News (2023)

1 May 2023 – First Mayor in Victoria backs sex workers’ rights

For the first time in Victoria, a sitting Mayor publicly supports the decriminalisation of sex work. Mayor Tony Briffa said the following on social media:

“It’s about time sex work has been decriminalised in Victoria.  Sex work is work.  

I hope councils do what they’re required to do and treat sex service businesses like other businesses.”

Tony Briffa is the Mayor of City of Hobsons Bay. This is significant as all other councils and Mayors have either remained neutral or strongly opposed the decriminalisation of sex work.

Mayor Tony Briffa Tweet

26 April 2023 – Conspiracy Theorists Flood Council Meeting

Close to 200 conspiracy theorists become rowdy at a City of Monash council meeting. Screaming ‘paedophile’ at councillors, the protesters opposed the council’s upcoming drag queen story time event at a local library. This is significant for sex workers, as the increasing pressure on councils from far right conspiracy theory groups represents an emergency threat to sex workers’ rights in Victoria. Protesters clash over drag story-time event at Melbourne council meeting

24 April 2023 – Queensland Government set to introduce new laws by end of 2023

Following 47 recommendations from the Queensland Law Reform Commission, the Queensland Attorney General tells the media the Queensland Government hopes to introduce legislation to decriminalise sex work by the end of the year.

ABC News: Queensland Law Reform Commission recommends widespread changes to sex work laws to decriminalise the industry

Queensland Law Reform Commission’s Summary Report on Sex Work Laws

3 April 2023 – Pro-sex work Mayor a member of Mayoral Advisory Panel

Tony Briffa is the Mayor of the City of Hobsons Bay, and is pro-sex work. The Victorian Government appoints Mayor Briffa as a member of the Mayoral Advisory Panel for 2023, an influential position. This is great news for sex workers, as Mayor Briffa can raise sex workers’ rights during the regular meetings of the Panel.

Press Release: New Mayoral Advisory Panel Named For 2023

1 April 2023 – Law Journal Article discusses sex worker financial discrimination

The City New York Law Review publishes a detailed academic journal article about financial discrimination against sex workers in Australia and the USA.

High Risk Hustling: Payment Processors Sexual Proxies and Discrimination by Design

28 March 2023 – Queensland agrees to improve anti-discrimination laws for sex workers

The Queensland Government formally responds to the Queensland Human Rights Commission’s report Building belonging: Review of Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Act 1991. The Review recommended a number of measures to better protect sex workers from discrimination. The Queensland Government agreed to:

  • support in principle adding in a new attribute ‘sex worker’ defined to mean ‘being a sex worker or engaging in sex work.’ However, this change would need to wait for the completion of the Queensland Law Reform Commission’s separate review of sex industry laws. (recommendation 24.1)
  • support in principle ensuring accommodation discrimination against sex workers is unlawful and harmonising the definition of sex worker across different laws. However, this change would need to wait for the completion of the Queensland Law Reform Commission’s separate review of sex industry laws. (recommendation 24.3)
  • support in-principle developing targeted resources for sex workers (recommendation 6.3)
  • support in-principle allowing organisations to make complaints on behalf of individuals under all areas of the Act. Organisation complaints should have the same options and outcomes as individual complaints (recommendations 10.1-11.4)


28 March 2023 – Moira Deeming accepts her suspension from Liberal Party

Via a public statement anti-sex work politician Moira Deeming admits attending a protest alongside neo-nazis ‘may have been an error of judgement’ and that she accepts her nine month suspension.

Moira Deeming statement (28 March 2023)

27 March 2023 – Liberal Party suspends anti-sex work MP Moira Deeming

Following weeks of controversy over her harsh anti-trans remarks, the Victorian Liberal Party unanimously voted to suspend rogue MP Moira Deeming for nine months. The party’s leader, John Pesutto, had initially sought to have Mrs Deeming permanently expelled from the party. However, during a lengthy and emotional party meeting the decision was reached to hand down a nine months suspension. Sex Work Law Reform Victoria considers Moira Deeming to be the most anti-sex work politician in the Victorian Parliament.

ABC News Article: Victorian Liberal Leader John Pesutto says MP Moira Deeming has not made a good start to her suspension

20 March 2023 – Rogue Liberal MP Moira Deeming attends anti-trans rally on steps of parliament

Rogue Liberal Party MP Moira Deeming organised, attended and spoke at an anti-trans demonstration on the steps of the Victorian Parliament. The event was gatecrashed by a group of neo-Nazi’s who held a large sign reading ‘Destroy paedo freaks’. The highly controversial MP gained notoriety and generated much media attention. 

Nine News Article: Rogue MP who attended rally crashed by neo-Nazis to fight move to expel her from Liberal Party

Read over 100 of Moira Deeming’s anti-trans and anti-sex work emails published by SWLRV

12 March 2023 – Fiona Patten to remain politically active following departure from parliament

The media reports that former sex worker Fiona Patten will remain engaged in politics following her loss at the November 2022 state election. Fiona Patten led the move to decriminalise sex work in Victoria, following her review of sex industry laws. 

ABC Article: Reason Party leader Fiona Patten on finding her place after two terms as a politician

10 March 2023 – Anti-sex work council pauses Christian prayers at meetings

A local government podcast covers new that City of Boroondara councillor Victor Franco has sought legal advice to end Christian prayers at the anti-sex work council. Sex Work Law Reform Victoria considers the City of Boroondara to be Melbourne’s number 1 anti-sex work council. Go to the 6 minute, 18 seconds mark.

Local Government News Roundup (10 March 2023)

27 February 2023 – Melbourne’s most anti-sex work council drops Christian prayers at council meetings

The City of Boroondara has dropped mandatory Christian prayers at every council meeting, following a legal threat from a pro-sex work councillor. Melbourne’s number one anti-sex work council dropped the mandatory prayers following legal representation from pro-sex work councillor Victor Franco. 

Read Age Article from 8 March 2023: Gone Almighty: Council halts Christian prayer after legal warning

Read Council Meeting 27 February 2023, Item 9 Urgent Business

21 February 2023 – City of Whittlesea to require street based sex workers to have permits

In response to a question from a Sex Work Law Reform Victoria volunteer, the City of Whittlesea confirmed all street based sex workers operating in the council area will require small business permits to operate. This requirement is both lawful, non-discriminatory and consistent with the Sex Work Decriminalisation Act 2022 (Vic). 

Watch Council Answer Street Sex  Work Question (1.5 minutes)

Council Minutes (see Item 4.1)

21 February 2023 – Extremist MP rages against sex work in Parliament

Moira Deeming was recently elected to the Victoria Parliament with the Liberal Party. In her first speech in Parliament, Mrs Deeming chose to focus on the threat that sex workers and trans people pose to children and society at large. She railed against ‘children in brothels’ and said Victoria would inevitably become “the child rape capital of Australia”.

Read The Guardian article, Victorian Liberal MP Moira Deeming’s first speech to parliament condemned’

Read Moira Deeming’s anti-sex work speech here (page 43)

16 February 2023 – New regulation to license financial service providers

Merchant providers routinely deny financial services to the sex industry in Australia, with federal regulation of these companies one mechanism to address this discrimination. Today, The Reserve Bank of Australia provided an update following its February 2023 meeting. A statement provided by the bank about payment systems regulatory reform:

“Payments system regulatory reform. The Board discussed the Government’s development of a strategic plan for the future of Australia’s payments system and welcomed the Government’s planned update of payments system legislation. This update will include modernising the Payment Systems (Regulation) Act 1998 and introducing a new licensing framework for payments service providers. These reforms will help to ensure that Australia’s regulatory regime is fit for purpose and flexible enough to respond to the fast-changing world of payments.”

Read RBA Media Release (16 February 2023)

11 February 2023 – Melbourne sex worker spared jail after attempting to blackmail client out of $100,000

A sex worker who formerly worked at Melbourne escort agency Paramour of Collins and Melbourne brothel Gotham City, has been convicted of blackmail, after secretly recording her having sex with a client. The sex worker then demanded her client pay $100,000 in order to prevent the sex worker from telling his wife.

Read Herald Sun article

6 February 2023 – Colombian Student Pleads Not Guilty to Murdering Sex Worker

Kimberly McRae was a transgender sex worker who used to live and work in the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda. She later moved to Sydney. Colombian international student Hector Enrique Valencia Valencia pleaded not guilty to her murder, despite admitting killing Kimberly in Sydney.

Read AAP Story: ‘Student ‘lost self-control’ killing trans sex worker’

5 February 2023 – No sex workers at Melbourne Pride March

The Midsumma Festival returned the Melbourne Pride March in St Kilda after an absence during the pandemic. There were dozens of corporate floats, including a float by anti-sex work bank NAB, but no sex worker groups had a presence.

3 February 2023 – Pressure on anti-sex work council to drop Christian prayers at meetings

Melbourne’s number 1 anti-sex work council, the City of Boroondara, is under renewed pressure to drop Christian prayers at council meetings. The councils only pro-sex work councillor, Victor Franco is continuing his campaign to end Christian prayers at the conservative council. Reporting by Wendy Tuohy for The Age.

Councillors take a stand over ‘inappropriate’ Christian prayers at meetings

17 January 2023 – NAB responds to financial discrimination story

Within 24 hours of the Australian Financial Review publishing a story (behind a paywall) on banking discrimination against the sex industry, the National Australia Bank responds by publishing a short statement on its own website confirming it continues to ban all lawful sex industry businesses across Australia. The bank says there is a high likelihood of money laundering and human rights abuses in the sex industry in Australia. 

NAB’s policies in relation to banking the sex industry (Statement on 17 January 2023)

© Sex Work Law Reform Victoria 2023