Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) — I move:
- Clause 17, page 20, lines 1 to 12, omit all words and expressions on these lines and insert—
“(i) an offence involving fraud; or
(ii) an offence involving dishonesty, drug cultivation or trafficking, sexual slavery or servitude, child pornography or violence, a sexual offence or an offence against section 5(1), 6(1), 7(1), 8(1) or 9(1), 11(1) of the Sex Work Act 1994, for which the person was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 3 months or more; or”.
- Clause 17, page 20, line 15, after “(i)” insert “or (ii)”.
My first amendment is to amend clause 17 of the bill, which deals with licence disqualification criteria. As I mentioned in my speech on the second reading, I believe that the criteria are extremely broad and they will capture a number of very small offences within this category, which will prevent people from holding a rooming house operator licence who probably should not be prevented. My amendments go to trying to narrow some of those offences, and in particular they go to narrow the very broad term of ‘sex offence’.
Under the bill, clause 17 says that a person found guilty of a sexual offence or an offence connected with sex work that is punishable by a term of imprisonment of three months is disqualified from holding a licence. As I mentioned in my second-reading speech, this would include a sex worker who had been a street sex worker; it would include a private escort that had been working from their own home, which would mean they would come under the illegal brothel definition in the Sex Work Act 1994; and it would include the client of a street sex worker or the client of someone who saw an escort working from home. This is a very broad disqualification. I do not believe that the intention of this well-meaning licensing bill was to capture these small offences, when we are not capturing a whole range of crimes that would attract a three-month jail sentence.
For example, drink-driving can attract a considerable prison term and would possibly indicate that the person was not a proper person, particularly if that person had been caught drink-driving on a number of occasions. This bill excludes certain criminal offences when considering a licence. I put to the house that my amendments also seek to carve out parts of the Sex Work Act as being serious crimes and should preclude someone from having a licence, but then there are other parts of the Sex Work Act which should not preclude someone from holding a rooming house licence.
The sections of the Sex Work Act that I have included in my amendments as licence disqualification criteria are under part 2. They are section 5, ‘Causing or inducing child to take part in sex work’; section 6, ‘Obtaining payment for sexual services provided by a child’; section 7, ‘Agreement for provision of sexual services by a child’; section 8, ‘Forcing person into or to remain in sex work’; section 9, ‘Forcing person to provide financial support out of sex work’; and section 11, ‘Allowing child to take part in sex work’. These are all very serious offences, and I think they should certainly exclude someone from having a licence. My amendments seek to include those sections but not other offences detailed in the Sex Work Act which I think should not preclude someone from holding a licence.
Those are my amendments, and I believe that they are right and proper. Obviously from a philosophical perspective I do not think sex work should be a crime, but I certainly do not think it should be a crime that then precludes someone from receiving a government licence. I think this bill sets a very dangerous precedent. While sex workers now may be precluded from obtaining a rooming house operator licence, in future what other licensing systems that we introduce with good meaning and good intent will then go on to preclude people that should not be excluded and in fact will work against these people by forcing them to be excluded?