The coronavirus pandemic has loomed large over the campaign to decriminalise sex work in Victoria. From shutting down the sex industry to preventing in person meetings with members of parliament, everything changed once coronavirus hit Victoria.
And now, ongoing debates about the appropriate level of government power and government transparency when responding to pandemics has stepped up. On the same day that the Sex Work Decriminalisation Bill 2021 (Vic) is scheduled to be debated in the Lower House, a bill to drastically alter government powers to respond to pandemics is also being debated.
The PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELLBEING AMENDMENT (PANDEMIC MANAGEMENT) BILL 2021 (Vic) is already generating controversy, with some widely differing views.
With around five weeks remaining on the parliament calendar, the Victorian Government has an ambitious target to swiftly pass a significant number of bills. As the media remains distracted by mainstream issues such as appropriate responses to pandemics, the sex work bill just might quietly, and quickly pass into law by Christmas.