“Policies can only work when you have the information from the community itself. That’s why so many interventions fail. It sounds like a good idea but when you put it into practice, it does not work.”
New Zealand academic, 2016 ³
Fiona Patten, Northern Metropolitan Region (Reason Party)
Fiona Patten is a former sex worker who publicly supports the decriminalisation of sex work. She is one of the key crossbenchers in the Upper House and has already persuaded the government to pass progressive legislation. On 27 November 2019 the Victorian government announced Fiona Patten would head an inquiry into the laws around sex work. The six month inquiry is scheduled to commence in early 2020.
On 22 June, 2020, the Victorian Premier announced that Melissa Horne MP would be the new Minister for Consumer Affairs. In taking on this portfolio, Ms Horne is replacing resigned minister Marlene Kairouz . The portfolio is responsible for licensing sex industry businesses and registering individual sex workers. On Fiona Patten’s review of sex work regulation, the former Minister for Consumer Affairs, Marlene Kairouz said,
"Fiona will make recommendations to the government, we will then consider all of the recommendations that Fiona makes to government and proceed to introduce legislation.” 1
Ms Horne’s electorate of Williamstown is in Melbourne’s south west. Williamstown is home to a number of licensed brothels. Ms Horne was elected to the Victorian Parliament in 2018. Her previous Ministerial experience relates to public transport.
Martin Foley, Member for Albert Park (Labor Party)
Martin Foley holds the Lower House seat of Albert Park, which encompasses six inner city suburbs including St Kilda, where most of Victoria’s street-based sex work occurs. The greatest number of licensed brothels in Victoria are also in his electorate. In 2015 Martin Foley delivered a speech at Victorian Trades Hall Council endorsing the decriminalisation of sex work. He is also the Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Equality and Minister for Creative Industries. He has been in Parliament since 2007.
David Limbrick, South Eastern Metropolitan Region (Liberal Democrats Party)
David Limbrick was elected to the Victorian Parliament in 2018, with a commitment to uphold the principles of individual liberty. Such principles oppose government interference in the sex lives of consenting adults – including adult sex workers. As such, Mr Limbrick and his libertarian party support the full decriminalisation of sex work. A former financial services industry worker, Mr Limbrick has also taken an interest in calling out the financial discrimination that sex workers experience on the part of the banks. On the 26 November 2019 Mr Limbrick introduced a sex work decriminalisation motion into the Upper House. The following day the Victorian government announced that a sex work review would commence in 2020.
In 2019, Mr Limbrick was interviewed by two sex workers on Australia’s only sex work radio show, ‘Behind Closed Doors’. He discussed the principles of libertarianism, sex work, nudity, financial discrimination, and more.
Daniel Andrews, Member for Mulgrave (Labor Party)
Daniel Andrews is Premier of Victoria and so has the most influence over which issues his government addresses. His seat of Mulgrave is in Melbourne’s south eastern suburbs. Upon winning the 2018 state election by a landslide (nicknamed the ‘Danslide’), the Premier declared his government the
"most progressive Government in the nation".
Attorney General Jill Hennessy, Member for Altona (Labor Party)
Jill Hennessy is the newly appointed Attorney General, a role key to changing Victorian legislation. With the strong backing of the Northern Territory Attorney General Natasha Fyles, in November 2019 the Northern Territory decriminalised sex work. ²
Jill Hennessy’s seat of Altona encompasses the south western Melbourne suburbs from Altona to Point Cook.
- Quote from Minister for Consumer Affairs, 15 January 2020
- Paul Gregoire, NT sex workers finally have decriminalisation: An interview with SWOP NT coordinator Leanne Melling (12 December 2019) Sydney Criminal Lawyers
3. Rottier, J., Decriminalization of Sex Work: The New Zealand Model An Analysis of the Integrative Sex Industry Policy in New Zealand (PhD, Utrecht University, 2018) 86
© Sex Work Law Reform Victoria 2020
Last updated: 22 June 2020