Adelaide will this week host a visit from two sex work advocates who have both recently received Queens’ Honours in recognition of their services to the decriminalisation of sex work in both NSW and New Zealand. Affectionately known as the “Dames of Decrim’ they are bringing their experience to Adelaide to boost the campaign for legislative reform in SA. Both ‘Dames’ will speak at an event in support of the Decriminalisation of Sex work this Thursday night at the West Adelaide Football Club.
Dame Catherine Healy – New Zealand : "I still keep thinking we are going to be arrested at dawn, not acknowledged. I never, ever imagined this day would come."
- Awarded the title of Dame in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2018
- Founding member and National Coordinator of the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC)
- Helped draft the Prostitution Reform Act, to decriminalise sex work and to protect the rights and occupational safety of sex workers (passed in 2003)
- Formerly a primary school teacher, she became a sex worker in the 1980s
- Co- editor of Taking the Crime out of Sex Work (2010 Policy Press Bristol University.)
Julie Bates AO – NSW : “I thought ‘Oh my God, what have I done now?’” It's been 23 years since the sex industry was decriminalised in NSW, and still, sometimes, “the only thing you expect first thing in the morning is a knock on the door from the cops ... that kind of trauma and instinct still sits with you, no matter how many years ago it was.”
- Awarded an Order of Australia in the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours
- Principal of Urban Realists Planning & Health Consultants (providing advice and support to non-government organisations representing sex workers and people who use drugs illicitly)
- Founding member: Australian Prostitutes Collective of NSW, and the NSW Users and Aids Association (NUAA)
- Contributed to the first National HIV/AIDS strategy
- Former sex industry liaison officer for former South Sydney Council
- Former consultant to the World Health Organisation on sex work and HIV/AIDS
- Sex worker, focused on senior citizens living with a range of disabilities including dementia
The current Sex Work law reform bill is sponsored by Tammy Franks MLC and will be taken to an Upper House vote in June this year. The model is decriminalisation and based on that which has existed in both NSW and NZ for over a decade. Ms Franks said: “South Australia has the oldest sex work laws in the country and we need reform to protect the rights of people in the sex work industry. Like it or not, sex work will always be around. So it’s time our laws matched the reality of what happens not reflected the wishes of those who would rather it didn’t.
Comment or interview options from this afternoon through to Friday lunchtime – to arrange contact 0457 549 938 - event details at www.trybooking.com/BAOJY