I was a supporter of Tim Barnett’s Prostitution Law Reform Act. In fact for many years I regaled Young Nationals conferences about the unfairness of a law which made it an offence for someone to offer sex for money, but not for someone to offer money for sex. I instinctively dislike most laws which criminalise consensual behaviour.
A report on the law by the Prostitution Law Review Committee has found that the number of prostitutes has stayed around the same, since the law was passed, but that there is less exploitation and better health and safety. So that is good.
One of the issues around the law change, has been the extent to which Councils can restrict the location of brothels. There has been a lot of publicity around a brothel in Mt Victoria, and Rosemary McLeod has a local’s perspective on it.
In terms of public policy, I don’t have a problem with commercial sex being provided from private homes, as that generally is a less exploitive and safer arrangement, but it should be only one or two people.
The Mt Victoria house is seeking or has been given permission to have seven staff working there. Now when it gets that large, I am very much siding with the residents – the impact on the neighbourhood gets to be significant. So one solution might be to limit the size of any suburban brothels so their impact on a neighbourhood is minimised.