Hoo rah! Put your hands in the air, there’s a party in the club tonight! I seem to recall I told you all so in no uncertain terms that the legal sex worker GK would win her Appeal against Dovedeen Pty Ltd and Mrs Joan Hartley of the Drover’s Rest Motel in Moranbah, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald on August 7th. The original ludicrous Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) decision was successfully overturned and brought in line with existing Queensland and Federal Law and recognised global best practice.
It had to happen. Blatant discrimination on behalf of the learned member in the initial QCAT decision was an embarrassment to QCAT and the Anti-discrimination Commission of Queensland (ADCQ) as well as to most Australian’s. Shame on her! The recent decision finding in favour of legal sex worker GK has shown that common sense does prevail but at what cost to GK and other sex workers who live with this kind of discrimination on a daily basis. The case should never have gone this far.
Sex worker’s now have to wait a further 28 days for the right to appeal the appeal to expire. How many countless other cases will never make it to the ADCQ’s attention for actual fear of the legal system that opts to make poor, corrupt decisions like the one we just witnessed. Why would anyone want to put themselves through a process of unrelenting scrutiny at the hands of weak kneed, religious zealots, I suspect, who succumb to bullying tactics or their own bias world view in order to influence decisions at this level?
Many sex workers experience discrimination and don’t report due to barriers to access including internalised stigmatisation, fear of information being used for other purposes, fear of disclosure of personal information being provided to the perpetrator or media, lack of understanding of legislative coverage by sex workers, fear of retaliatory action by the perpetrator or others. Perhaps we will soon see just how many pending cases have been waiting in the wings for this long awaited positive outcome that actually stands up for our human rights.
This case has become one of the most significant public landmark cases in Queensland’s anti-discrimination history. Queensland is finally saying loud and clear that human rights violations will not be tolerated and no amount of bullying from fanatical Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) type politics will interfere with a fair and just process. A far cry from the days of pandemic corruption Queenslander’s suffered under Joh Bjelke-Petersen. This is a huge win for Queensland and legal sex workers Australia wide.
The Tribunal wrote an exemplary comprehensive legal explanation of their decision which systematically used appropriate law to back-up the true spirit and meaning of ‘lawful sexual activity’. There are no obscure, grasping at straws findings here. QCAT can feel pleased that they have successfully vindicated theselves and done so with huge integrity. The case has now successfully been brought back into focus; it is illegal in the State of Queensland to discriminate against another person seeking accommodation just because they are a sex worker.
In fact the QCAT findings were so comprehensive that an appeal of the appeal seems highly unlikely. However, I am well aware of the depth of ill-feeling within members of the moral police. Sadly, I expect nothing less than more inappropriate bullying tactics and political interference on this case. It will be interesting to see just who these redneck players are, what power’s they think they wield and to just what lengths they are prepared to go to keep Queenslander’s in the Dark Ages.
In Queensland, sex workers have been accessing the ADCQ for over fifteen years in responding to the high levels of discrimination that are perpetrated against sex workers within the community. Not all situations are covered by the Anti Discrimination Act but commentator’s have found that by having some degree of coverage, sex workers have a sense of justification to stand up for their rights. However, most cases of discrimination go unreported alongside violent crimes being perpetrated against us from clients who understand their risks of being prosecuted are low.
Most cases of discrimination because of lawful sexual activities, are based on moral attitudes and predjudices which are validated by the Criminal Code, Chapter 22A which is designed to cover an act of deviance rather than a business. With the introduction of the Prostitution Act 2000, the government recognised sex work as legitimate work but this has done little to improve the situation for sole traders. Other forms of discrimination which have been addressed through the ADCQ have included;
- Refusal to provide accommodation by real estates, lessors, etc
- Eviction from rented premises both within the short and long term accommodation providers with or without refunds
- Banking facilities such as eftpos, loans, insurance coverage not being provided
- Insurance companies not providing coverage for life insurance or income protection. As Workcover Qld still does not provide coverage to sex workers within brothels, these sex workers continue to be recognised as sole traders.
- Schools refusing children of sex workers to be enrolled
- Training providers refusing to acknowledge the skills and knowledge gained as a sex worker or refusing enrolment by ‘out’ sex workers
- Churches and clubs refusing enrolment or membership
- Community services refusing to provide assistance in particular homelessness services where evictions on discovery of status or activities outside of the housing provided occur regularly
- Children’s community services disadvantaging sex workers families
I am convinced the ADCQ could provide a more comprehensive list of areas in which their legislation provides coverage. Unfortunately it does not cover all forms of discrimination such as the predujudicial attitudes of Magistrates within the Family Law Courts within custody battles that are not covered either due to it being a federal jurisdiction. I am ever hopeful that after this hugely important win, we might finally begin to see significant law changes emerging finally righting decades of wrongs.
But for now, I am basking in the glory that sex worker’s are finally being heard. There is definitely a party in the house tonight! Thank you GK for having the courage to do what many sex workers are afraid to do. You have my continued, ongoing support. There is no doubt that you will go down in whore-pride history! Jx