News (2019)

23 December 2019

Former longstanding Victorian Labor premier John Cain dies. In the 1980’s John Cain’s government led the world in sex industry regulation by legalising brothels.

Read more  ABC News 

17 December 2019

Victorian sex workers and supporters mark Red Umbrella Day with a rally on the steps of the Victorian Parliament and a gathering to hear Fiona Patten and sex worker rights activist Cheryl Overs.  Red Umbrella Day is recognised globally each year to end violence against sex workers. 

11 December 2019

Crikey.com.au quotes Sex Work Law Reform Victoria in article titled, "Sex workers are facing financial discrimination from our biggest institutions"

Read article on the Crikey.com.au website

6 December 2019

Australia’s only sex work radio show, Behind Closed Doors wins Best New Show at Melbourne community radio station 3CR. Sex Work Law Reform Victoria  provided support and information for some episodes. Behind Closed Doors explores all aspects of sex work and interviews a diverse range of sex workers every Thursday night.

Listen to Fiona Patten interviewed on ‘Behind Closed Doors’ discussing Victoria’s upcoming 2020 sex work inquiry

5 December 2019

Fiona Patten and Lisa from Sex Work Law Reform Victoria interviewed on Australia’s only sex work radio show, Behind Closed Doors, to talk about Victoria’s upcoming 2020 sex work inquiry

Listen to Fiona Patten Interview Podcast

3 December 2019

The Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) is given royal assent and becomes law. The Bill seeks to amend the Sex Work Act by winding back FOI access to information pertaining to the regulation of sex work in Victoria. The Bill was first introduced in September 2019.

Timeline of events of Bill

Read Consumer Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (Vic)

2 December 2019

Occupational health and safety consultant Kevin Jones blogs about WorkSafe, the sex industry and what the 2020 sex work regulation inquiry should consider from a OH & S perspective. 

Read blog ‘Sex Work review includes many OHS matters’

30 November 2019

The Age newspaper publishes an editorial ‘High time to rethink sex worker laws’ in support of reviewing Victoria’s decades old laws. The article uses the terms ‘prostitute’ and ‘prostitution‘ alongside ‘sex work’ and ‘sex worker’.

Read the Age Editorial

30 November 2019

Sex Work Law Reform Victoria attends the launch of Sex ’69, an exciting and innovative online project exploring Australia’s ‘underground’ Adult retail industry, starting in ’69 and evolving until today. A number of leading Victorian sex industry figures attend the official launch and are interviewed, including Lisa from SWLRV, Fiona Patten and Jane Green from Vixen Collective. Photos and video of interviews below. 

Sex ’69 Launch Photos and Videos

30 November 2019

The Age quotes Sex Work Law Reform Victoria in article titled, ”Off the streets and on the net’: solicitation charges dwindle as sex workers shift online’

Read article on The Age website

28 November 2019

Debate resumes during a second reading of the the Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic). Opposition MP Gordon Rich-Phillips says the Bill is the result of an FOI request, and that the Bill closes a ‘loophole’ in the law which allows certain information to be obtained via FOI. Mr Rich-Phillips says there are no controversial elements to the Bill and that the opposition supports it. 

For the first time in the life of the Bill, an MP questions the government’s lack of consultation with sex workers during the drafting and progress of the Bill. Crossbench MP David Limbrick criticises this lack of consultation. During Committee, David Limbrick further questions the representative of the Minister for Consumer Affairs in the Legislative Council, Adem Somyurek. Mr Somyruek says the sex worker group Vixen Collective has published a positive statement about the Bill and that the Business Licensing Authority was consulted. He goes on to provide some background, saying a VCAT (tribunal) case about FOI is what necessitated the sex work amendments in the Bill. The Bill was needed in order to tighten up the law as a result of tribal or court decisions. Sex worker’s safety was jeopardised, so rather than wasting time and consulting with sex workers, the government had to act quickly, Mr Somyurek added. 

The Bill seeks to amend the Sex Work Act by winding back FOI access to information pertaining to the regulation of sex work in Victoria. The Bill was first introduced in September 2019.

Read about the history of the progress of the Bill

Second reading debate resumes (page 4503 of hansard, 28 November, 2019 Legislative Council)

Gordon Rich-Phillips (page 4504 of hansard, 28 November, 2019 Legislative Council)

David Limbrick (page 4507 of hansard, 28 November, 2019 Legislative Council)

David Limbrick Committee Questions (page 4508 of hansard, 28 November, 2019 Legislative Council)
David Limbrick Committee Questions (page 4508 of hansard, 28 November, 2019 Legislative Council)
David Limbrick Committee Questions (page 4508 of hansard, 28 November, 2019 Legislative Council)
David Limbrick Committee Questions (page 4508 of hansard, 28 November, 2019 Legislative Council)

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s100

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s101

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s101

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s102

28 November 2019

Victoria Police say sexual servitude and human trafficking not a major problem in Victoria’s illegal brothels

Listen to ABC Melbourne Radio interview

27 November 2019

The Australian Associated Press article quotes Sex Work Law Reform Victoria in article titled, ‘Vic could fully decriminalise sex work’

Read article on Yahoo website

27 November 2019

Sex Work Law Reform Victoria quoted in The Age article ‘Sex workers are sick of rapes, assaults and want protection’

Read article on the Age website

27 November 2019

Victoria launches sex work inquiry, a move towards decriminalisation.

Read The Age online article. 

26 November 2019

Victorian crossbencher David Limbrick reads in a sex work decriminalisation motion in the Victorian Parliament. He refers to Labor’s 2018 Platform on sex work. The motion is scheduled to be debated in early 2020. 

Read media release on Twitter

26 November 2019

Northern Territory decriminalises sex work, becoming the third jurisdiction ever to do so. Sex Industry Bill 2019 (NT) receives 16 votes supporting decriminalisation and 5 votes against. 

22 November 2019

Sex workers accuse police in Queensland of ‘entrapment’. Victoria has a similar ‘licensing’ system of sex work laws that compromise sex workers’ ability to implement safety measures.

Read News.com.au story

20 November 2019

Northern Territory Parliament tables a Sex Work inquiryInquiry into the Sex Industry Bill 2019′. The report quotes from a number of key sex worker organisation submissions, including Sex Work Law Reform Victoria. 

Download the full report

19 November 2019

The Victorian Pride Centre lists Sex Work Law Reform Victoria on their website Directory.

14 November 2019

National Australia Bank treated me like ‘garbage’, sex worker says. Read news article on the Investor Daily website.

12 November 2019

The South Australian parliament votes against sex work decriminalisation.  This marks the 13th unsuccessful attempt to decriminalise sex work in that sate. 

23 October 2019

Sex Work Law Reform Victoria receives a Partnership Award from community health centre, Star Health. This award reflects our commitment to work constructively with community health and community legal centres in the advancement of our objectives.

18 October 2019

Liberal Democrats MP David Limbrick expresses his views on sex work regulation while being interviewed on Australia’s only sex work radio show ‘Behind Closed Doors’. Hear two sex workers interview Mr Limbrick on the ‘Behind Closed Doors’ podcast page.

17 October 2019

The representative of the Minister for Consumer Affairs in the Legislative Council, Adem Somyurek, concludes the first reading and Statement of Compatibility of the Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic). Mr Somyrek implies that the bill will confine inspection of the private sex worker register to police and other licensing officials. The Bill seeks to amend the Sex Work Act by winding back FOI access to information pertaining to the regulation of sex work in Victoria. At this time, no sex worker organisation was aware of the government’s intention to amend the Sex Work Act 1994 (Vic). The Bill was first introduced in September 2019.

Read about the history of the progress of the Bill

Adem Somyurek Statement of Compatibility (page 3534 of hansard, 17 October, 2019 Legislative Council)

Adem Somyurek Second Reading page 3538 of hansard, 17 October, 2019 Legislative Council)

Adem Somyurek Second Reading speech page 3540 of hansard, 17 October, 2019 Legislative Council)

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s100

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s101

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s101

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s102

17 October 2019

Minister for Consumer Affairs, Marlene Kairouz concludes the second and third readings of the Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic). The Bill is sent to the Upper House. The Bill seeks to amend the Sex Work Act by winding back FOI access to information pertaining to the regulation of sex work in Victoria. At this time, no sex worker organisation was aware of the government’s intention to amend the Sex Work Act 1994 (Vic). The Bill was first introduced in September 2019.

Read about the history of the progress of the Bill

Marlene Kairouz second and third readings (page 3757 of hansard, 17 October, 2019 Legislative Assembly)

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s100

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s101

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s101

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s102

16 October 2019

Debate of the Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) resumed on motion of the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Marlene Kairouz. The Shadow Minister for Consumer Affairs, Neil Angus, delivers the second reading and confirms the coalition will not be opposing the Bill. A number of Labor MP’s speak in favour of the Bill. Lizzie Blandthorn says the bill protects the confidentiality of the details of private sex workers. Dustin Halse says the sex work amendments are ‘commonsense’. John Eren says the Bill clarifies who has access to the register of private sex workers. Katie Hall says the Bill is important for the safety of sex workers. Sarah Connolly said a ‘very recent’ VCAT decision regarding sex work and FOI created the need to protect the personal information of sex workers. She added that the electoral roll and census data could potentially be used in conjunction with FOI law to identify the personal details of individual sex workers. As a result, she said, people wishing to name and shame sex workers using FOI pose a risk to the dignity and respect of sex workers. Opinionated individuals should be prevented from vilifying and humiliating registered private sex workers, she said. As a result the government consulted with Victoria Police and the Business Licensing Authority in the development of the Bill. 

The Bill seeks to amend the Sex Work Act by winding back FOI access to information pertaining to the regulation of sex work in Victoria. At this time, no sex worker organisation was aware of the government’s intention to amend the Sex Work Act 1994 (Vic). The Bill was first introduced in September 2019.

Read about the history of the progress of the Bill

Neil Angus Second Reading (page 3561 of hansard, 16 October, 2019 Legislative Assembly)

Neil Angus Second Reading (page 3562 of hansard, 16 October, 2019 Legislative Assembly)

Lizzie Blandthorn debate (page 3625 of hansard, 16 October, 2019 Legislative Assembly)

Dustin Halse debate (page 3629 of hansard, 16 October, 2019 Legislative Assembly)

John Eren debate (page 3632 of hansard, 16 October, 2019 Legislative Assembly)

Katie Hall debate (page 3635 of hansard, 16 October, 2019 Legislative Assembly)

Sarah Connolly debate (page 3636 of hansard, 16 October, 2019 Legislative Assembly)
Sarah Connolly debate (page 3637 of hansard, 16 October, 2019 Legislative Assembly)

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s100

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s101

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s101

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s102

16 October 2019

Sex Work Law Reform Victoria makes a submission (#15) to the 2019 Northern Territory Economic Policy Scrutiny Committee in relation to the Sex Industry Bill 2019 (NT). We recommended amendments to make the Bill in line with the principles of the full decriminalisation of sex work

View Our Submission

View All Submissions

September 2019

In response to media/social media reports that NAB discriminated against a sex worker, we met with NAB officials seeking clarification on their policy towards the sex industry. This resulted in a public statement from NAB:

“We absolutely do provide banking services to sex workers as individuals and have no plans to change this policy.

“However, NAB no longer banks brothels and escort agencies due to different laws and licencing requirements across states and territories. This is a risk based decision we have made to ensure we meet legislative requirements under the anti-money laundering and modern slavery laws.

“We encourage customers who work in the sex industry to contact us for more information."

29 September 2019

Film students at Deakin University in association with SWLRV release a six minute  documentary, ‘Men at Work’, about male Sex Work in Melbourne. The film tells the story of a young and determined male escort.  For more information about this film, see the ‘Men at Work’ FaceBook page.

View ‘Men at Work’ on Youtube below.

26 September 2019

Sex Work Law Reform Victoria delivers a speech and facilitates a Q and A panel with five sex workers for the Victorian Humanists. Details on the Victorian Humanist FaceBook page

Victorian Humanists Website

18 September 2019

Queensland Minister for Police, Hon Mark Ryan tables a new Bill (the ‘Police Powers and Responsibilities and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019’) which seeks to expand police powers and police regulation of Queensland’s sex industry

18 September 2019

The Northern Territory Labor government tables a sex work decriminalisation bill, ‘The Sex Industry Bill 2019′.

Read Scarlet Alliance Press Release

12 September 2019

Second reading of the Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) which seeks to amend the Sex Work Act by winding back FOI access to information pertaining to the regulation of sex work in Victoria. The Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs, Marlene Kairouz delivers the second reading speech. 

Read about the history of the progress of the Bill

Marlene Kairouz Second Reading (page 3338 of hansard, 12 September, 2019 Legislative Assembly)

Marlene Kairouz Second Reading (page 3339 of hansard, 12 September, 2019 Legislative Assembly)

Marlene Kairouz Second Reading (page 3340 of hansard, 12 September, 2019 Legislative Assembly)

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s100

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s101

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s101

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s102

12 September 2019

The Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs, Marlene Kairouz makes a statement of compatibility in relation to the Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) which seeks to amend the Sex Work Act by winding back FOI access to information pertaining to the regulation of sex work in Victoria. A statement of compatibility states that a bill is compatible with Victoria’s human rights Charter. At this time, no sex worker organisation was aware of the government’s intention to amend the Sex Work Act 1994 (Vic).

Read about the history of the progress of the Bill

Marlene Kairouz Statement of Compatibility (page 3334 of hansard, 12 September, 2019 Legislative Assembly)

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s100

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s101

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s101

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s102

11 September 2019

The Victorian government tables an omnibus Bill in the Lower House which seeks to wind back FOI access to information pertaining to the regulation of sex work in Victoria. The Bill, which seeks to amend the Sex Work Act, is introduced by the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Marlene Kairouz. The government failed to consult with any sex workers in the development of the Bill. At this time, no sex worker organisation was aware of the government’s intention to amend the Sex Work Act 1994 (Vic).

Read about the history of the progress of the Bill

Explanatory Memorandum (pp 42-43)

Marlene Kairouz first reading (page 3203 of hansard, 11 September, 2019 Legislative Assembly)

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s100

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s101

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s101

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) s102

10 September 2019

Victorian crossbench MP David Limbrick of the Liberal Democrats calls out National Australia Bank in parliament for engaging in ‘financial discrimination‘ against sex workers and sex industry businesses. Financial discrimination occurs when banks refuse to provide services to sex workers. It is a surprisingly common practise across Australia. 

Some banks have been sending letters to sex workers notifying them that their accounts will be cancelled and they need to go elsewhere. I'm not asking the government to regulate this, but I'm happy to call it out. NAB, I'm looking at you.

Posted by David Limbrick MP on Monday, September 9, 2019

31 August 2019

Article uncovers first photo of Madame Brussels, the red light queen of 1880’s Melbourne. Historian reveals a vibrant brothel scene in 19th Century  Melbourne. 

The Age Online Article

28 August 2019

Disability rights group Disabled People’s Organisations Australia releases a Joint Position Statement calling on the National Disability Insurance Agency to develop a comprehensive sexuality policy to continue reasonable and necessary support for sexual expression through NDIS funding.

Joint Position Statement

27 August 2019

Upper House MP Andy Meddick (Animal Justice Party) delivers a speech referring to murdered Sydney woman Michaela Dunn and the need to decriminalise sex work in Victoria. Mr Meddick expresses his support for sex work decriminalisation, saying it provides safer working environments for sex workers.

Read Mr Meddick’s speech in Hansard (page 27)

26 August 2019

British poll finds that more Britons support sex work law reform than oppose it. Rights Info, a human rights new organisation, releases findings from new poll.

Read Rights Info Report

21 August 2019

Sex Work Law Reform Victoria becomes an incorporated association and not for profit organisation. 

CAV Registration Details

31 July 2019

South Australian Attorney General introduces sex work decriminalisation bill for second reading in the House of Assembly and criticises sex work licensing structures, such as the licensing structure in Victoria:

‘Finally, I turn to regulation and licensing. I do not believe that licensing structures have a place in any debate around the decriminalisation of sex work. This view is shared by current licensed jurisdictions like New Zealand, New South Wales and Queensland, which, I have been advised, are progressing towards full decriminalisation. South Australia has the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of other jurisdictions and progress with a fully decriminalised model, yet one which enshrines advertising restrictions, protections for vulnerable persons, exit assistance and police powers.’

Read the full speech in Hansard

31 July 2019

Alleged racial profiling and discrimination against sex workers alive and well in New South Wales. 

ABC News Article

31 July 2019

Sex Work Law Reform Victoria makes a submission to the 2019 Victorian Economy and Infrastructure Committee as part of the Committee’s inquiry into the social and economic benefits of seeking to place disadvantaged jobseekers into sustainable employment.

Sex Work Law Reform Victoria’s Submission (see submission #38)

31 July 2019

California legislates to protect sex workers from arrest if they report violence. 

Human Rights Campaign Article

31 July 2019

Alleged racial profiling and discrimination against sex workers alive and well in New South Wales. 

ABC News Article

11 July 2019

Tribunal orders disabled woman can spend NDIS funds on sexual services, but the judgement avoids the term ‘sex worker’. NDIS intends to appeal a decision it deeems ‘does not meet community expectations’.

ABC News Article

2 July 2019

ABC News article about Queensland’s history of police corruption and entrapment. Queensland has a system of sex work licencing laws that, like Victoria, make sex workers less safe and more isolated. 

ABC News Article

29 June 2019

Sex Work Law Reform Victoria met with Andy Meddick from the Animal Justice Party, a party in the Upper House of the Victorian Parliament. As a result of our meeting, Andy Meddick made public his individual views on sex work,

‘I am governed by our Party Values, the most key of which is compassion. It is this over – riding commitment to this value that drives my support for the fundamental rights of sex workers. Should appropriate sex work decriminalisation legislation come before Parliament, I would be voting in favour.’

22 June 2019

What happened after Aussie sex workers were kicked off American websites? ABC technology reporter Ariel Bogle interviews Gala Vanting from Scarlet Alliance, Dean Lim from 3CR’s Behind Closed DoorsEstelle Lucas from Red Filesand the team from Assembly Four

ABC News Article

21 June 2019

South Australian sex worker and academic Roxana Diamond writes about police corruption, her research and the details of the South Australian sex work decriminalisation bill

The Conversation Online Article

20 June 2019

South Australia’s Upper House passes sex work decriminalisation with minimal amendments

ABC News Article

15 June 2019

News.com.au  article ‘Kate Iselin: Inside the life of a 54-year-old street-based sex worker‘ by Kate Iselin quotes us in an exploration of street-based sex work and policing. 

10 June 2019

‘New York State in the USA reveals a sex work decriminalisation bill’

The New Republic Article

3 June 2019

‘Mexico City gives green light to decriminalise sex work.’

Reuters Article

30 May 2019

Article ‘This Sex Worker Who Was Sexually Assaulted Didn’t Think She Would Be Believed. Now Her Client Is Going To Jail’ by Gina Rushton. 

Buzfeed News Article

1 May 2019

ABC Article ‘What sex industry workers think of One Nation’s Steve Dickson ‘strip club scandal’ by Gala Vanting.

ABC News Article

27 April 2019

News.com.au article ‘Brothels on your street? How sex work decriminalisation would affect you’ by Kate Iselin quotes us in a discussion about sex work decriminalisation

3 April 2019

ABC Article ‘Aussie sex workers hope legislative tide is turning in their favour’

ABC News Article

2 April 2019

‘Northern Territory becomes latest jurisdiction to consider sex worker law reform’ ABC Radio show ‘PM’ 

30 March 2019

Northern Territory releases a Discussion Paper critical of Victoria’s sex work licensing laws and calls on the Northern Territory Attorney General to consider a form of sex work decriminalisation

Download NT’s Discussion Paper

28 March 2019

Prominent sex worker’s rights activists Dame Catherine Healy and Julie Bates AO visit the South Australian Parliament calling for sex work decriminalisation.

Read ABC News Story

28 March 2019

Article by sex worker critiques decriminalisation campaigns and the laws in place in New Zealand and New South Wales. By Nada Zenith DeCat.

Tits and Sass Article

23 March 2019

LGBTI organisations from across the world call for the decriminalisation of sex work

ILGA Statement

February 2019

Sex Work Law Reform Victoria met with David Limbrick from the Liberal Democrats, a party in the Upper House of the Victorian Parliament. As a result of our meeting, the Liberal Democrats updated their policy on sex work so that it now reads,

‘No criminalisation of sex-work involving adults.’

11 January 2019

SBS TV Documentary ‘Original Sin: Sex’

Chock full of quirky, provocative archival footage, and with insights from top academics like biological anthropologist Helen Fisher as well as standout celebrities from Andy Cohen to Margaret Cho, and Ann Coulter to Dr. Ruth Westheimer, this episode takes us on a rapid-fire survey of the technologies that have revolutionized our relationship to sex.

View on SBS Online (sign in required)

© Sex Work Law Reform Victoria 2020