Submission on Review of Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Act: Discussion Paper To the Queensland Human Rights Commission

Scarlet Alliance submission on Review of Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Act: Discussion Paper To the Queensland Human Rights Commission on March 4, 2022.

“Sex workers welcome consideration of the wide range of changes to Queensland’s current Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (ADA), as outlined in the ‘Review of Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 Discussion Paper’. As a community impacted by unique, specific and historical stigma that informs a wide range of experiences of discrimination in many aspects of public life, there are a number of significant changes we believe are necessary in order to provide all Queensland sex workers with accessible protection from discrmination.

The changes necessary to provide Queensland sex workers with access to protections and redress against discrimination include replacement of the attribute ‘lawful sexual activity’ currently assumed to cover sex workers; the removal of exemptions that currently provide for lawful discrimination against sex workers in the areas of accommodation and working with children; the introduction of other attributes that relate to the circumstances of sex workers in Queensland; procedural reforms to remove substantial barriers to sex workers reporting and pursuing redress for discrimination; and consideration of adjustments to the framework for discrimination itself. We make recommendations for a full spectrum of reforms that sex workers know are necessary to protect us from discrimination.

A current QLRC review of the sex work laws in Queensland will investigate the prospect of implementing a decriminalised model for regulating sex work. While this stands to make significant gains in sex workers’ access to human rights via the full decriminalisation of sex work, it is not a substitute for the provsion of appropriate and robust anti-discrimination protections that acknowledge the unique and pervasive stigmas associated with sex work and sex workers. Sex workers experience discrimination and vilification under all legal frameworks, and it is important to lay down robust protections prior to the implementation of decriminalisation to ensure its maximum benefit. The review of the ADA is a timely process that, coupled with significant reform to Queensland’s sex work licensing regime and Criminal Code, will drastically improve our access to the protections we desperately need, and take an important step towards dismantling sex work stigma in Queensland.”