Media Release

SA Upper House Narrowly Rejects Equality Prostitution Law Reform Bill

By a bare margin of one vote, pimps and brothel owners had a temporary victory in the South Australian Upper House last night. 

Ashlyn Vice the SA Director of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) said, “In a sad indictment on the House, they voted 10-9 to reject the Hon Nicola Centofanti’s Prostitution law reform bill which would have decriminalised the selling of sex, whilst criminalising the buying of sex, third party profiteering and pimping as well as providing exit strategies for those who want to leave the oppressive trade. 

“Last night was bitter/sweet. Bitter because SA came so close to introducing protections for vulnerable women; sweet because of the many thoughtful speeches made by MPs who acknowledge the true nature of prostitution and the need to address demand. The conversation has changed in our parliament since 2019. Thanks to the work of Nicola Centofanti, the advocacy of survivors and the ACL, more and more MPs have noted the fact that prostitution preys on vulnerable women, propagates abuse, and cannot in good conscience be fully decriminalised as if it were a job like any other. 

“Led by Nicola Centofanti, the Hon Clare Scriven, Jing Lee, Laura Henderson, Heidi Girolamo, Ben Hood, Frank Pangallo and Sarah Game made incisive speeches highlighting the benefits of the Equality Model, the harmful nature of prostitution and proving that the Bill is an important step in upholding the dignity of all women. Clare Scriven was correct when she said this was an historic day as it was the first time to her knowledge that any Australian Parliament had voted on the Equality Model. 

“While the Bill was defeated by just one vote, the move is on against the pimps and profiteers.” 

The ACL calls on SA MPs to follow the example of the nine. When that happens, SA will do what it has done in the past – lead our nation in upholding women’s rights as they pass the Equality bill. 

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