarely lay charges unless they are related to underage sex or unsafe practices.
After nearly two years in power Porter says he is working to release a paper for public comment by the end of the year and introduce legislation into parliament in 2011.
Under the new legislation, brothels will be licensed and confined to designated commercial and industrial areas, and police will be given powers to investigate and forcibly close those which fail to comply.
Sex businesses will need to follow health and safety standards to obtain and maintain their licences. Individual sex workers will need to register with a central agency and will undergo compulsory health and blood checks. They may also be required
to carry ID cards.
Porter said suburban operators would be given a grace period from next year to either close or move to a licensed area. Applications for brothels would first be put to local councils and then assessed by state regulators.
WA brothel madams welcomed the move over the weekend but feared the bid to register individual prostitutes would drive some underground. While most agreed the new regulations would improve health and safety in the industry, they said some sex
workers would be loathe to have their personal records on file.
Prostitution laws in the Australian Capital Territory (Canberra) will be reviewed for the first time since being
introduced 18 years ago.
The review has been partially prompted by a letter from a coroner who conducted the inquest into the death of 17-year-old Janine Cameron who was found dead in a Fyshwick brothel two years ago.
Attorney General Simon Corbell says the coroner's comments will form part of the terms of reference for the review: Whilst the coroner made no adverse findings in relation to that matter, the coroner has drawn to my attention
his view that it would be worthwhile for the Government to look at the issue of proof of age and to make sure people working in brothels were requiring a higher level of proof age and identity before they commenced work.
Corbell says the Government remains committed to a regulated sex industry: It's a good thing. It keeps it out in the open. It keeps it public and transparent and it stops black market and illegal activities occurring within
But there are I think areas for some potential improvement. Those include issues potentially around proof of age to make sure people who are working in the industry are appropriately demonstrating that they are 18 years or
There may be other issues arising as well that stakeholders want to express a view on and this review will allow that to occur.
The Government will move a motion in the Legislative Assembly next month referring the Prostitution Act 1992 to a committee.
The Opposition has welcomed the move. Shadow attorney general Vicki Dunne said: There have been issues raised as to whether or not individual sex workers should have registration, compliance inspections and the level of
police activity around brothels in the ACT and what developments there may have been both interstate and overseas that have moved on public discussion about the regulation of prostitution.
Legislative Assembly Member Christian Porter is confident the drafted prostitution reforms will be able to completely
eradicate prostitution in Western Australia suburbs.
The reforms, which Porter expects to go back before Parliament in the first half of the year, would see brothels banned from all residential areas and be only allowed to operate within industrial zones.
Under the reform, police would be given more power to shut down brothels operating illegally within suburban areas.
Porter said he was hopeful the reform would reduce the amount of customers to brothels:
One part of the legislation is that, where there is an unlawful brothel, we would target not only the prostitutes who are unlawfully operating and the owners who are unlawfully operating, but we would also target
customers with criminal penalty infringement notices for first offences and then prosecutions after that, so we're targeting all of them.
However, Porter said regardless of what measures were taken, prostitution could not be eradicated completely, which was why reforms such as this were needed to be put into place.
Brothels in WA have always existed and are likely to always exist despite our best efforts and the fact is that at the moment, prostitution is in effect illegal, but we still have brothels.
What we have to do is corral them into areas where they cause the least amount of damage and destruction to average, law-abiding West Australians. We're going to mean business in the suburbs.
Sex work is legal in the state of Victoria (of which Melbourne is the capital) and that this
legality has well-researched public health benefits.
In order to be legal sex work, sex workers must be consenting and over the age of 18. In Victoria (other Australian states have different laws), legal sex work takes place in licensed brothels or through licensed escort
agencies. Independent sex workers can work legally outside a brothel or agency, but they must have a small business permit. Street-based sex work does occur, but is not legal.
Here are a few things I've learned about legalizing sex work.
Legalizing sex work reduces STIs for sex workers and, by extension, their clients.
Legalizing sex work reduces, but does not eliminate, stigma and discrimination.
Getting input from sex workers themselves drives positive outcomes [such as improved distribution of information and support for the police to combat trafficking and coercion].
A South Australian Labor MP has launched another bid to decriminalise prostitution, the latest in a handful of
attempts to reform sex worker laws over the past 30 years.
Steph Key will later this year introduce a bill to decriminalise all forms of prostitution, including home or brothel-based sex work, escort services and street work.
It will also ban minors from being involved in the industry and will prevent brothels being established within 200 metres of schools, any centres for children and places of worship. It seems to be an appropriate time to put the reform of our
sex industry in SA back on the legislative agenda, Ms Key said. She said there had been five attempts to introduce reforms over the past three decades, the last being voted down in 2001.
But Christian nutters of FamilyVoice Australia said there had actually been six attempts to decriminalise brothels since 1979, with each attempt failing once MPs realised the implications of the changes. Steph Key's latest attempt to
decriminalise brothels is worse than any of the previous six, FamilyVoice researcher Ros Phillips said: One of its disastrous features would allow three prostitutes to operate a brothel next to suburban homes without any controls by
government or police.
Supporting Ms Key's bill, about 50 sex workers and their supporters rallied on the steps of parliament house in Adelaide on Thursday and presented the MP with a 2000-signature petition backing law reform.
Sex Industry Network manager Ari Reid said sex workers in South Australia were still treated like second-class citizens: Decriminalisation isn't about putting a brothel on every corner. It's about providing basic workplace rights and protection
for hard-working South Australians.
Western Australia Attorney General Christian Porter said that under the new Prostitution Bill 2011, brothels would be
banned from suburban areas.
Limited prostitution in non-suburban residential areas would be licensed and monitored.
The Government will also create an exit fund for prostitutes seeking to leave the industry.
Attorney General Christian Porter said the Bill had been carefully developed after the release of a draft for community consultation earlier this year. He said:
Prostitution is a controversial issue for any Government to address. Overwhelmingly though, ordinary West Australians do not want prostitution businesses of any size near their homes, in their residential suburbs or near their children's school.
Update: A Dangerous Step Backwards for Health Promotion
The Australian Sex Party has called the WA Prostitution Bill a dangerous step backwards in health promotion.
The 2011 Bill, introduced into WA Parliament by Attorney General Christian Porter last week, was developed without proper consultation with sex workers or sex worker organisations, and acts in direct opposition to the health safety, and best
interests of sex workers.
Sex Party Candidate Zahra Stardust says This Bill will severely increase sex workers' likelihood of harassment, vilification and imprisonment and decrease their access to health and support services .
The Bill bans sex work in residential or suburban areas and prohibits escort agencies, forcing sex workers into brothels. The Bill then requires sex workers to disclose their legal names in the workplace, meaning that sex workers are singled out
for surveillance, restricting their opportunities for employment and further education and introducing bias in custody cases. The WA Bill criminalises the clients of sex workers, despite international evidence that this has severe consequences on
the safety of sex workers themselves. The Bill criminalises all street-based sex workers, despite no evidence that they cause adverse societal impact.
The Bill increases police power, despite the finding of the Woods Royal Commission that systemic corruption and misuse of personal information is rife when police act as sex industry regulators. Ms Stardust says, Police powers to issue move-on
notices, stop, detain and search anyone on suspicion that they have breached the law, and to order invasive cavity searches of sex workers, mean that sex workers will be unlikely to seek police assistance in the event of a crime.
She continues, The Bill will be disastrous for sex workers occupational health and safety and industrial rights, as an unlicensed sex worker under the Bill is expressly excluded from accessing Workers' Compensation. The Bill also prohibits
advertising for any staff relating to sex work services, preventing sex workers from advertising for drivers, receptionists or security. This will clearly present obstacles to sex workers' health, safety and access to support.'
Further, the Bill criminalises all migrant sex workers, providing that a licence can only be issued to an Australian citizen or permanent resident. This means that sex workers on student or temporary visas are immediately rendered illegal, subject
to heavy penalties, experience reduced access to health services, are denied access to peer education programs and are increasingly marginalised. The Bill introduces heavy penalties (up to 3 years imprisonment) and fines (up to $50,000) for
Low rates of STIs and HIV among sex workers illustrate that sex workers are highly aware of safer sex practices and are skilled at negotiating and managing risks. The recent Law and Sexual Health (LASH) study in Western Australia by the Kirby
Institute states that health promotion for the sex industry is much easier when the target group is not covert and is working without the daily fear of a criminal prosecution. Similarly, the World Health Organisation acknowledges that
'Legislation criminalising prostitution-related activities has frequently been identified as a barrier to the promotion of safer sex practices'.'
Sydney's Stiletto brothel has won an appeal for permission to expand and become Australia's largest.
Plans to double the number of rooms to 40 were refused last year by the city council. But the owners won an appeal to the Land and Environment Court this week, with Commissioner Susan O'Neill ruling the Aus$12 million ($12.2 million) development,
including a wing for group bookings, should go ahead. O'Neill said:
The issue of a moral objection to the nature of the activities of a sex premises were raised by some of the public submissions and resident objectors.
As a sex premises is a legal land use and permissible... with consent, moral objections to the proposal are not relevant considerations.
Stiletto promotes itself as the world's finest short-stay boutique hotel and Sydney brothel . Its standard hourly rate of Aus$370 includes room, lady of choice and beverages.
An appeals court in Queensland has ruled that hotel and motel owners do not have the right to turn away escorts because of
The working girl who filed the lawsuit and who goes by the name GK sued a hotel who turned her away in 2010 after discovering his profession. Originally a local court ruled that the hotel did nothing wrong, but an appeals court has now
overturned that ruling.
The incident occurred at the 3.5-star Drovers Rest Motel after GK had stayed at Drovers Rest Motel 17 times over a two year period. Hotel officials turned her away after discovering that she was a sex worker.
Unfortunately for the hotel, Australia has legalized escort services and sex workers can not be discriminated against because of their job. By turning away GK the motel according to the appeals court acted in a discriminatory manner based on her
Laws to decriminalise prostitution in South Australia have been defeated by one vote in State Parliament.
But the absence of eight MPs from the chamber at the time has prompted calls for the vote to be taken again and changes to the parliamentary system to give MPs more notice of conscience votes.
Labor MP Steph Key's Private Member's Bill would have decriminalised all forms of prostitution, including at home, in brothels, escort services and some street work, but retained soliciting as an offence where it occurred in the presence of
But in a vote in Parliament's Lower House yesterday the proposed laws were defeated 20 votes to 19. 8 MPs were missing from the chamber, including two who were locked out after they failed to get there in time.
Ms Key said she would seek advice on whether she could recommit the legislation to another vote at a later date when all or more MPs were present. She said:
There were a couple of people that were caught outside for some reason and they were going to be supporting the Bill. And there were a number of people that were paired (out of the chamber) today that support the Bill. So people are saying this
isn't a real indication (of the level of support for the laws).
Another bid will be made to decriminalise prostitution in South Australia. Labor MP Steph Key will introduce new laws to parliament next
week to decriminalise all forms of sex work.
The new bill will require owners of brothels to register their business with consumer and business services to allow for more regulatory controls. Ms Key said sex workers would be required to go through the same planning approvals as other businesses.
With MPs to be given a conscience vote, she believes the legislation will pass this time after her previous attempt in November last year was rejected.
But Family First MP Dennis Hood said the legislation was being brought back to parliament just 12 sitting days after it was voted down. Hood claimed it would be a waste of time to have another debate on the issue.
High demand in Canberra's fly-in fly-out sex industry proves the Australian territory's prostitution laws should not be tampered with.
That is the message from Australia's most experienced brothel madam, Mary-Anne Kenworthy, who will open a new branch of her popular Langtrees brothel next week in Mitchell.
The 30-year industry veteran praised the ACT's laws on prostitution but called for better enforcement of health and safety regulations and further assistance for women to leave sex work.
She said demand continued to outstrip supply in the local sex industry, which resulted in as many as 20 women flying to Canberra each week to provide sexual services.
The new Mitchell brothel will feature seven luxury theme rooms, including Arabian Nights and Fantasia decor, as well as a cocktail bar and AAA service . There will be six women available on weeknights and as many as 12 at the weekend.
I work in Perth with probably about 65 ladies a week, and 80 per cent of those are fly-in, fly-out, Ms Kenworthy said. We'll have a lot of our Perth clientele who come to Canberra to work with government come and see us. I understand
business is a lot more quiet when Parliament is not sitting.
Promising a complete guide to the sex industry, Ms Kenworthy called on parliamentarians to visit local brothels before travelling to Europe or Asia.