News (2021)

14 October 2021

Bitcoin trader settles discrimination complaint against ANZ Bank

In common with sex workers, bitcoin traders experience banking discrimination. Allan Flynn is a Canberra based bitcoin trader who lodged a complaint with the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal alleging he was unlawfully discriminated against by ANZ Bank on the basis of his ‘occupation’. Mr Flynn settles his dispute with ANZ Bank out of tribunal. Mr Flynn’s separate anti-discrimination complaint against Westpac Bank remains active.

Read Sydney Morning Herald story, ‘ANZ settles debanking case brought by bitcoin trader(behind a paywall)

13 October 2021

Sex work decriminalisation bill second reading

The Sex Work Decriminalisation Bill 2021 (Vic) receives a second reading and Statement of Compatibility in the Legislative Assembly. Debate is adjourned by a fortnight. See pages 2-10 of Hansard for more information. 

12 October 2021

Sex work decriminalisation bill tabled

Minister for Consumer Affairs, Melissa Horne tables and reads in the Sex Work Decriminalisation Bill 2021 (Vic) in the Legislative Assembly. See pages 1-2 of Hansard for more information. 

7 September 2021

Monash University Student Newspaper Covers Sex Work

Journalist SOHANI GOONETILLAKE from Mojo news (Monash University student publication) interviews key sex workers’ rights advocates about how Victoria came to decriminalise sex work and what it all means for sex workers. Ms Goonetillake interviewed Fiona Patten from the Reason Party, Dean Lim from sex worker group Working Man, Estelle Lucas from sex worker charity Red Files and Cheryl Overs, one of the founding members of Scarlet Alliance.

Blow jobs are real jobs: sex workers speak out amid political change

20 August 2021

Queensland’s Attorney General refers the state’s sex work laws to the Queensland Law Reform Commission. This suggests a continued building in the momentum across Australia for the decriminalisation of sex work

Read ABC Article: Queensland sex workers say outdated laws leave many unsafe and reluctant to report crime

20 August 2021

Adult content website OnlyFans announces it will prohibit pornographic videos on the site from October 2021. Solo nude photos and videos will still be permitted. The website, with 130 million users globally, became increasingly popular as an alternative source of income for Victorian sex workers during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and 2021. The policy change followed mounting pressure from banks and payment processor companies. 

Read Bloomberg article: OnlyFans to Bar Sexually Explicit Videos Starting in October

13 August 2021

The Age reports on the Victorian Government’s announcement to decriminalise sex work within two years

Following a Victorian Government press release  laying out a two year plan to decriminalise sex work, the Age speaks to Minister for Consumer Affairs, Melissa Horne, Fiona Patten, MP and a spokesperson from Sex Work Law Reform Victoria. 

Read The Age article Victoria to decriminalise sex work in ‘world leading’ move’

11 August 2021

Historian Barbara Minchinton speaks on ABC Radio National program Late Night Live about her recently published book about Melbourne’s thriving sex industry in the late nineteenth century. Ms Minchinton dug up evidence beneath Little Lonsdale St in Melbourne to uncover a flourishing and wealthy sex industry

Listen to podcast: Excavating the brothels of 19th century Melbourne

9 August 2021

Victoria Police lodge an application with the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court to have Melbourne’s largest strip club officially classified as an ‘illegal brothel’ or a proscribed premises. If the police application is successful, it would shut down the strip club completely. The Men’s Gallery strip club owner Peter Iwaniuk, hired high profile human rights lawyer Greg Barns, SC to defend the matter in court. The matter was adjourned to 5 November, 2021. 

Read The Age article ‘Police move to close strip club accused of ‘facilitating prostitution’

14 July 2021

Fiona Patten is interviewed by Sydney Criminal Lawyers about Victoria’s move to decriminalise sex work. In 2020 the Victorian Government tasked crossbench MP Fiona Patten with conducting a review of Victoria’s existing sex work laws

Victorian Government Sex Work Review website

Sydney Criminal Lawyers interview with Fiona Patten (transcript)

2 July 2021

The Age newspaper reports a sex work decriminalisation bill is expected to be tabled in the Victorian Parliament by the end of the year. The opposition is yet to hold a position on the issue of sex work decriminalisation

Read The Age article Laws on sex work ‘enshrine’ prejudice

22 June 2021

Late in the evening, the Australian Senate passed the Online Safety Bill 2021. The bill expands the powers of the eSafety Commissioner to take down consensual adult content online and on social media platforms. A number of proposed amendments designed to better protect porn performers and sex workers from government over reach were not adopted in the final version of the bill which passed.

Read Crikey.com.au article ‘Parties unite to deliver greater internet censorship powers to government-appointed official

31 May 2021

South Australian Chief Health Officer Publicly Supports Sex Work Decriminalisation

South Australia is once again considering decriminalising sex work. In 2020 the Statutes Amendment (Repeal of Sex Work Offences) Bill (SA) was referred to a Select Committee of the South Australian Legislative Council for inquiry and report. On 31 May 2021, South Australia’s Chief Health Officer, Professor Nicola Spurrier gave evidence at a time when state and territory governments across Australia had been tackling the global coronavirus pandemic for more than 12 months. The Chief Health Officer publicly supported decriminalising sex work, arguing South Australia’s existing legislation which criminalises all forms of sex work creates barriers to sex workers accessing healthcare and barriers to combatting preventable diseases.

Download transcript of Nicola Spurrier’s speech about sex work and public health 

27 April 2021

Privacy Guide for Sex Workers Published

The Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC) deals with privacy and freedom of information issues in Victoria. We are proud to have worked with OVIC in the creation of a new guide for sex workers about privay and the law. ‘Sex Workers’ Privacy Rights’ is now live on the OVIC website. 

13 February 2021

Following a fresh outbreak of coronavirus in Victoria, the Victorian Government orders the state return to Stage 4 coronavirus restrictions. This means that once again all forms of sex work become banned state wide.

11 February 2021

Hustler publisher Larry Flynt dies. The porn entrepreneur built Hustler magazine into an adult entertainment empire while championing freedom of speech rights. Personalities like Larry Flynt helped build mainstream acceptance of adult entertainment and sex work in the English speaking world and beyond.

Read ABC article: Hustler publisher Larry Flynt dies in Hollywood home aged 78 following a life of controversy and tragedy

4 February, 2021

Government Services Minister Stuart Robert indicates the Australian Government’s plans to prevent National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funds being used on sexual therapy, which was not explicitly banned under the taxpayer-funded scheme. This follows a 2020 unanimous federal court ruling that found it was legal to use taxpayer funding on sexual therapy because the NDIS Act did not specifically preclude it.

Read The Australian article: ‘Government plans to ban sexual services from NDIS

1 February, 2021

As the Federal Government moves to expand its powers to take down online pornography, Australia’s sex work radio show, Behind Closed Doors interviews Australian porn performer Kim Cums and porn legal expert Jarryd Bartle to explain how porn is currently regulated, and what the proposed laws (Online Safety Bill 2020) will mean for sex workers and porn performers alike.

Listen on Apple Podcasts: Kim Cums and Jarryd Bartle: Say NO to Part 9 of the Anti-Porn Laws!’

Read more about the bill: Consultation on a Bill for a new Online Safety Act

27 January, 2021

Sex work decriminalisation gets a big boost in New York State, USA with Manhattan DA Candidate Eliza Orlins issuing a detailed sex work policy supporting decriminalisation. While New York is far from Victoria, Australia Ms Orlins policy is one of the most significant developments in the USA on this front. Sex workers’ rights movements in different countries rely on and impact one another.

Read more in Daily Beast article: Manhattan DA Candidate Eliza Orlins Has a Plan to Make New York City Safer for Sex Workers

© Sex Work Law Reform Victoria 2021