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An amendment is a proposed change to a bill. For the Sex Work Decriminalisation Bill 2021 (Vic), amendments can either be good or bad from a sex workers’ rights perspective. A member of parliament must formally propose an amendment.
When Are Amendments Heard?
Towards the end of the debate on the bill, during a stage called the ‘Committee of the Whole’. During this stage, each amendment is read, considered, questions can be asked and each amendment may be voted on. There can be dozens of amendments, and voting on them can take hours.
Dozens of amendments are expected to be proposed in relation to the Sex Work Decriminalisation Bill 2021. Discussion may go for over three hours.
Will the Government Support Amendments?
Usually not. The government writes bills, and almost always, governments will NOT want any amendments. As such, all members of the government will usually vote NO to each amendment.
Who Can Suggest Amendments?
Any member of parliament, from any political party. The media has reported that Andy Meddick, MP will propose a number of amendments.
What are the Chances that Amendments will Pass?
In relation to the Sex Work Decriminalisation Bill 2021, it is very unlikely any amendments will pass. Amendments introduced by the government are much more likely to succeed. Even positive amendments designed to strengthen the bill and which are good for sex workers, are very likely to fail.
What if an Amendment Passes?
If this happens, the bill must be sent back to the Lower House and will have to be voted on again in the Lower House. When this second vote occurs in the Lower House, depends on the Lower House schedule. It can take two weeks until the Lower House to reconsider bills transferred from the Upper House.
What Has Sex Work Law Reform Victoria been Doing?
In 2018 and 2019 we lobbied members of parliament, government agencies, police, and others, calling for Victoria’s sex work laws to be reviewed. In 2020 we partnered with the Michael Kirby Centre at Monash University to conduct a sex worker consultation as part of the 2020 Fiona Patten Review into sex work. We made two submissions to the 2020 Review. In 2021, we made a submission to the August 2021 sex work consultation about sex work and local government laws. Along with seven other sex worker support groups, we also met with the Department of Justice and Community Safety on 23 August 2021 for an additional consultation.
© Sex Work Law Reform Victoria 2022
Last updated: 10 February, 2022