Exposing the Disturbing Emails of Anti-Sex Work Politician Moira Deeming
Moira Deeming, an anti-sex work politician, was elected to the Victorian Parliament in November 2022. Over 100 of her emails from when she was a Melton City councillor were obtained by Sex Work Law Reform Victoria and are published here. The emails were obtained via Victoria’s freedom of information laws and relate to Mrs Deeming’s use of her Melton City Council email address in her former role as councillor in the outer western suburban council between 2020 and 2022. The emails and document reveal the writer’s
- opposition to sex workers’ rights
- intent to change Victoria’s abortion laws
- adherence to a fundamentalist Christian worldview
- fierce opposition to trans rights
- opposition to LGBTIQ rights more broadly
- opposition to the Victorian Government’s public health laws during the pandemic
- opposition to sex education for high school children
- Liberal Party speeches and strategy for winning seats at elections
- complaints about another Melton City Councillor and other people
Why Are We Publishing Moira Deeming’s Emails?
We believe her elevation to 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?
Mrs 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.10
In March 2023 Mrs Deeming organised, invited speakers, and personally spoke at a controversial anti-trans rally on the steps of the Victorian Parliament. On 27 March 2023, the Victorian Liberal Party unanimously voted to suspend her from the party for nine months. The vote also removed her from the position of opposition whip. This means that until 27 December 2023, Mrs Deeming will remain in parliament as a politician, but will do so as an ‘Independent Liberal’ rather than a full party member ‘Liberal’. After 27 December 2023, she will automatically return to being a full member of parliament with the Victorian Liberal Party.
Read Moira Deeming’s Liberal party profile here.
Read Moira Deeming’s Wikipedia page here.
Moira 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.
After a four and a half month wait, Sex Work Law Reform Victoria obtained almost 100 documents linked to Mrs Deeming’s use of her council email account. A second and separate FOI request yielded 13 additional similar emails. Under FOI law, we can publish all documents without the permission of Mrs Deeming, Melton City Council, or the Liberal Party.11
Mrs Deeming had review rights to oppose release of her emails. She chose not to exercise those rights, leading to the release of over 100 documents. We have numbered the documents and highlighted in yellow key words or phrases we believe are noteworthy.
What Information Was Requested by Sex Work Law Reform Victoria?
In the first FOI request we requested the following documents from Melton City Council on 16 August 2022:
“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 24/10/2020 – 15/08/2022.”12
The second request was for similar documents, for the period 16/08/2022 – 04/12/2022.
What Do the Emails Show?
All of the documents relate to Moira Deeming’s time as a Melton City Councillor between 24 October 2020 and and 4 December 2022, before she was elected to the Victorian Parliament.
The documents suggest that Moira Deeming’s extreme views are influenced by her religious beliefs. She is zealously opposed to sex workers’ rights and transgender rights. Using her council email address, she sends and receives emails about internal Liberal Party matters, some include references to the Bible and Christian theology.
“Are you seeking to change abortion? Primary goal.” Page 2 of Document 51. See Category 6 of FOI Documents.
“God bless you and help us all to Glorify Him.” Document 47
“Street-based sex work will negatively impact the commercial viability of Melton [far outer Western suburb of Melbourne]….and homeowner’s investments.” Page 2 of Document 1
“Council officers do have any of the required weapons, combat training, psychological training, or legislated enforcement powers that would be required to ensure any level of safety in this industry [the sex industry] at all. Page 2 of Document 1
“Public street-based sex solicitation and shop front brothels” should be confined to Industrial Zones because they ‘are selling highly dangerous products, which carry extremely high risks of sexually transmitted diseases.’ Page 2 of Document 1
“I did not win [Liberal Party preselection] on merit….I won because God arranged it……Politics is a public ministry & a public witness – don’t be an inactive member.” Document 48
“I am a conservative Christian with over ten years’ experience…..loving real gay and trans people.” Document 49
“I did not say sex workers were in child care centres!!!” Document 94
“The current [Victorian anti-discrimination] laws [designed to protect transgender people ] are sexist, discriminatory, oppressive and unsafe.” Document 84
“…..these kinds of [defamatory] accusations [against me on social media] now carry enormous legal consequences including jail terms and fines.” Page 2 of Document 92.
“Why are we encouraging 12 year olds to talk about sexuality at all?” Page 1 of Document 57
Moira Deeming’s Proposals Regarding Sex Work
Her Proposal: Brothels should continue to only be permitted to operate in industrial zones. (See page 2 of Document 1)
SWLRV Response: Fiona Patten’s 2020 Review of Victoria’s sex work laws looked at this issue, identifying restricting brothels to industrial zones as a discriminatory law no other industry was subject to. With the passage of sex industry planning changes by the former Minister for Planning in 2022, brothels will be able to operate in a greater number of zones beyond industrial zones from 1 December 2023.
Her Proposal: Strengthen the existing Sex Work Act 1994 (Vic) by:
- Introducing mandatory STI testing of all sex work clients, so that they are only permitted to book a sex worker if they are proven to be free of STIs (See page 2 of Document 1)
- Introducing mandatory testing of all sex workers between each booking so that they are proven to be STI free. (See page 2 of Document 1)
- Introduce strict record keeping protocols for the sake of public health and for the purposes of efficient ‘contact tracing’ for sexually transmitted infections. (See page 2 of Document 1)
- If every client had to out themselves as a sex work client and undergo mandatory testing, the sex industry would be once again driven underground. Few if any clients would agree to this requirement.
- Mandatory testing of sex workers in this manner would also be extremely onerous on the workers and the health system.
- A 2009 academic review of monthly mandatory testing of Victorian sex workers found that the legislation at the time requiring monthly STI testing compromised access for higher-risk individuals to sexual health services, concluding ‘The intention to protect the public by mandating frequent testing of sex workers may have the opposite effect.’ Mandatory testing following this review was reduced to every three months. In 2022 mandatory testing was abolished altogether, to be replaced with increased resourcing of sexual health education of sex workers and a public health framework for sex workers.1 2
What Claims Does Mrs Deeming Make about Sex Work and Sex Work Policy?
Moira Deeming says that decriminalising sex work and amending planning/zoning laws to treat sex work the same as other ‘shops’:
- “…will significantly undermine the safety, amenity and financial stability of our community.” (See page 2 of Document 1)
- will cause sex workers to be harmed at greater rates with greater impunity (See page 2 of Document 1)
- overlooks arguments that “prostitution itself is a traumatic stressor.” (See page 2 of Document 1)
- overlooks arguments that the sex industry is “world renowned for its close ties to human trafficking, child trafficking, drug trafficking, gangs and general violence.” (See page 2 of Document 1)
- will require City of Melton council officers to be armed with weapons, combat training, psychological training, and legislated enforcement powers to ensure any level of safety in the sex industry (See page 2 of Document 1)
- amounts to cost shifting from the State to Local Government (See page 2 of Document 1)
- will undermine the commercial and economic viability of Melton (See page 2 of Document 1)
- overlooks arguments that public street-based sex work and brothels are “selling highly dangerous products, which carry extremely high risks of sexually transmitted diseases.” (See page 2 of Document 1)
- will make it almost impossible to ensure victims of trafficking or children are not at residential properties where sex work occurs (See page 2 of Document 1)
- is unnecessary because the existing sex work licensing regulatory framework is adequate within the City of Melton (See page 4 of Document 1)
- could facilitate a greater uptake of sex work by residents in the Melton area, “given the social vulnerabilities of some sectors of our community.” (See page 4 of Document 1)
- will force schools “to seek advice about updating their excursion policies due to the possibility of legal public sex solicitation in front of minors travelling from one place to another.” (See Document 29)
SWLRV Response: Street-based sex work has been (mostly) decriminalised since 10 May 2022. We are not aware that since then, any schools have changed their excursion policies, that any children have been exposed to public sex solicitation, or that schools have raised this as a problem.
Who Does Moira Deeming Oppose?
Mrs Deeming is particularly critical of Melton City Councillor Ashleigh Vandenberg. The author of Document 75 is critical of Victoria’s LGBTIQ Communities Commissioner, Todd Fernando. Document 75 appears to be written by Mrs Deeming but this is not explicitly stated in the document.
Moira Deeming’s Questions Answered
Moira Deeming’s emails reveal some important questions about sex work policy and the law. We expect she is not alone in asking these questions. Below we provide answers to her questions.
(See page 4 of Document 1)
Our Response: Sex work decriminalisation allows existing advertising laws to regulate sex work advertising, including explicit imagery and language. Ten federal Acts, classification guidelines, consumer laws and advertising standards will provide thousands of pages of regulation of advertising, both online and offline. For more information, see the ‘Advertising, Content & Pornography Regulation’ section of our ‘Legislation Affecting The Sex Industry’ webpage here.
Once street based sex work has been mostly decriminalised, local councils can choose to regulate this type of sex work in a similar manner by which all other small businesses operating in public places are regulated. This is achieved by requiring small businesses or sole traders to apply for a variety of small business permits, eg, a Footpath Trading Permit.3 Other general criminal laws will still apply to street-based sex work, including the possession of illicit drugs, littering, nuisance, noise and public indecency laws.
(See page 4 of Document 1)
Our Response: Before and after the decriminalisation of sex work, anyone concerned that a child has been exposed to sex work in residential properties can report to the Victorian Child Protection Service, which sits under the Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH).
The following laws will continue to apply after sex work is decriminalised in Victoria: the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic) and the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 (Vic).
(See page 4 of Document 1)
SWLRV Response: After 1 December 2023, sex workers will be permitted to work from home doing sex work, subject to existing restrictions which apply to all types of home-based businesses. The details of this change have been made public since they were gazetted on 23 June 2022.4
Planning schemes regulate all forms of home-based businesses. No planning permit is required for smaller home-based businesses, with planning schemes specifying that ‘the person conducting the home-based business must use the dwelling as their principal place of residence’ and that ‘No more than two persons who do not live in the dwelling may work in the home-based business at any one time.’ 5 Larger home-based businesses involving more people will require a planning permit from the local council.6
(See Document 8)
SWLRV Response: This is true, but it remains a criminal offence for anyone (sex worker or not) to intentionally infect another person with certain types of STIs.13 The Sex Work Decriminalisation Act 2022 (Vic) repeals criminal laws in the Sex Work Act 1994 (Vic) which made it a criminal offence for a sex worker to work with an STI. Criminal public health laws relating to condom use or STI’s have been extensively studied and found to have negative impacts on effective public health measures. Such laws in Victoria were almost impossible for police to monitor and were rarely enforced. Instead the Victorian government has now invested in sex worker peer to peer public health programs and a sex industry public health framework. Occupational health and safety laws will still apply to all commercial sex work settings. For more information, see the Victorian Government’s ‘Sex Worker Health’ webpage.
(See Document 8).
SWLRV Response: This is true. Between 1994 and 1 December 2023, under the Sex Work Act 1994 (Vic) children under the age of 18 months were permitted inside licensed brothels.7 The reason was to allow mothers to bring their newborn babies to work and show them off to their friends, just like they would in any other workplace. After 1 December 2023, children under the age of 18 months will still be permitted inside commercial sexual services businesses.8 Existing and future laws maintain criminal penalties applying to anyone who permits a child over the age of 18 months to be present in a brothel with penalties of up to one year imprisonment.
(See Document 8)
SWLRV Response: After 1 December 2023, brothels will be able to apply for liquor licences if they so choose. Until then it is illegal for alcohol to be served in licensed brothels. However, our 2020 consultation in collaboration with Monash University with sex workers found around half do not want liquor in brothels. A previous survey of sex industry workers also found mixed responses to the question of liquor in brothels.9
(See Document 8).
SWLRV Response: No. There are currently two size limits on brothels; the Sex Work Act 1994 (Vic) and council planning schemes. After 1 December 2023, the Sex Work Act 1994 (Vic) will be repealed, but planning schemes will continue to regulate and restrict the size of brothels. Any business planning to build a new structure or expand an existing building will often require council approval via a permit. Zoning restrictions limit the size and height of all businesses according to the zone the building is located in. Under the new planning laws, brothels will be subject to the same size and planning restrictions as other ‘shops’ including hairdressers.
(See Document 8)
SWLRV Response: This is not true. Brothels and home based sex work businesses are not the same and are legally defined and regulated quite separately. Once the Sex Work Act 1994 (Vic) has been repealed on 1 December 2023, brothels will be known as sex services premises and will consist of commercial businesses in dwellings zoned for commercial use. Home-based sex work, like all home-based businesses, will be able to only occur in residential properties. For more information see the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s ‘Planning Advisory Note 79’.
(See Document 8)
SWLRV Response: No, this is not true. For sex work to occur legally after sex work has been decriminalised on 1 December 2023, payment cannot be via a drug of dependence. This is because the possession or trade (trafficking) in illicit drugs will remain illegal, including within the sex industry.
After sex work is decriminalised, it will continue to against the law to use, possess, cultivate or traffic a drug of dependence, including marijuana, heroin, amphetamines, cocaine, LSD and ecstasy. For more information see the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic) or Victoria Legal Aid’s webpage on Drug Possession.
It is very unfortunate that the Victorian Government chose to redefine commercial sexual services in a confusing way by referring to illicit drugs in the new legal definition. Commercial sexual services are currently defined as:
services involving the use or display of the body of the person providing the services for the sexual arousal or sexual gratification of others for—
- (a) commercial benefit; or
- (b) payment; or
- (c) reward (including the supply of a drug of dependence within the meaning of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981)—
whether or not the commercial benefit, payment or reward accrues to, or is given to, the person providing the services or to another person;
See s39(1) of the Sex Work Decrimalisation Act 2022 (Vic). Sex Work Law Reform Victoria opposed the wording of this definition at the time the bill was tabled and continues to oppose the wording today.
Read Moira Deeming’s Emails Here
We’ve divided Moira Deeming’s emails into ten categories to help you make sense of them. We’ve highlighted in yellow key words or phrases we believe are noteworthy.
Categories of Moira Deeming’s Documents
- Sex work policy (general)
- Sex Work Policy (Melton City Council Sex Work Survey)
- Sex Work Policy (Funding Sex Work Exit Programs)
- Development of anti-sex work council motion
- Bible/Christian Quotes
- Internal Liberal Party Planning Documents
- Opposition to Sex Education
- Opposition to Trans Rights
- Mrs Deeming and Complaints within Council
- Opposition to Pandemic Health Orders
In October 2021, Mrs Deeming provides feedback on a letter from Council to a Government Minister regarding the Sex Work Decriminalisation Bill, in which she criticises sex work decriminalisation, complaining council staff don’t have weapons or combat training to deal with sex workers.
Following a response from the Minister to Council’s letter, Mrs Deeming says when sex work laws change it will ‘all turn to tears.’
Mrs Deeming asks ten questions to Council officers about sex work decriminalisation, indicating she believes illegal drugs can be used to pay for sex.
|9||In 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.|
|10||In further correspondence with SWLRV, Mrs Deeming can’t refer to evidence to support her assumption sex workers are a threat to children.|
Mrs Deeming develops anti-sex work media article.
See page 10 of the 12 December 2021 edition of the Star Weekly – Melton Moorabool.
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.
On 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.
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.
In 2021, following a motion by Mrs Deeming, Melton City Council conducted a public awareness campaign and survey of residents to ascertain and inform their views on sex work decriminalisation.
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.
|14-15||In August and September 2022, Mrs Deeming asks why the sex work survey results haven’t been published.|
|In November 2022, Mrs Deeming suggests rewording the public awareness campaign and accompanying media release by replacing the word ‘decriminalisation’ with ‘rezoning sex work’ to avoid inviting sex work policy debates.|
In September 2022, Mrs Deeming says wants Council to conclude a report on the sex work survey before she gets elected to state parliament.
|25||In June 2022, Mrs Deeming requests an update on a number of motions, including that regarding the sex work survey.|
The documents in this category repeatedly refer to a ‘NOM’ which stands for a notice of motion. In local government, a motion is a proposal made by a councillor in a meeting to be voted on. Motions can ask something be done, order something be done or express an opinion about a matter. Councillors must give ‘notice’ and provide the wording of a motion in advance of a council meeting.
Mrs Deeming discusses the wording of Motion 786
Motion 786 calls for council to conduct a survey to gauge the public’s views on sex work decriminalisation. Document 35 was received in an illegible format and is reproduced here unaltered.
|25||Mrs Deeming develops a number of motions.|
|In June 2022, Mrs Deeming confirms the wording of Motion 816.|
In June 2022, Mrs Deeming raised concerns about a statement in the e-councillor news about Child Safe Standards, which she takes to be in response to Motion 816
Mrs Deeming alleges that schools are having to update their excursion policies due to the possibility of legal public sex solicitation in front of minors.
37, 40, 43-44
In relation to Motion 786, despite extensively using the word ‘prostitution’ in internal documents, Mrs Deeming ensures that in public the words ‘sex work’ are used.
Correspondence regarding Mrs Deeming’s anti-trans motion.
Responding to one of her admirers who fills nine pages of Bible quotes claiming the coronavirus pandemic was caused by abortion, Mrs Deeming responds, ‘God bless you and help us all to Glorify Him.’
In a speech about fundamentalist Christianity and politics, the author proclaims, ‘I won because God arranged it’ and questions ‘how far should we as Christians push to have Biblical morality enshrined in law’? The speech appears to be written by Mrs Deeming, but this is not explicitly stated in the document.
The author of an anonymous document attacks moderate Christian theology insisting she is ‘a conservative Christian with over ten years’ experience working with and loving real gay and trans people.’ The document appears to be written by Mrs Deeming, but this is not explicitly stated in the document.
In a speech to the Liberal Party convention in which she was endorsed as their candidate for the Legislative Council region of Western Victoria, the author of this document lays out the strategy by which the Liberal Party can win elections and claims the author has attracted financial backers who will donate $100,000 to the Liberal Party on the basis of the author being preselected. The document appears to be written by Mrs Deeming, but this is not explicitly stated in the document.
In a Liberal Party speech plan, the author states that changing abortion laws is their primary goal.
The document appears to be written by Mrs Deeming, but this is not explicitly stated in the document.
Mrs Deeming says she believes the majority of councillors at Melton City Council share her concerns about sex work.
Mrs Deeming asks why 12 year olds should be discussing sexuality in council youth programs and suggests that this be referred to council’s audit and risk committee.
Mrs Deeming repeatedly opposes any form of sex ed for minors.
Mrs Deeming opposes council’s The Space LGBTIQA+ group as it will involve minors talking about their sexuality to adults.
In preparing a media article, Ms Deeming states that she is investigating avenues to address “problems with implementing the rules that allow biological males into female toilets and changerooms.”
Mrs Deeming prepares a council motion to obtain legal advice from the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office on the lawfulness of measures “to ensure females are not the subject of indirect discrimination that occurs from failure to differentiate between biological males and females… such as in the provision of toilets, changerooms etc” with the intention of funding “third” spaces for trans people.
Following correspondence from the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office, Mrs Deeming receives further legal advice about her council motion.
In exchanges with council officers about trans rights, Mrs Deeming questions “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”.
Exchange about an International Women’s Day event
In exchanges with council officers about trans rights, Mrs Deeming seeks a meeting with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission about “exploring the process of determining which rights apply when rights conflict etc, especially around gender and sex”
In an exchange with a member of the public about trans rights, Mrs Deeming questions whether “biological males should be able to access single sex, female spaces, services and facilities”
|Mrs Deeming prepares a council motion to obtain legal advice on the lawfulness of measures banning trans people from female bathrooms.|
|Mrs Deeming discusses her questions put “to every council in Victoria” about trans women using women’s bathrooms.|
In correspondence marked “for Stassja” (who could be former TERF Talk Down Under host, Stassja Frei), the author of the document lashes out at LGBTIQ+ Communities Commissioner on trans issues. The document appears to be written by Mrs Deeming, but this is not explicitly stated in the document.
A Liberal Party supporter aligns with Mrs Deeming’s anti-trans views.
|The Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office requests clarification on whether someone is proposing “to mandate that access to council toilets and change-rooms be restricted by reference to ‘biological sex characteristics’.” The ‘someone’ appears to be Mrs Deeming, but this is not explicitly stated in the document.|
|The Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office advises “that they would need the specifics of any proposed special measures intended to be used by Melton City Council before they could advise on whether they would apply or not.”|
|Mrs Deeming states that she is seeking answers from the Governor of Victoria on “whether or not sex based rights (in particular women’s rights) are able to be given precedence over gender identity rights.” This document was provided to SWLRV with letters missing from words.|
|Mrs Deeming claims that “young lesbians and gays… are taught they can achieve ‘heterosexuality’ by rejecting their biological sex.”|
|A family of “gender critical campaigners” congratulate Mrs Deeming on her interactions with Senator Janet Rice during a committee hearing in which Mrs Deeming spoke in favour of the Morrison Government’s failed Religious Discrimination Bills.|
|Mrs Deeming discusses seeking legal advice on “the toilet scenario”.|
|Mrs Deeming objects to “forced pronoun use” and raises concerns about “rainbow pins and signature blocks”.|
|In correspondence with a member of the public, Mrs Deeming says current anti-discrimination laws are ‘sexist, discriminatory, oppressive and unsafe.’|
|A Melton Council staff member complains that Mrs Deeming keeps demanding complex answers to legal questions on long weekends, and then escalates to the Mayor when she does not receive a response.|
|Mrs Deeming seeks an update on the progress of implementation of her “sex based exemptions” motion.|
|In discussing progress on implementation of her motion, Mrs Deeming confuses the Attorney-General of Victoria with the Governor of Victoria.|
|Correspondence regarding Mrs Deeming’s anti-trans motion.|
|Correspondence regarding Mrs Deeming’s anti-trans motion and subsequent advice from the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office.|
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.”
Mrs Deeming is pleased a Diggers Rest resident reported Melton City Council to the police.
Email about Fair Work Ombudsman
Mrs Deeming says those who damage her reputation could face jail time.
Mrs Deeming complains about Councillor Vandenberg’s Facebook posts.
Mrs Deeming is outraged by an allegation that she is focussed on ‘sex workers in childcare centres!!!’
Mrs Deeming suggests that council issue a “statement of facts” stating that “there is no evidence of a campaign against LGBTQ+ community at a Councillor level.”
Discussion about complaint processes.
Mrs Deeming is appalled that Councillor Ashleigh Vandenberg published a Facebook post allegedly saying the Liberal Party views women as nothing but sexual objects.
Mrs Deeming distributes a four page letter critical of pandemic health orders.
Ms Deeming writes a four page letter critical of pandemic health orders
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;
- the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner;
- community radio show ‘In Ya Face’ on radio station 3CR;
- the journalists covering this story;
- 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.
1. Samaranayake A, Chen M, Hocking J, et al Legislation requiring monthly testing of sex workers with low rates of sexually transmitted infections restricts access to services for higher-risk individuals Sexually Transmitted Infections 2009;85:540-542
2. Victorian Department of Health website, ‘Sex Worker Health’
3. One example of a small business permit is Wyndham City Council’s Footpath Trading Permit.
4. See VC Amendment 217 on page 2873 of the Victorian Government Gazette, No. G 25 Thursday 23 June 2022
See Amendment VC217 on the Department of Transport and Planning website
5. See clause 52.11-1 (Home Based Business Requirements to be Met) of the Victoria Planning Provisions.
6. Larger home based businesses require a planning permit from the local council. See clause 52.11-2 (Permit Required) of the Victoria Planning Provisions
7. See section 11A(1) of the Sex Work Act 1994 (Vic).
8. See section 47 of the Sex Work Decriminalisation Act 2022 (Vic) [inserting a new section 38C(1) into the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic)]
9. See sections 6 and 6.2 of the 2007 report by the Prostitution Control Ministerial Advisory Committee titled, ‘Improving the Regulation of the Sex Industry and Supporting Sex Workers Who Want to Move On’
10. 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
11. 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.
12. 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).”
13. For an explanation of the crime of intentionally infecting someone with an STI, see page 174 of the 2021 journal article ‘Pandemics, Punishment and Public Health: COV ID-19 and Criminal Law in Australia’ by Joseph Lelliot, Andreas Shloenhardt and Ruby Ioannou.
Also see section 16 (Causing serious injury intentionally) of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic).
© Sex Work Law Reform Victoria 2023
Last updated: 9 April 2023