Media: Associate Professor Erin O’Brien – Decriminalisation of sex work

Associate Professor Erin O’Brien has been asked to provide expert opinion on the recommendation of the Queensland Law Reform Commission which found that current laws stigmatise sex workers and put them at risk of exploitation.    Erin spoke to ABC News, ABC Online and ABC Radio Canberra on 24 April 2023.

In 2019, at the 30 year anniversary of the Fitzgerald Inquiry, Dr O’Brien co-authored a QUT Centre for Justice Briefing Paper titled, “The case for decriminalisation:  Sex Work and the Law in Queensland.”

Laws governing the sex industry differ greatly across states and territories.  New South Wales was the first state to decriminalise sex work in 1995, and Victoria recently followed suit, though its laws won’ t come into effect until later this year.  Janelle Fawkes is the campaign leader for De Creme Queensland, a group of sex workers that have long been advocating for reform.

Queensland’s Attorney General Shannon Fentiman says she broadly supports the review’s 47 recommendation, including allowing sex workers to operating in pairs or groups.  The Government will now consult with the industry planning bodies and councils on how to implement the new laws.

“So one of the recommendations from the Fitzgerald Inquiry was that sex work needed to be legalised, needed to be decriminalised and in 1999 we thought that we might actually see a model where sex work would be decriminalised. But

instead Queensland opted for a licensing model which is that much more restrictive approach where police are still heavily involved in policing and controlling what sex workers can do in their line of work” (Aspro Erin O’Brien, ABC) 

Listen to Erin here.



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