My Submission for the Inquiry into the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 – Exposure Draft Legislation

Political Lobbying



Inquiry into the Human Rights and
Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 – Exposure Draft Legislation


I am writing this submission to ask that my human rights as a legal, lawful sex worker be included in Federal Law in line with the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 so that State Law cannot discriminate against me and remove my civil liberties like what happened recently in Queensland.

I live and work in Queensland and I have been in complete turmoil over the recent Amendment to the Anti-Discrimination Act, sec 106C, which now allows LEGAL DISCRIMINATION specifically against sex workers in the area of accommodation.  I was physically ill.  This came about because of a high profile anti-discrimination case in Queensland where the legal sex worker GK was found to have been discriminated against and WON. 

Then we all were reminded of the actual depth of corruption and discrimination against sex workers in the Queensland government when our own Attorney-General Mr Jarrod Bleijie began a very public campaign, along with our Premier Mr Campbell-Newman and other Australian Christian Lobbyists to perpetrate the most heinous vilification and discrimination crime against sex workers.  Their political interference in this case is blatant, disrespectful and makes a mockery of existing laws.  What’s the point of human rights if they can simply be taken away at the whim of renegade politicians and rednecks whenever they feel threatened?  I think Queensland is corrupt.  The anti-discrimination case debacle is a prime example of why.

Despite 100% of the submissions received being against supporting legal discrimination, the Bill was still passed.  The arguments that were used in parliament to support legal discrimination, appeared to be based on misguided morals that did not seem to care about the rights of sex workers, arguing that the rights of hotelier and moteliers were more important.  They did not seem to care that there were already laws in place to protect hoteliers and moteliers from the usual disruptive guest in their establishment, because they were collectively discriminating on the basis that we are sex workers.  They were discriminating against a minority group based on negative stereotypical assumptions about sex workers that are simply fabrications.

The amount of potential harm this Bill can cause to sex workers, their partners, children, families and friends is HUGE.  How can this type of discrimination be allowed to occur in Australia in this day and age?  Since when is legal discrimination ever an option?  We may as well be living in Uganda where they are trying to pass the ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill at the moment.

I have experienced discrimination directly in my life as a sex worker.  I have been evicted from my leased accommodation, physically locked out of my carpark, my gate codes changed so I couldn’t get in.  I have had money stolen by real estate agents withholding part of my rent for no reason other than because I am a sex worker. 

I used to play Roller Derby.  I was outed as a sex worker by someone to my team and I was shunned by them.  I was targeted by them on the flat track.  I was not included in social events.  I was segregated and ostracised.  I joined roller derby to feel more empowered and to actively participate in the community.  I was met with stigmatisation and marginalisation, both direct and indirect discrimination. 

My self esteem plummeted.  I began to feel depressed.  I withdrew into my apartment and avoided contact with the outside world.  I generally felt bad about myself and it took me a long time before I could pick myself up and move on.

I pay tax.  I work within the Law.  I respect myself, my colleagues and my clients.  I would like to be shown some respect by the Australian government in Federal Law so that my faith in Australia signing up to international Human Rights Constitutions is not thrown back in my face.  I want to know that my Federal government is taking the recommendations of the United Nations reports about sex workers seriously.

Sex workers are real people, with real lives, with real families, with real children, with real friends.  We are EVERYWHERE in society but most of the time you don’t even know we are there.


Kind regards,


Sex Worker

Stop Legal Discrimination in Australia

Political Lobbying


The Queensland Attorney-General, Mr Jarrod Bleijie has successfully campaigned to change the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 to allow legal discrimination to occur in Queensland.  Section 106C was passed to specifically target sex workers in the area of accommodation.  It effectively removes the ‘Lawful Sexual Activity’ part of the Act which has protected sex workers from discrimination by hoteliers/moteliers, landlords and body corporates to date.  Our basic human right to live and work in peace, free from harassment and vilification have been compromised.

Supporting ‘legal’ discrimination is an oxymoron and against the United Nations ‘Universal Human Rights Constitution’.  The Prostitution Act 2000 made sex work legitimate work within Queensland and sex workers are protected under the provision of ‘Lawful Sexual Activity’. Despite other area’s of law which currently still protect hoteliers/moteliers, landlord’s and Body Corporates from noisy guests, legal discrimination puts sex workers, their partners, children, friends and family directly into danger and at risk of abuse and corruption all over Australia.

On 21 November 2012, the Senate referred Exposure Draft legislation for the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 (Exposure Draft Bill) to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee (committee) for inquiry and report.  The Exposure Draft Bill seeks to consolidate existing Commonwealth anti-discrimination law into a single Act, replacing the Age Discrimination Act 2004, the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986.

The Exposure Draft Bill proposes a number of reforms to Commonwealth anti-discrimination law, including:

·         introduction of a single, simplified, test for discrimination applying to all protected attributes;

·         coverage of additional protected attributes including sexual orientation and gender identity;

·        coverage of discrimination and sexual harassment in any area of public life;

·         a streamlined approach to exceptions, including a new general exception for justifiable conduct;

·         additional measures to assist and promote voluntary compliance;

·         improvements to the complaints process to improve access to justice; and

·      some adjustments to the functions of the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The committee is due to report on 18 February 2013, and has invited written submissions to its inquiry by 21 December 2012.

We must ensure that sex workers human rights are included in the above recommendations.  You can contribute actively by making a submission recommending this and why.  The Exposure Draft Bill, explanatory notes and associated materials may be accessed from the committee’s website at

There appears to be widespread discrimination against sex workers in general throughout Australia. Discrimination, that also violates the basic Human Rights of sex workers. 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).

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 and New South Wales. It is apparent that there needs to be more constructive discussion and debate between sex workers, the government, lawmakers and about public opinion in Australia.

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.