Skip navigation

Speech: Statutes Amendment (Repeal of Sex Work Offences) Bill

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (18:24): I thank those members who have made a contribution this evening and also those who are willing to serve on the select committee looking at this matter. This is actually quite a different bill from the last one I moved in this council which did, indeed, get the support of this council. It actually goes to the nub of the matter. It asks whether or not the criminal offences we currently have in our statutes are serving a useful purpose or whether they are actually bad laws, because I do not think it is the workers in this industry who are bad, I think it is the laws that fail them and fail us as a society.

I note that since we last debated decriminalisation in this place it has been embraced by the Labor Northern Territory government. It has also seen a referral by the Victorian Andrews government, led by Fiona Patten MLC, to look at decriminalisation in that state as well, and I understand the Queensland government has also made pledges to look at decriminalisation. So at least in the Northern Territory, as well as Victoria, we have a lot we can learn from their recent law reforms, as well as New South Wales and New Zealand, of course.

The support for decriminalisation by groups such as the World Health Organization, Amnesty International, UNAIDS, and the various reputable international groups against trafficking should not go unnoted. Indeed, I agree with the Hon. Michelle Lensink when she points to consent being the important point here. I note not all sex workers are women; they are men, they are transgender people, they are gender fluid people and, of course, they are women. Also, not all clients are men; they are women, they are transgender people, they are gender fluid people and, of course, they are women. We cannot assume—

The Hon. C.M. Scriven interjecting:

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: You were heard in silence, Hon. Clare Scriven. It would be appreciated if you would not heckle anyone who does not agree with you. I hope this inquiry will look at the laws we currently have, because I believe they fail. I hope this inquiry will keep an open mind, and have a look at the various models of regulation that are done by police in these jurisdictions and abroad.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: The issue of money laundering is something that I raise in the second reading contribution to this bill because at the moment money laundering is used as a quasi charge related to the sex industry, particularly if people use credit cards as opposed to cash. Credit card use is literally criminalised under our current operating laws. So if one is concerned about money laundering, one would imagine that law reform would be something that we might seek at the present time.

I note that I will be moving the contingent notice of motion in amended form. There is a typo, so I draw members' attention to the fact that it will not be the 'Emergency Services Act' but the Emergency Management Act that is referred to. I also look forward to us hearing the voices of those involved in this industry without judgement and without moralising, that we hear from clients, that we hear from workers, that we hear from SAPOL, that we heed the advice of jurisdictions that have undertaken law reform in this area that we have a lot to learn from, and in particular that we get the statistics and the data that we need to have this debate in a way that is actually informed by truth and not by stigma and rumour.

Continue Reading

Read More