November 2021: submission calling for the Banking Code Compliance Committee to better reflect the needs of small business
The Banking Code Compliance Committee monitors and enforces breaches of banking regulation, including breaches in which banks refuse to provide services to small businesses (including sex industry businesses). As sex workers and sex industry businesses are classified as small businesses, banking regulation reforms benefiting small businesses in general, benefit sex workers. Our submission to the Review of the Banking Code Compliance Committee called for more attention to be provided to small business customers of banks (as opposed to personal customers). The only other sex industry submission was provided by the Eros Association.
26 October 2021: submission opposing the retention of street solicitation offences
In October the Victorian Government tabled the Sex Work Decriminalisation Bill 2021 (Vic), which seeks to mostly decriminalise sex work in Victoria. The bill seeks to maintain criminal offences associated with street based sex work in some locations, at some times of the day. Sex Work Law Reform Victoria was the only organisation to make a submission to the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee (SARC) opposing such offences, arguing solicitation offences represent a breach of the human rights of street-based sex workers.
27 September 2021: Interim Report of the 2021 Banking Code Review
Our submission on the Interim Report of the 2021 Banking Code Review highlighted the large number of submissions which focused on the issue of banking discrimination, and the need for the Review to acknowledge and address this issue in its recommendations.
2021: Mandatory Age Verification Regime
The passage Online Safety Act 2021 (Cth) in mid 2021 introduced further restrictions on pornography online. In August 2021, the eSafety Commissioner called for submissions about the introduction of a Mandatory Age Verification Regime, which would apply to online pornography in order to prevent children from accessing adult imagery.
2021: Banking Regulation/Banking Discrimination Review
Every three years, the Banking Code Review reviews Australia’s banking regulations, the Banking Code of Practice. The Terms of Reference included whether banks treat their customers fairly, and issues of access to banking and discrimination experienced by business customers. We argued the Banking Code of Practice needs to fully incorporate the term ‘small business’ in order to protect sex workers from banking discrimination. Our submission lays out how banking discrimination occurs, and how to prevent it.
2021: South Australian Sex Work Decriminalisation Inquiry
In 2021 the South Australian Parliament called for submissions to South Australia’s latest sex work decriminalisation bill, the Statutes Amendment (Repeal of Sex Work Offences) Bill (SA). The South Australian Parliament publishes all submissions to the 2021 sex work decriminalisation inquiry. Our submission on the Statutes Amendment (Repeal of Sex Work Offences) Bill (SA) focused on the manner in which South Australian Police charge people in the sex industry with crimes. We found that 96.1% related to activities associated with consensual adult sex work; only 3.9% of offences related to paedophilia or coercion.
Go to Statutes Amendment (Repeal of Sex Work Offences) Bill (SA) inquiry website
Improving Responses of the Justice System to Sexual Offences
In 2020 the Victorian Law Reform Commission commenced a review “Improving Responses of the Justice System to Sexual Offences”. Our submission was one of two submissions that focussed on sexual offences committed against sex workers. We recommend ensuring sex work entrapment operations are made unlawful and call for a closer working relationship between government and the sex industry.
Online Safety Bill 2021
The Australian Government sought submissions about the Online Safety Bill 2021 which seeks to regulate online content by removing online harmful content. The Online Safety Bill 2021 is almost identical to the Exposure Draft Online Safety Bill 2020. Our submission is critical of Part 9 of the Bill which contains broad powers to take down online pornography depicting consenting adults.
View Submission 12 (Sex Work Law Reform Victoria)
Exposure Draft Online Safety Bill 2020
The Australian Government published an exposure draft bill which seeks to regulate online content by removing online harmful content. Our submission is critical of Part 9 of the Bill which contains broad powers to take down online pornography depicting consenting adults.
Financial Services Reform Taskforce – Enforceability of financial services industry codes
Banks still largely rely on a voluntary Code of Practice as a form of regulation. The existing Banking Code of Practice is seldom enforced and enables banks to discriminate against the sex industry. As part of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, our submission calls for tougher regulation of banks to ensure the existing Banking Code of Practice can be legally enforced.
OVIC Investigation into the timeliness of Freedom of Information in Victoria
The Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC) is responsible for matters relating to freedom of information (FOI) in Victoria. In 2020, OVIC called for submissions to help identify Victorian government agencies that fail to process FOI requests in a timely manner. We identified the Department of Justice and Community Safety as an agency failing to process FOI requests in a timely manner. One FOI request took one year and ten days to process. We also provided an example of how FOI laws are a powerful tool for enhancing sex workers’ rights.
Inquiry into the Victorian Government’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
We identify poor communication and a lack of communication about what coronavirus restrictions mean for the sex industry as ongoing problems.
Proactive and informal release of information in the Victorian public sector
The Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC) called for submissions regarding freedom of information and the proactive and informal release of government documents. Our submission is critical of the Victorian government’s approach to sex work laws and FOI laws. We used a case study to highlight a lack of transparency and lack of proper consultations with sex workers before amendments to the Sex Work Act 1994 were quietly passed in late 2019.
Inquiry into the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Lowering the Donation Disclosure Threshold) Bill 2019
The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters in the Federal Parliament called for submissions on a bill which sought to increase transparency around political donations by decreasing the donation disclosure threshold for political donations. Given that some banks with the means to make considerable financial donations to political parties are the same organisations discriminating against sex workers and sex industry businesses, we supported the bill in its aim to increase transparency of political donations.
Inquiry into Homelessness in Victoria
Our submission argued that sex workers’ housing is rendered insecure by structural factors resulting from the interaction of rental laws, outdated sex work laws and anti-discrimination laws.
Inquiry into the Sex Industry Bill 2019 (NT)
Sex Work Law Reform Victoria makes a submission 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.
Inquiry Into Sustainable Employment for Disadvantaged Jobseekers
In 2019 the Victorian Economy and Infrastructure Committee sought submissions as part of its inquiry into the social and economic benefits of seeking to place disadvantaged jobseekers into sustainable employment. Page 7 of the Committee’s report refers to SWLRV’s submission.
Sex Work Law Reform Victoria’s Submission (see submission #38)
Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System
In 2019 the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System sought submissions from organisations about ways to improve Victoria’s mental health system.
© Sex Work Law Reform Victoria 2021
Last updated: 2 December 2021