Concerned that it lacks adequate checks and balances, Australian Conservatives MLC Robert Brokenshire made clear his disappointment that the bill to decriminalise the sex industry has passed the Upper House of South Australian Parliament.
"...it does nothing to help those who want to leave the industry and it negatively impacts upon the rest of the community" he says, maintaining that this particular approach to decriminalisation is "the wrong way for South Australia".
Furthermore the line being towed by the media that the Bill is about safety for sex-workers is simply political spin says Mr Brokenshire.
"This Bill does nothing to protect the workers and does nothing to keep organised crime out of the industry. There are no health regulations and there are no more legal protections for the physical protection of workers than exist under current law".
The complexities of the legislation being pushed by the Liberal's Michelle Lensink extend into the greater community also, with a lack of restrictions on where solicitation can occur presenting an issue, and moreover as Mr Brokenshire points out: "placing the cost and the burden of oversight and regulatory burdens on already overworked and under-resourced local councils. Ratepayers will be the ones slugged for the extra money needed for this along with the costs it will take to implement crime prevention elements such as increase in the number of CCTV cameras and lighting, never mind the cost of cleaning up troubled areas".
"I think the concerns surrounding the dangers of this Bill can be summed up by the Commissioner of Police Grant Stevens who wrote this in a letter... to the committee I was on that looked at the pros and cons of the Bill":
"SAPOL opposed the Bill (Decriminalisation of Sex Work) for a number of reasons. The proposed Bill would significantly diminish legislative oversight of the sex work industry raising concerns that serious and organised crime elements would infiltrate and flourish in the industry with limited risk of detection
...regulation of prostitution, an industry with long and well established links to serious organised crime, requires strong regulation to reduce community wide harm. Without comprehensive regulatory controls, SAPOL believes the draft Bill would not provide safeguards to ensure that people are not exploited, organised crime does not control the industry, and brothels do not become criminal sanctuaries".
Mr Brokenshire credits his experience as a former Police Minister in his stance on the Nordic Model being a better option for South Australia - wherein the purchase of sex is illegal and sex workers are decriminalised. "Australian Conservatives gave notice they were getting the Nordic Model ready to put to parliament but Ms Lensink and her supporters were not prepared to wait and have the alternative properly debated, and pushed ahead instead while they had the numbers."
"My office has been inundated by emails from members of the public opposing this bill and their voices should not be ignored in this debate".
With the Bill left now in the hands of the Lower House, Mr Brokenshire hopes members give it the scrutiny it needs and that the Bill is defeated in a triumph for common sense.
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