CHRISTIAN PARLIAMENTARIANS TAKE STAND IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA OVER PROSTITUTION LAWS

A Government MP has warned Colin Barnett that any move to reintroduce controversial prostitution legislation to the Parliament will ignite a “civil war” in the Liberal Party. In a strongly worded attempt to kill off the stalled 2011 Prostitution Bill, which includes plans to licence and partially decriminalise WA’s sex industry, Liberal MP Nick Goiran urged the Government to abandon the touted reforms. Mr Goiran, an Upper House MP and committee chairman in the last Parliament, said that prostitution must remain illegal and the Government should focus on rescuing women in the sex trade. 

His views were supported by Lower House Liberal MP Peter Abetz, who said he would never support any attempt to legitimise prostitution. Mr Goiran believes a rehabilitation centre, like one set up in Perth by former prostitute Linda Watson, should be replicated and funded by the Barnett Government. “Rather than initiate a civil war, I anticipate the new Government would be more inclined to explore ways of supporting and replicating Linda’s House of Hope,” Mr Goiran said. “The aborted legislation would need to be resuscitated by a minister and then survive the Cabinet and the Liberal Party room processes. This is, in my view, highly improbable.” 

He said the Premier’s post-election victory pledge to start anew and not automatically reinstate previous Bills before Parliament gave opponents of the prostitution legislation hope. “In the unlikely event, the Bill returned unchanged then I would oppose it as you cannot have worked with as many victims of sexual abuse as I have and then conclude legal brothels are a good idea,” Mr Goiran said. Mr Abetz said the Government should send a delegation of MPs to Sweden, where laws targeting the clients of prostitutes have greatly curtailed the business. 

“Wherever it has been legalised in the world it leads to a mushrooming of the sex industry and generally creates a massive problem of trafficking in women,” he said.  The Barnett Government’s planned changes were introduced to Parliament two years ago by former attorney-general Christian Porter, who said it was time the Government made prostitution easier to police. If passed the laws would allow brothels to operate in designated industrial areas, but they would be banned from residential areas. Neither Mr Barnett, nor Attorney-General Michael Mischin – who said he supported the Porter Bill – would comment on the future of the prostitution Bill. 

Mr Goiran argues that licensing brothels would encourage organised crime and human trafficking.  “Attempting to regulate the prostitution industry relies on the naive expectation that proved non-law abiding citizens will suddenly become law-abiding ones overnight,” he wrote. WA’s peak medical body, the Australian Medical Association, said prostitution was a health issue that needed regulation. “We cannot allow it to go on unregulated,” AMA State president Richard Choong said. “We cannot have a good public health system when the sex industry is unregulated.”

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

 

CHURCHES CALL FOR NSW GAMBLING INQUIRY

The President of the NSW Council of Churches, the Rev Dr Ross Clifford, has renewed a call for the O’Farrell Government to hold a wide-ranging inquiry into the social and economic ramifications of the gambling industry. “In the light of the ongoing debate on a second Sydney casino, fears of mission creep over poker machines, and significant community concern about sports betting, we ask all NSW political parties not to support any legislation that increases the availability or visibility of gambling until an inquiry has reported and the parliament and community have had adequate opportunity to respond to any recommendations it might propose,” Dr Clifford said.

“NSW has around 50% of the nation’s poker machines, and more problem gamblers than any other state. NSW also has a stable government, strong political voices representing healthy and informed discussion, and the numbers needed to achieve historic gambling reform. An inquiry should examine the social impact of poker machines and telephone and online betting. “Pastors, counsellors and staff in gaming venues all see the negative impact of problem gambling. We are all aware of the rise of sports betting and gambling advertising invading televised sport. We need to identify and implement regulations that will produce the best outcomes,” he said.

“This is about effective harm minimization and consumer protection strategies. No one who is genuinely concerned about the devastating impact of problem gambling wants to wait for a federal inquiry to report on federal issues. This is an issue for the states and NSW should take the lead,” Dr Clifford said. The NSW Council of Churches continues to affirm its strong support for the objectives of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce including mandatory pre-commitment technology and $1 maximum bets for all poker machines in Australia, and supports effective measures to curb out-of-control sports betting and interactive betting.

Source: Press Release from NSW Council of Churches

 

QUEENSLAND MOVES A STEP CLOSER TO G-RATED OUTDOOR ADVERTISING

Queensland’s Attorney-General Hon Jarrod Bleijie has announced there will be a committee formed to establish legislation to regulate outdoor advertising in the same way that children’s television is regulated. In a letter tabled in parliament Mr Bleijie said community concerns about outdoor advertising in the state led him to consider “the appropriateness of the current model” of control.  These comments were in response to a petition from the Australian Christian Lobby’s Queensland Director Wendy Francis, who has led a campaign calling for outdoor advertising to be G-rated and who commenced a petition to the Queensland Government. 

 

“I agree with the petitioners that children and young people in our community should be entitled to live in a caring and nurturing environment, protected from harm and exploitation,” Mr Bleijie wrote. “As a father of young children, I appreciate the challenges outdoor advertising presents to parents in trying to restrict children’s exposure to sexually explicit images and slogans.” The Queensland Parliamentary committee system, which was commenced in the last parliament, will consult with a number of community groups to establish what changes are needed to make outdoor advertising G-rated.

Source: Australian Christian Lobby