Prostitution in Australia
is governed by state laws, which vary considerably. Street prostitution
is illegal in all states of Australia except NSW
where it is prohibited near churches, schools, hospitals and similar venues. In addition to the summaries provided below, brothels are often regulated by local council planning laws.
Australians make between 12 and 16 million visits to an estimated 20,000 sex workers every year, and to more than 5,000 legal brothels, escort agencies and sexual massage services and to 2,000 illegal outfits. While NSW, Qld and Victoria account for 78.3 per cent of all establishments in the sex trade, revenue and wages are higher in Victoria, NSW, WA and the ACT where incomes are higher and there is a higher quality of establishments to attract wealthier clientele.
, brothel licenses are provided by the Prostitution Licensing Authority (PLA)
, as part of the Prostitution Act 1999
There are two types of legal prostitution work in Queensland:
- Private sex work – whereby a solo prostitute works alone, but who may advertise with restrictions on the wording of such ads..
- Prostitution conducted in a licensed brothel.
Street prostitution, unlicensed brothels or massage parlors used for prostitution, are strictly prohibited in Queensland.
New South Wales
In New South Wales
, under the Summary Offences Act 1988
the only activities that are illegal are:
- living on the earnings of a prostitute, although persons who own or manage a brothel are exempt
- causing or inducing prostitution
- using premises, or allowing premises to be used, for prostitution that are held out as being available for massage, sauna baths, steam baths, facilities for exercise or photographic studios
- advertising that a premises is used for prostitution, or advertising for prostitutes
- soliciting for prostitution near or within view of a dwelling, school, church or hospital.
- advertising that anal penetration will take place
It is also should be noted that escorts agencies are notorious for cheating the call girls on credit card payments.
In Western Australia
an informally established arrangement between police and brothel operators, the "containment policy", allows brothels to operate under the sanction of police. A Bill to regulate brothels and prostitution was defeated in 2003. A new Bill was introduced in 2007, and received Royal Assent on April 14. The Prostitution Amendment Act 2008
is based partly on the approach taken in 2003 in New Zealand
and decriminalises brothels, which will require certification. Independent operators are exempt from certification.
, the Prostitution Control Act 1994
creates a dual licensing system for six room brothels, although a number of larger brothels, existing before the Act was passed, were automatically given licences and continue to operate. Small owner-operated brothels can operate legally, private escort workers must be registered and escorts from brothels are permitted.
The Act legalises and regulates the operations of brothels and escort agencies. The operator of each type of business must hold a license. The difference between the two is that in the case of a brothel clients come to the place of business, which is subject to local council planning controls. In the case of an escort agency, clients phone the agency and arrange for a sex worker to come to their homes or motels.
If only one or two prostitutes are running a brothel or escort agency, which does not employ other prostitutes, they do not need a licence.
Street prostitution continues to be illegal and a a big issue, though it affects predominantly the Carlisle Street end of St Kilda.
One of the objective of the Act was to eliminate the criminal connection to the operations of illegal brothels. The success of this objective appears to be in question.
In Tasmania, the Sex Industry Offences Act 2005 states that a person must not be a commercial operator of a sexual services business- that is, "someone who is not a self-employed sex worker and who, whether alone or with another person, operates, owns, manages or is in day-to-day control of a sexual services business". This law explicitly outlines that it is illegal to assault a sex worker, to receive commercial sexual services, or provide or receive sexual services unless a prophylactic is used.
South Australia's Police minister introduced a number of Bills in 1999, aiming to revise and legalise prostitution. The Bills were passed collectively in the House of Assembly as the Prostitution (Regulation) Bill 2000, but were defeated by the Legislative Council the following year. Prostitution in South Australia continues to be governed by the Summary Offences Act 1953 and Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 The current government will not revisit the debate.
In the Northern Territory
, under the Prostitution Regulation Act
, the Northern Territory Licensing Commission
can license Northern Territory residents for a licence to operate an escort agency business- brothels are illegal, street work is illegal, while sole operators are legal and un-regulated.