Exposing the Disturbing Emails of Anti-Sex Work Politician Moira Deeming 2.0
In February 2023, Sex Work Law Reform Victoria published almost 100 emails of anti-sex work politician Moira Deeming. We obtained the emails via Victoria’s freedom of information laws. On 26 March 2023, Sex Work Law Reform Victoria published 13 additional emails from Moira Deeming obtained form a separate freedom of information request. The emails relate to transgender and sex work issues from when Moira Deeming was a Melton City Councillor in 2022.
View our webpage containing the first round of Moira Deeming’s emails.
Read Moira Deeming’s Emails Here
We’ve divided Moira Deeming’s emails into two categories to help you make sense of them: sex work policy and opposition to trans rights.
On 3 September 2021, Mrs Deeming writes that she “never conceded that the Government’s plans [to decriminalise sex work] were going to make prostitutes safer and in fact did nothing but condemn the idea.”
Mrs Deeming also expresses concern about the safety of children in homes where sex work occurs. Two months later, in response to a question from Sex Work Law Reform Victoria, Melton City Council confirmed it had received zero complaints of children being exposed to home based sex work.
Mrs Deeming lodges a formal complaint against Melton City Council staff accusing them of political tampering by excluding one question from the published sex work survey results.
The Council’s sex work survey results can be found here.
In 26 November 2021, Mrs Deeming says she believes Melton City Council’s press release about community attitudes to sex work was inaccurate.
You can read the press release here.
On 20 August 2022, Mrs Deeming asks why Melton City Council’s sex work survey results haven’t been published.
The Council’s sex work survey results can be found here.
|99||On 12 September 2022, Mrs Deeming asks ten questions to Council officers about sex work decriminalisation, indicating she believes illegal drugs can be used to pay for sex.|
On 17 September 2022, in response to a queer radio show, In Ya Face, critical of her sex work policies, Mrs Deeming writes to SWLRV that her sex work policies are about being pro-children.
It is subsequently revealed that Melton City Council has received no complaints of children being exposed to sex work.
Minutes later, Mrs Deeming writes to Melton City Council officers, demanding that the results of Council’s sex work survey be put on the agenda of the next Council meeting as a “closing the loop” exercise so she can wrap things up in the chance she gets elected.
On 21 September 2022, Mrs Deeming demands Melton City Council publish all of the results of the sex work survey, without redactions.
On 12 September 2022, Moira requests link to Melton City Council’s sex work survey data. The Council’s sex work survey results can be found here.
In relation to Motion 786, despite extensively using the word ‘prostitution’ in internal documents, Mrs Deeming ensures that in public the word ‘prostitution’ is not used.
On 30 April 2021, Mrs Deeming seeks legal advice about laws relating to trans people, asking: “Can our Council implement policies that require ‘transgender-identified biological males’ who have had their birth certificates altered to reflect their female gender identity, to use ‘gender neutral’ facilities instead of sex-based female facilities and services.”
On 18 October 2021, in correspondence with a community member, Mrs Deeming expresses her opposition to medical treatment for trans kids, including puberty blockers.
On 15 November 2021, Mrs Deeming seeks legal advice about laws relating to trans people. In her correspondence, she explains that she had asked “every council in Victoria” about excluding trans people from gendered bathrooms, “but the other Council officers did little else but parrot cherry picked sections of law”.
Why Are We Publishing Moira Deeming’s Emails?
We believe Moira Deeming’s presence in the Victorian Parliament presents a threat to the basic human rights for sex workers and other minorities. We want to warn Victorians of the danger of a major political party amplifying the voice of a person with such extreme views. We are also concerned about the threat Mrs Deeming poses to maintaining and upholding a secular society where religion is kept separate from politics.
Who is Moira Deeming?
Moira Deeming previously worked as a researcher for the Presbyterian Church and was a councillor with Melton City Council between 2020 and 2022. Her preselection by the Victorian Liberal Party in 2022 led to high profile resignations by Liberal members Andrew Elsbury and Fred Ackerman.
Despite these concerns, less than a month after the election, Mrs Deeming was elevated to the position of Opposition Whip in the Legislative Council.1 Read Mrs Deeming’s Liberal party profile here.
Read Mrs Deeming’s Wikipedia page here.
Mrs Deeming’s contact details can be found on her Victorian Parliament profile here.
Who is Sex Work Law Reform Victoria?
A not for profit organisation advocating for the legal rights of sex workers in Victoria. We are led by current and former sex workers and were the driving force behind Victoria’s decriminalisation of sex work in 2022. Founded in 2018, we are not affiliated with any political party. Our message to all elected officials is that sex workers’ rights matter. Read more about us on our website.
How Did We Obtain the Emails/Documents?
Freedom of information (FOI) is a legal process by which members of the public can obtain documents held by government agencies or councils. Work emails of all Victorian councillors are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic). This means all emails sent to or from Moria Deeming’s Melton City Council email address are subject to Victoria’s FOI laws.
Sex Work Law Reform Victoria obtained an additional 13 documents linked to Mrs Deeming’s use of her council email account. Under FOI law, we can publish all documents without the permission of Mrs Deeming, Melton City Council, or the Liberal Party.11
We have numbered the documents.
What Information Was Requested by Sex Work Law Reform Victoria?
We requested the following documents, via FOI, from Melton City Council on 25 January 2023:
“A copy of emails, letters or text messages sent from Councillor Moira Deeming which contain one of more of the following words: ‘transgender’, ‘sex work’, ‘sex industry’, ‘sex trade’, ‘sex worker’, ‘prostitute’, ‘prostitution’, or ‘brothel’. The timeframe for this request is 16/08/2022 – 14/12/2022.” 3
What Do the Emails Show?
All of the documents relate to Moira Deeming’s final four months as a Melton City Councillor between 16 August October 2022 and 14 December 2022, before she was elected to the Victorian Parliament.
The documents show Mrs Deeming is zealously opposed to sex workers’ rights and transgender rights.
Watch Moira Deeming on YouTube
Moira Deeming Again Uses Children to Create Fear of Sex Work at Council Meeting (11 minutes)
Moira Deeming’s Council Survey’s Residents about Children and Sex Work (27 minutes)
Moira Deeming’s Council Received Zero Complaints of Children Being Exposed to Sex Work (1.5 minutes)
Moira Deeming’s Inaugural Speech in Parliament (Page 43 of Hansard 21 February 2023).
Moira Deeming’s Victorian Parliament Profile.
Sex Work Law Reform Victoria’s 2022 State Election Guide rates Moira Deeming ‘terrible’ on sex workers’ rights. Note this link is to an archived version of the webpage.
For general information about FOI, see the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner website.
Sex Work Law Reform Victoria’s submissions about freedom of information.
Sex Work Law Reform Victoria’s submissions about sex work policy, local government and amending planning schemes. We supported amending planning schemes to treat sex industry businesses the same way as hairdressing businesses.
Sex Work Law Reform Victoria’s YouTube Channel showing councillors debating sex work policy.
Melton City Council
Moira Deeming’s opinion piece about sex work in a local newspaper. See page 10 of the 12 December 2021 edition of the Star Weekly – Melton Moorabool.
2022 City of Melton Report on Community Concerns about Decriminalising Sex Work
City of Melton’s submission to state government about decriminalising sex work
Victorian Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning Fact Sheet on Sex Work Planning Changes
We would like to thank the following in helping to obtain and promote Moira Deeming’s emails:
- the legally minded LGBTIQ activist familiar with both FOI and local government laws;
- the governance team at Melton City Council;
- community radio show ‘In Ya Face’ on radio station 3CR;
- the journalists covering this story; 1
- veteran sex workers’ rights activist Cheryl Overs
This webpage provides Sex Work Law Reform Victoria’s opinions and political commentary about member of the Victorian Legislative Council Moira Deeming. We have interpreted documents released to us from a sex workers’ rights perspective, and have commented on those documents. We encourage people to read the original documents for themselves.
This webpage provides a sex workers’ rights informed opinion about politician Moira Deeming’s political views.
Sex Work Law Reform Victoria is not affiliated with any political party, candidate, councillor or local government. Sex Work Law Reform Victoria Inc. does not endorse or campaign for any political party or candidate. We believe all political parties can work towards enhancing sex workers’ rights and we encourage all political parties to take an ongoing interest in sex workers’ rights. We have never donated to a political party, candidate, councillor or local government. We have never received money from any political parties, candidates, councillors or local governments. We have never applied for or received grants from the Victorian Government, the federal government or any local government. We are a registered not-for-profit organisation. We are not a registered charity.
We understand sex workers have a wide range of views about politics and we respect diversity of views.
- The state election was 26 November 2022. Less than a month later, on 20 December 2022, the Liberal Party announced Moira Deeming’s appointment to Opposition Whip. See page 13 of Hansard for 20 December 2022 for the Legislative Council of the Victorian Parliament
- Nowhere in the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) is there a requirement for permission to be sought before publishing documents obtained via FOI. Nor does the Act restrict the publication or dissemination of documents obtained via FOI.
- The wording of the FOI request also included the following text:
“I am willing to accept partial access to these documents. I am also willing to accept edited copies of these documents. I wish to have duplicate documents removed from my request (i.e. only receive one copy of each document if more than one copy exists). This FOI request is submitted on behalf of the legal entity, Sex Work Law Reform Victoria Inc (ABN: 53356166772).”
© Sex Work Law Reform Victoria 2023
Last updated: 26 March 2023