Expert Adds To Sex Debate – June 2012

Originally published in The Mercury by Jennifer Crawley, June 3rd 2012.

Controversial anti-prostitution campaigner Professor Sheila Jeffreys has visited Hobart as State Parliament gets ready to debate legalisation of the sex industry.

Prof Jeffreys spoke at the University of Tasmania law school and a public forum in Hobart yesterday as the Justice Department prepares to give its Sex Industry Review recommendations to Attorney-General Brian Wightman.

Mr Wightman said yesterday Parliament would debate whether to legalise, decriminalise, or make no changes to prostitution laws.

But there were no plans to make prostitution illegal, he said.

“Legal issues around the sex industry can be emotive and personal for many people,” Mr Wightman said. “The Government’s top priority is the health and safety of sex workers and the Tasmanian community.”

Prof Jeffreys, who teaches feminist politics at the University of Melbourne, said legalising prostitution equalled legalising violence against women.