Tuesday, 22 November 2022
Statements by Senators
Jordon Steele-John (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source
All workers deserve human rights. All workers deserve respect. All workers should be able to do their work free of discrimination and with adequate protections in place. I imagine that most people in this chamber would agree with that, but when I say that sex work is work and that sex workers are workers then suddenly this chamber is aghast.
From 2020, when a court ruling opened up the conversation about NDIS and sex services, I've had many conversations with people in the community. These are some of the things that have been raised with me consistently. The intersection between disability and sex work moves in two directions: just as disabled people rely on sex support services, many sex workers identify as disabled people. Many of these people face additional barriers in receiving formalised disability supports, due to discrimination faced by them because of their profession. Many disabled people need access to sex workers or sex based services as supports in their NDIS plans. These supports are reasonable and they are necessary. When sex workers reach out to law enforcement to report assaults they are rarely, if ever, taken seriously. People working in the industry are often failed by multiple systems that should support them.
We need to sort out our relationship with sex work in this country. The law is all over the place. Discrimination is rife. The people in this building are too prudish to acknowledge that the industry even exists, let alone solve the problems of people working in it. We need change now. We need de-crim now.