The Peters & the Pauls: The Fight for Sex Work Decriminalisation in Queensland

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Scarlet Alliance Red Umbrella protest on the steps of Parliament House in Adelaide 2016 

Decriminalisation is being fought for in Queensland right now, with a symposium in Parliament next week, 21st August. Respect Inc, Queensland’s sex worker organisation, is challenging government to replace existing sex work legislation, with complete decriminalisation of the sex industry as we know it in Queensland. I am absolutely ecstatic about this! As a sex worker who has worked in Queensland on and off over the past eight years, decriminalisation will impact me and my colleagues in an extremely positive way.

The current regulation of sex workers in Queensland is fraught with problems and dangers. Queensland can learn from New Zealand and New South Wales history of
decriminalisation, and improve on the legislation in those places. Northern Territory and South Australia governments are also considering decriminalisation of sex work. The lives of sex workers will not only be safer, we will have legal rights and recourse to address violence in the workplace, discrimination at the borders, discrimination in the real estate rental industry, health, banking and insurance industries and in the employment sector, in the same way that every other citizen enjoys.

Firstly, at the moment we are heavily regulated by police. This makes it extremely unlikely that sex workers will contact the police if they are abused, stalked, harrassed or threatened in the context of their work. We run the risk of being arrested ourselves, our immigration status potentially affected, our identity exposed and our choice of employment permanently placed in police and health records like a keloid scar that never heals. In the meantime, real criminals go unpunished and continue to target vulnerable sex workers in society. Police and government organisations can not adequately serve to protect us and then dob us in and prosecute us with their next breathe. This is a travesty of justice.

Early in the life of the current Queensland laws, Queensland police sought and had passed, an Amendment Bill (2011) to insert Clause 101 into the current legislation, which allowed police to continue to practice entrapment and ask sex workers for Natural (without a condom) sex services, in a supposed attempt to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STI’s). A wholly dubious practice that has been largely shunned by almost all democratic countries in the developed world! Entrapment deliberately sets a person up to break the law where they would not normally do so. Police actually have the power to pretend to be clients, go through with services and then charge a sex worker. How inappropriate is that! Conditions can be manipulated in order to justify an arrest.

Entrapment laws tend to only target our young people, street workers and migrant sex workers the most. Our most vulnerable. Sex workers who may be naiive, mentally challenged, itinerant or not so great at speaking or understanding English and whom are unfamiliar with the current laws. I consider myself an educated woman and even I have difficulty complying with the current laws around sex work.

It is not sex workers who are the cause of Australia’s burgeoning sexually transmitted infection (STI) statistics either. It is the general public, people who hold antiquated beliefs about wearing or carrying condoms and our young people who enter into the world of nightclubs and bars, become intoxicated and go on to have impromptu unprotected sex. I take full responsibility for providing safer sex practices as do my colleagues and as a result we have less risk of developing a sexually transmitted disease than the general public. Sex workers have been at the forefront of STI best practice for at least the last thirty years and safe sex is the industry standard.

Similarly in New Zealand, sex workers are taking “all reasonable steps to ensure a prophylactic sheath (condom) or other appropriate barrier is used” (Prostitution Reform Act 2003 cited in NZPC website). Perhaps a humourous state-wide advertising programme could be implemented to educate people on the risks of unsafe sex, targeting youth in order to reduce the stigma of using condoms and increase awareness? Perhaps government funded, free condom vending machines in every bar would be more cost effective? After all, 99% of sex workers comply with safe sex practices (Donovan, Harcourt, Egger, Fairley, 2010). 

Under the current regulatory framework, it is illegal for me to work or associate with another sex worker. This means that I am not able to let a colleague know where I am if I’m doing an outcall, what time and for how long the booking is or when I will be expected back home. I can be arrested for attempting to keep myself safe. I am not allowed to share accommodation with another sex worker to minimise costs or have anyone else on the premises while I work. This is considered to be running a brothel. I am not allowed to ask a colleague to work with me when a client requests two sex workers during the booking. This is considered to be procurement. Clients have to source additional sex workers themselves. How ridiculous!

Presently, different Australian states have different degree’s of decriminalisation and regulation and it is an absolute nightmare for touring sex workers who frequently travel interstate. New South Wales is the the only state where decriminalisation exists in Australia. Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia are all expected to follow suit. In Queensland, sex workers do not need to be registered if they are working as independents, however are required to undergo mandatory testing if they are working from a brothel.  Brothel’s are completely illegal in Tasmania with no sign of decriminalisation on the horizon, although local law enforcement and the media continue to turn a blind eye to the numerous advertisements that are in the local papers and online. The double standards are very real. Private sex workers working alone or in pairs is decriminalised in Tasmania.

Secondly, we are monitored by the Prostitution Licensing Authority (PLA) whom serve as a kind of watchdog for anything to do with our advertising platforms. We are heavily regulated in what we can say about our services and what sort of images we promote. For example, we are unable to show our nipples or genitals or any images of ourselves. They only recently started to let us depict BDSM practices such as whips, canes and paddles. The problem of regulating, is that you only have to type in ‘sex’ on the internet and your browser will show a million different sites and services showing naked, pornographic images and acts. It is an impossible task. I am reminded of the days of the Truth, where the page three girls were often depicted semi naked, bearing their breasts for all those readers to see. We still have public titty bars in operation in Queensland which provides some free eye candy for our hardworking tradies.

Obviously, there are many double standards with monitoring these sorts of things and in my mind, the PLA is nothing more than a paper-shuffling organisation set up to appease right wing christian lobbyists influencing government, like the Australian Christian Lobby. Religion has no place in government! There are too many Peter’s and Paul’s and I am the wrong kind of Mary. I don’t want to see any more public and political attacks on sex workers just because we are an affront to their conflated moral’s and beliefs! Remember GK and her eviction from Ma and Pa Kettle’s motel in Moranbah? The then Queensland Attorney-General Mr Jarrod Bleijie, began a successful smear campaign to change the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 to allow legal discrimination to occur in Queensland. Sex workers across Australia have had enough! We don’t want any more exploitation for politicial gain (often accompanied with dodgy donations) to keep the dangerous status quo! More athiests exist in Australia than God fearing citizens and so the time has come for the rights and lives of sex workers to be respected.

Thirdly, I want to be able to enjoy the freedom of being able to work safely in the sex industry in Queensland without fear of persecution. As with any marginalised group, I live with stigma and discrimination on a daily basis. Lyon asserts that health outcomes of sex workers are directly affected by stigmatisation and marginalisation and that “It is described as the single biggest issue facing sex workers – even those who operate legally” (Lyon, 2011: 2.3.1, 45). I am at risk of being blackmailed, harrassed, stalked, threatened and outed by police, real estate agents, employers, disgruntled ex partners/husbands, friends, family and even from my own colleagues, whom for a variety of reasons choose to act or react with ignorance and a sense of entitlement that justifies their violence. Violence comes in many different guises.

My own personal story involves an ex husband who rang my landlord and outed me, just because I was leaving him and his abuse, only for him to attack my only source of income and ruin my career. I was left penniless, unable to access Centrelink because I am a Kiwi who came to Australia post 911 and when significant political changes to immigration laws occurred in 2001 (New Zealanders are now considered Permanent Temporary Residents), which meant I had no access to financial support when I fell on hard times. I am not alone in wanting to create the life I choose in the sex industry. I have hopes, dreams and aspirations and I hope to one day become a dual citizen of Australia and New Zealand. Sex workers are everywhere in society, and most of the time you don’t even know we’re there because we are so discreet.

Lastly to recap, licensing slash regulation of the sex industry in Queensland, has not worked. Licensing, as opposed to decriminalisation, makes illegal operations more attractive because the legal sector is often kept smaller than the number of sex workers available to work (Lyon, 2011:10). This kind of defeats the purpose doesn’t it? Current licensing has created an impossible framework for sex workers to work within and one that often sets us up to fail by having to break laws in order to survive and work safely. Research by Respect Inc found that the mental health issues were rife in licensed brothels due to bad working conditions. Decriminalisation is a vital part of addressing the stress, bad work conditions, rights and welfare of all sex workers in Queensland.

It has been 30 years since the 1989 Fitzgerald Inquiry exposed the heinous corruption, extortion and exploitation of sex workers by Police that was occurring during the Joe Bjelke-Peterson days. In response, the Prostitution Act 1999 (Qld) introduced a brothel licensing system, but left the 1899 Criminal Code unchanged. Sadly, 80% of sex workers continue to be subject to police regulation and monitoring as a result. Essentially, we are seen as second class citizens in the state of Queensland, deemed unworthy of receiving even the most basic human rights and protections that our friends, family and communities are afforded. It is about time that numerous evidence-based research in favour of decriminalisation, is taken seriously and fully implemented by our Queensland government representatives.

Decriminalisation of the sex industry is the only way forward and is championed by many international human rights groups including the United Nations. Since the UN made a press release advocating for complete decriminalisation of the sex industry worldwide, we have witnessed several countries, their sex workers and supporters, collectively rise up in the hope that they will see history in the making. We are watching activists and governments work side by side to raise awareness for others and pave the way for the removal of harmful Draconian laws. Activists and governments are working tirelessly to navigate their way down this path to freedom not only for sex workers but for the community as a whole. Decriminalisation will bring about so many positive changes for sex workers, that our voices will finally have been heard and included in a modern society.

The benefits of decriminalisation far outweigh anything that we have seen to date. Police will finally be able to focus on real crime and stop wasting taxpayer money chasing after ghosts. Decriminalisation of the sex industry is the only way to move forward on the issue of human trafficking, sex slavery and violent crime against sex workers in Australia.  It is the only accepted course of action that the United Nations advocates globally because it recognises the overall positive impact on human rights, health and safety and addresses issues of harm minimisation in the area of disease prevention, violence and illegal activity (UNAIDS, 2009).

There is nothing wrong with offering or paying for sex services by consenting adults. I think there has been a general taboo about talking about or doing anything sexual for far too long. Slut shaming is a very real thing and begins from an early age. There is still time to make a difference and jump on the second wave of the sexual revolution bandwagon and advocate for complete decriminalisation for sex workers in Queensland. Lobby your local MP’s, write emails and letters in support even if you aren’t a provider, just because it’s the right thing to do. Let your friends and family know that you are in support of sex worker rights and tell them why. All we want is a safer work place, the ability to ask for help and to receive support when it is needed. A win/win for everyone in my book! 

 

© Copyright 2019, Jezabel, escortjezabel.com. All Rights Reserved

 

Published by the AIM Network 21st August 2019

 

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REFERENCES 

Criminal Code (Qld) 1899

The 1989 Fitzgerald Inquiry

The Prostitution Act (Qld) 1999

Abel, G., Fitzgerald, L., & Brunton, C., (2007). The Impact of the Prostitution Law Reform Act on the Health and Safety Practices of Sex Workers: Report to the Prostitution Law Review Committee. Christchurch: Otago University

Abel, G., Fitzgerald, L., & Brunton, C., (2009). The impact of decriminalisation on the number of sex workers in New Zealand. Journal of Social Policy 38(3) 515-31, 526, 528.

Basil Donovan, C Harcourt, S Egger, C Fairley,  (2010), ‘Improving the Health of Sex Workers in NSW: Maintaining Success’, NSW Public Health Bulletin 21(3-4) 74–7.

Basil Donovan, C Harcourt, S Egger, L Watchirs Smith, K Schneider, JM Kaldor, MY Chen, CK Fairley, S Tabrizi, The Sex Industry in New South Wales: A Report to the NSW Government, Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, 2012,http://www.kirby.unsw.edu.au/sites/hiv.cms.med.unsw.edu.au/files/hiv/attachment/NSWSexIndustryReportV4.pdf. |

Bennachie, C. (2010).  Decriminalising Sex Work in New Zealand – What it means to sex workers.  Paper presented at the International AIDS Conference, Vienna, July 2010.

Christine Harcourt, S Egger, B Donovan (2005), ‘Sex Work and the Law’, Sexual Heath 2(3) 121–8.

Christine Harcourt, J O’Connor, S Egger, C Fairly, H Wand, M Chen, L Marshall, J Kaldor, B Donovan, (2010), ‘The Decriminalisation of Prostitution is Associated with Better Coverage of Health Promotion Programs for Sex Workers’, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 34:5 at 482.

http://www.pla.qld.gov.au/

http://www.cdc.gov/std/health-disparities/age.htm

http://www.respectqld.org.au/

Lyon, W., (2011). Prohibitory Prostitution Laws and the Human Right to Health, Research Dissertation presented for partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of LLM in International Human Rights Law (Nottingham Trent University/HETAC), Law School, Griffith college, Dublin. pg 10

New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, http://www.nzpc.org.nz/page.php?page_name=Law

https://respectqld.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Documents/Regulating-Bodies-BWNA-2017.pdf.

O’Connor, C., Berry, G., Rohrsheim, R. and Donovan, B. (1996), ‘Sexual health and use of condoms among local and international sex workers in Sydney’, Genitourinary Medicine, 72: 1, 47–51.

QCAT,   GK v Dovedeen Pty Ltd & Anor (No 3)  [2011] QCAT 509 (10/ADL134) Brisb Ann Fitzpatrick, Member 25/10/2011 [available at:  http://www.sclqld.org.au/qjudgment/2011/QCAT/509

QCAT, GK v Dovedeen Pty Ltd and Anor (No 2)  [2011] QCAT 445 (10/ADL134) Brisb C Endicott, Senior Member 15/09/2011 [available at:  http://www.sclqld.org.au/qjudgment/2011/QCAT/445

QCATA, GK v Dovedeen Pty Ltd and Anor  [2012] QCATA 128 (11/APL416) Brisb PJ Roney SC, Presiding Member Dr B Cullen, Member 31/07/2012  [available at:
http://www.sclqld.org.au/qjudgment/2012/QCATA/128

http://www.respectqld.org.au

UNAIDS, Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS Guidance Note on HIV and Sex Work, Geneva, 2009, http://www.unaids.org/en/media/unaids/contentassets/documents/unaidspublication/2009/JC2306_UNAIDS-guidance-note-HIV-sex-work_en.pdf.

 

Motel Discriminated Against Prostitute by Refusing Her Room: Tribunal

Awesome Media Articles

I agree with Janelle Fawkes of the Australian Sex Worker’s Association who states that ‘Systemic Predjudice’ is most definitely at the core of all anti-discrimination cases throughout Queensland.  This huge win for GK and all sex workers, recently upheld in the Appeal by the Queensland Civil & Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) was reported in the Brisbane Times on 8th August, 2012.  Sex workers everywhere will now be able to have their Anti-Discrimination Cases heard and be taken seriously.  It is no longer acceptable behaviour to refuse a sex worker accommodation and discriminate against them just because you don’t agree with their choice of work.

In this instance, common sense finally prevailed and GK won her appeal.  This case has huge ramifications for sex workers and their client’s as well as hoteliers and moteliers who will now have to re-think their discriminatory nature and join the 21st century!.  It’s about bloody time!  What peeves me the most, is how the owners of the Drover’s Rest Motel can casually state that they have no problem with ‘prostitutes’ working for a living but object if this work is being carried out on their premises.  If they object to sex work then they must also object to all other types of work that is conducted within the confines of a hotel room.  Sales people, accountants, police, anyone who uses the phone or internet or bed to conduct their legal and lawful business. Sex work is recognised as legitimate work.

The mind boggles as to how the owners ‘discovered’ she was working in the first place.  One would like to think that Australian’s are entitled to have some sort of privacy when they pay for a room and not have their comings and goings monitored by the proverbial nosey neighbour.  Obviously not in this case, but to then go ahead and ‘ban her’ as if they have some sort of moral obligation to do so, is downright offensive!  I have a sense that the owner’s are more than a little bit Ma & Pa Kettle-like.  I think they honestly believe they have the right to discriminate on some sort of moral high ground.  I think not and so does the Tribunal.  My advice to them is that they mind their own business and behave according to the laws of this land.  God knows we don’t need more rednecks running around!

Fingers crossed that this case will pave the way for other sex worker’s who have also been discriminated against and who have been waiting in the wings to finally see if GK’s human rights are being taken seriously.  It is blatant misrepresentation when Richard Munro states that “…hotel and motel owners must retain the right to refuse guests who might disturb the amenity…”.  There are already laws in place that are based on moral attitudes and prejudices validated by the Criminal Code, Chapter 22A which is designed to cover an act of deviance rather than a business.  However, the punishment must fit the crime.  In this case, the legal sex worker GK did not break the law, however the owners Dovedeen Pty Ltd and Mrs Joan Hartley of the Drover’s Rest Motel in Moranbah, clearly did!

Sex workers have been flocking to the front lines to work alongside miners for centuries.  This is not a new concept born out of a sudden influx of immoral sinner’s.  Gold mining pioneers couldn’t wait to get to the Gold fields in the hopes of striking it rich.  If you worked hard, the rewards came.  In this case, sex workers are booking flights and looking to cash up by providing a sex service.  Let’s face it, we all have needs, wants and desires that need attending to!  They are both booming industries, full of hard working men and women with money who choose to see equally hard working sex workers for a conversation, lunch/dinner, perhaps some erotic relaxation and/or sex.

Thank you GK for finding the strength to stand up to the system and fight for our collective rights.  I can only imagine the anxiety and stress that this must be causing you, your family, your business and every aspect of your life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  You are one hell of a woman!  Jx

By Jodine
© Copyright, 2012, escortjodine.com.  All Rights Reserved


Attorney-General Backs Hotel Sex Appeal

Offensive Media Articles

Yes folks!  We are witnessing first hand how discrimination is continuing to be perpetrated by political bullying agents at the highest level, as witnessed in Brisbane Times dated August 9th, 2012.  The Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has shown his true colours by publicly attempting to pervert the course  of justice by using his public powers to  “attempt to overturn” the appeal of the landmark Anti-discrimination case between the legal sex worker GK and the owners of the Drover’s Rest Motel in Moranbah.  Make no mistake about it.  We can begin to see the depth of corruption, personal bias and undue influence that is obviously still being exerted by Queensland’s politicians and power player’s.  It didn’t take long for those key players to rear their ugly head.

Sex workers have been dealing with this sort of extortion for years, especially in Queensland.  We only have to go back a couple of decades to see how far corruption can breed in politics with the likes of Sir Joe Bjielke-Petersen!  Here we go again.  Have you noticed the uncanny similarity between the last names of these two political figures?  Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen and Mr Bleijie.  Perhaps they are related?  It would certainly explain why sex workers are continuing to fight an up-hill battle, just to have their basic human rights upheld.  This political tickling is spreading like a festering disease throughout politics in Queensland despite laws to the contrary to protect and serve.

How can a significant political figure like Mr Bleijie get away with flaunting his bias political power’s publicly like this.  Surely it is common sense not to interfere.  Our Attorney-General is meant to be a respected impartial public figure.  Similarly, so are the Queensland Civil & Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) members.  Unfortunately a few bad apples have tainted this Anti-discrimination case.  Is it any wonder people are afraid to stand up for their rights when a system is is openly flawed like this?  What hope do we as citizens have?  I am embarrassed and ashamed.  How long will it be before Australians can feel truly proud that they have left their distasteful convict history behind?

There has to be a shift away from the pre-existing moralistic viewpoint, to one that supports a public health and human rights approach such as New Zealand’s.  It is apparent that there needs to be more constructive discussion and debate between sex workers, the government, lawmakers and public opinion in Australia.  This is not going to happen when we have sensationalised public Anti-discrimination cases and individual’s being put through the political ringer.  It just makes our justice system look like a Christmas dinner – full of turkey’s and really bad jokes.

The fact remains that the owners of the Drovers Rest Motel did discriminate by breaching the Anti-Discrimination Act by denying GK a room.  What right did they have to ask her to leave when she had been there 17 times during the past 2 years?  What rights do law abiding legal sex workers have, who pay their tax, keep a low profile and go about their daily business, earning a decent living.  We thought we had the Anti-discrimination law on our side that protected our right to practice ‘lawful sexual activity’.  Sex work is work after all.  I find I am holding my breath waiting for the next debacle.

Mr Bleijie says he stands on the side of business owners.  OK, so what about the rest of Australia who don’t happen to own a business?  Actually I have an ABN number and I pay tax, does this mean I am a respected business owner?  Or am I just a sex worker?  I do not think hotel and motel owners should be given more rights than they already have.  Mr Bleijie says he will change the laws to suit.  There are already adequate laws in place that protect against unruly, noisy or abusive guests.  Why didn’t the owners use this already existing defence? They couldn’t because no offence had been committed, and not in the entire 2 years that GK stayed at the motel.   It doesn’t take a genius to see that they want these additional law changes to give them more powers so they can discriminate!

Insinuating that hotel’s are at risk of becoming illegal brothel’s is ludicrous.  There are no similarities what-so-ever between the two.  The differences between a brothel manager and a motel manager are crystal clear.  Do motel owner/manager’s answer my phone, put my adds on, take care of the extra laundry without extra charge, provided security, negotiate bookings or provide my condoms?  They don’t because they are not brothel’s!

Consider that the former Attorney-General, Honourable Nicola Roxon, released a media statement on the 4th of January, 2012, reminding us that the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 is now in effect.  Human Rights will be “…bought into sharper focus in Parliament this year with all new laws to be checked to see if they stack up against human rights obligations”.  New laws must consider “… protection and promotion of human rights”.  The principles of freedom, respect, equality, dignity and a fair go, apply to everyone including sex workers.

In Queensland, it was found that sex workers who were working legally (i.e.  service providers in licensed brothels, legal sole traders) had better mental health than those in illegal settings (Seib et al 2009).  Harcourt et al (2005) suggested that decriminalization seemed to provide the best outcomes for sex workers health and welfare and that this is a desirable outcome that affects the community as a whole.  Where are human rights for sex worker’s here in this case?

I am concerned that in this day and age, Australians are being controlled by a very powerful elite who will stop at nothing short of murder, to keep their false sense of control from slipping away.  We need to stand up as a nation and right these wrongs  Nip them in the bud and say enough is enough.  The rest of the world is looking at us and I can feel their  contempt.  I want to feel proud to be an Australian.  I support human rights for all.

By Jodine
© Copyright, 2012, escortjodine.com.  All Rights Reserved

To make a donation to go toward the legal bill for GK, please contact:

Crimson Coalition

St George Bank
BSB 114879
Account 483605476

All donations will be gratefully appreciated.   Jx

Sex Worker Wins Right to Work from Motel

Awesome Media Articles

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