Where do Victorian Political Parties Stand?
In Australia, sex work laws are created and amended by state/territory parliaments. In Victoria, the following political parties take these respective stances on sex work law:
Australian Labor Party (Victorian Branch)
According to the The Australian Labor Party’s Victorian Branch Platform 2018:
‘Victorian Labor is committed to strengthening human rights and equal opportunity for all Victorians. Labor will recommend that the Victorian Law Reform Commission consider decriminalisation of all sex work in Victoria as per other systems recognised internationally by human rights organisations.’¹
The State Member for Albert Park, Martin Foley, is a supporter of full decriminalisation. Between 2007 and 2010 Mr Foley chaired the state government’s Sex Work Ministerial Advisory Committee during which time some positive amendments were made to sex work legislation.
The current State Member for Richmond, Richard Wynne, was the Chairperson for the Attorney-General’s Street Prostitution Advisory Group. This group met with street based sex workers in St Kilda between 2001 and 2002 in the lead up to the release of its final report. The report recommended the decriminalisation of street based sex work in some parts of St Kilda and the creation of “safe houses”.²
The Liberal Party of Australia (Victorian Division) does not hold a formal position. Despite the Nordic Model of sex work laws being unanimously opposed by all sex workers’ rights organisations in Australia, in 2018 the Liberal Party’s Victorian State Council passed a resolution to adopt the Nordic Model. Resolutions are NOT binding on the parliamentary party.
The Victorian Greens support the full decriminalisation of sex work. However, the Greens candidate for the seat of Richmond, Kathleen Maltzahn, has a long history of anti-sex work advocacy, including supporting the Nordic Model of sex work laws. Ms Maltzahn’s previous activism in this area puts her at odds with the party she represents. In May 2018, Kathleen Maltzahn released a statement that she would vote in keeping with the Greens Party policy.³
Reason Party/Fiona Patten (formerly the Australian Sex Party)
Supports the full decriminalisation of sex work. Fiona Patten, the Victorian MP for the Northern Metropolitan Region, has a long and active history of supporting decriminalisation of consensual adult sex work, and sex workers’ rights. Ms Patten identifies as a former sex worker herself.
No position, however, Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins, Victorian MP for the Western Metropolitan Region, is an active supporter of the Nordic Model of sex work laws.
Last updated: 9 February 2019