Sex Party MP Fiona Patten is introducing a bill to Victoria’s state parliament which she hopes will lift restrictions on ride-sharing services such as UberX.
The party’s only representative in parliament, Fiona Patten, has announced that she plans to introduce the Regulation of Ridesharing Bill 2016 to “establish a system for regulation, accreditation and administration of ride-sharing services across the state”.
Sex Party’s Fiona Patten says services such as Uber are ‘part of our new sharing economy and they aren’t going away’.
Details of the bill — which will be introduced in the Upper House on Thursday — have not yet been made public.
It is understood Transportation Minister Jacinta Allan was meeting Ms Patten on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the proposal.
Uber’s app prompted users to Tweet their support of Ms Patten’s bill on Tuesday, through a pop-up screen titled “VIC needs Uber”.
Ride-sharing services such as Uber are illegal in Victoria.
“Fiona Patten is introducing a Bill in the Parliament to regulate ridesharing. Tweet Your Support!” the app states with a button taking users straight to their Twitter account.
To date the UberX service remains illegal in Victoria because drivers do not have licences to operate as taxi cabs or hire cars, as currently required by state regulations.
Uber has argued in court cases that it was not providing taxi services, but facilitating a way for passengers and drivers to find each other.
“The Andrews Government has taken far too long to act on regulating ride sharing,” Ms Patten said in a statement.
“While other states and territories have been able to tackle this issue, whether in a regulatory or legislative environment, Victoria seems incapable of doing so.
“Services like Uber are part of our new sharing economy and they aren’t going away.
“Roundtables and endless discussions don’t seem to have provided a solution to how we move forward with services like Uber.
“This means more uncertainty for the public and more uncertainty for both ride sharing and taxi drivers alike.
“We need to create the guidelines for a fair and safe system.”
Late last year, UberX driver called Nathan Brenner was found guilty of operating a hire car without a licence, but has appealed that ruling.
Mr Brenner was the first of several UberX drivers caught in a sting by the Taxi Services Commission, and the outcome of his case was likely to set a precedent for all UberX drivers.
The Australian Sex Party follows libertarian ideologies to argue in favour of reduced state regulation across many areas, such as decriminalising cannabis and marriage and adoption equality for gay couples.