How the Victorian Parliament Works

Sex Work Law Reform Victoria believes the best way to advance the interests of marginalised groups is for those groups to become politically aware and active. Sex workers must be involved in the process of decriminalisation.

To bring about decriminalisation, an entirely new law, known as a bill, needs to be written and voted for in parliament by a majority of politicians in both houses of the Victorian Parliament. Then it becomes law.

A successful bill is one which meets the needs of the community it affects. This is best achieved if sex workers are involved in the formulation of a bill and are active, along with allies, in encouraging politicians to vote for it.

In order to maximise the chance of success of achieving the full decriminalisation of sex work, it is helpful for sex workers and their allies to understand how the government and the law reform process works.

Victorian Parliament Spring St
the public can watch debate in the parliament (Photo: Simon Shluter)

The Victorian Parliament

The Victorian Parliament has the power to vote bills into law, including sex work laws. The government is currently the Labor Party, a left of centre party which is supportive of sex workers’ rights.

The leader of the government is known as the premier. Our current premier is Daniel Andrews.

Two Houses of Parliament

The Victorian Parliament consists of two houses: the Lower House (the Legislative Assembly) and the Upper House (the Legislative Council). The Lower House has 88 members. The Victorian Labor Party currently holds 55 of the Lower House seats, meaning Labor holds a majority in the Lower House.

The Upper House has 40 members. In the Upper House, Labor holds 17 seats thus does not hold a majority. To pass into law, a bill requires a majority of members present in parliament to vote in favour. If ex-Labor MP Adem Somyurek continues to not attend parliament, we can expect 39 members to be present to vote on bills in the Upper House. Therefore, it is very likely Labor will only need the support of at least three other politicians in the Upper House to get bills passed. 


© Sex Work Law Reform Victoria 2021

Last updated: 12 October, 2021