About

Queensland has decriminalised sex work

Share
Queensland has decriminalised sex work, with laws passing Parliament yesterday afternoon. The legislation was introduced in February.
Queensland has decriminalised sex work, with laws passing Parliament yesterday afternoon.

Queensland has decriminalised sex work, with laws passing Parliament yesterday afternoon.

Penalties specifically targeting sex workers will be removed, and new safety measures will be established.

The legislation was introduced in February.

The Liberal-National Opposition didn’t support the reforms.

Sex work laws in Queensland

Under previous legislation, sex work in Qld was legal in licensed brothels or by private sex workers who work independently.

Sex workers who work together, or who work in a public setting like soliciting on the street, risked criminal charges.

Laws to decriminalise sex work were introduced following a review by the Qld Law Reform Commission (QLRC). It found the laws limited the protection of sex workers, and made it difficult for them to report crimes committed against them to the police.

The QRLC review made 47 recommendations, which the Government broadly accepted.

This included removing laws that prevented sex workers from working together or for escort agencies.

Under the new laws, hotel and accommodation workers also won’t be allowed to discriminate against prospective guests believed to be using a room for sex work.

Sex work has been decriminalised in other parts of Australia, including NSW, Victoria, and the Northern Territory.

Opposition

Shadow Attorney-General Tim Nicholls told Parliament that the Opposition believed there was “much wrong with the current laws” around sex work.

However, he argued the new legislation won’t deliver “safer and better outcomes”.

Nicholls also said he was concerned about an unfair balance of rights between sex workers and accommodation providers, saying the Opposition believed the proposal “tipped the scales too far” in favour of sex workers.

Advocates

Qld Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said the laws will ensure sex workers don’t have to “choose between operating legally with safety risks and operating safely with legal risks”.

State Coordinator of advocacy group Respect Inc. Lulu Holiday welcomed the legislation, saying it would “send a message that [discrimination] will no longer be tolerated”.

The laws will now go to the Qld Governor to sign into law.

Become smarter in three minutes

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed, for free.

Be the smart friend in your group chat

Join thousands of young Aussies and get our 5 min daily newsletter on what matters in your world.

It’s easy. It’s trustworthy. It’s free.