Labor Party - Score 'Excellent'

On 26 November 2022, Victorians will vote in a state election. The Australian Labor Party – Victorian Branch is registered as a political party to contest this election.

 We give the Victorian Labor Party an ‘Excellent’ rating when it comes to sex workers’ rights. Why?

Decriminalising Sex Work

The Victorian Labor Party developed, tabled, and passed the Sex Work Decriminalisation Bill 2021 (Vic). Every Labor member who was present in both parliamentary chambers voted YES to pass this bill1 with many members speaking passionately in support of the bill.

The Positives

In this term of parliament (2018 – 2022), the Victorian Labor Party was the government and:

  • placed sex work decriminalisation on the party platform2
  • arranged for Fiona Patten MP to review Victoria’s sex work laws
  • passed laws to decriminalise sex work, becoming only the fourth jurisdiction in the world to do so3
  • modernised Victoria’s council laws (planning schemes) to remove discrimination against the sex industry, permit home based sex work and treat sex workers the same way as hairdressers4
  • strengthened anti-discrimination law protections for sex workers5
  • passed new laws which will classify the non-payment of sex work service fees as sexual assault or rape6
  • Provided $5.3 million in additional specific funding to WorkSafe Victoria to work with the sex industry to enhance health and safety in sex industry businesses7
  • Provided $8.4 million additional specific funding over two years to the Department of Justice and Community Safety for sex work advocacy on decriminalising the sex work industry8
  • Provided $3 million additional specific funding over two years to the Department Health to assist in decriminalising the sex work industry9

The Negatives

The party:

Minister for Consumer Affairs
Melissa Horne introduced the Sex Work Decriminalisation Bill into the parliament

Authorised by Sex Work Law Reform Victoria Inc., 79-81 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, Victoria, 3182

1. For Labor’s voting record on sex work decriminalisation in the Lower House, see page 4451 of Hansard for the Legislative Assembly of the Victorian Parliament on 28 October 2021

https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/daily-hansard/Assembly_2021/Legislative_Assembly_2021-10-28.pdf

For Labor’s voting record on sex work decriminalisation in the Upper House, see page 267 of Hansard for the Legislative Council of the Victorian Parliament on 10 February 2022

https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/daily-hansard/Council_2022/Legislative_Council_2022-02-10.pdf

2. See clause 5.2.2 on page 87 of the Victorian Labor Platform 2018

3. ‘Victoria Decriminalises Sex Work: A Victory for Workers’  article by Paul Gregoire from Sydney Criminal Lawyers, 25 February 2022

https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/victoria-decriminalises-sex-work-a-victory-for-workers/

See also the Sex Work Decriminalisation Act 2022 (Vic)

https://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/as-made/acts/sex-work-decriminalisation-act-2022

4. Victorian Government Gazette, No. G25 (23 June 2022), Amendment VC217, page 29873

http://www.gazette.vic.gov.au/gazette/Gazettes2022/GG2022G025.pdf

5. See Part 5 of the Sex Work Decriminalisation Act 2022 (Vic)

 

6. See clause 5 of the Justice Legislation Amendment (Sexual Offences and Other Matters) Bill 2022 (Vic). For details of Labor’s vote for this bill in the Legislative Council, see page 3139 of Hansard for 30 August 2022 in the Legislative Council.

https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/daily-hansard/Council_2022/Legislative_Council_2022-08-30.pdf

7. Victorian Premier’s press release, 3 May 2022

https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/building-safer-and-fairer-state-all-victorians

See Victorian Government Budget 2022/2023

https://s3.ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/budgetfiles202223.budget.vic.gov.au/2022-23+State+Budget+-+Service+Delivery.pdf

8. See Table 1.14 of the Victorian Government Budget 2022/2023

https://s3.ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/budgetfiles202223.budget.vic.gov.au/2022-23+State+Budget+-+Service+Delivery.pdf

9. See Table 1.10 of the Victorian Government Budget 2022/2023

https://s3.ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/budgetfiles202223.budget.vic.gov.au/2022-23+State+Budget+-+Service+Delivery.pdf

10.For more information about the very poor communication of the application of coronavirus restrictions as they apply to the sex indudstry, see our 2020 submission to the inquiry The Victorian Government’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

11. s67 of the Sex Work Act 1994 (Vic) requires the Sex Work Ministerial Advisory Committee to advise the relevant Minister about the operation of and concerns about the sex industry. The Committee has not met since the Victorian Labor Party won the November 2014 election. Source: documents obtained via freedom of information (FOI). Details of the FOI request available on the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC) website. OVIC reviewed this freedom of information request and published its decision:

‘AN3’ and Department of Justice and Community Safety (Freedom of Information) [2019] VICmr 120 (26 September 2019)

View a heavily redacted copy of the most recent meeting minutes of the Sex Work Mininsterial Advisory Committee obtained via FOI from the Department of Justice and Community Safety here.

This webpage is provided as a guide to help inform voters about how political parties and candidates have performed when it comes to sex workers’ rights. 

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 potentially 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 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.

© Sex Work Law Reform Victoria 2022

Last updated: 30 September 2022