NSW Shadow Attorney-General  Greg Smith has flagged The Daily Telegraph’s rivers of gold adult advertising as an issue on the eve of the introduction into Parliament of a bill representing Morris Iemma’s new illegal brothel laws. The new laws will give councils the power to close illegal brothels within five working days and give new powers to local courts to issue orders cutting off the electricity, gas and water supply to them.

However, in a bizarre decision, the Government has allowed illegal brothels to continue to advertise their grubby trade and, in the process, have allowed The Daily Telegraph to continue to bank their illegal pimp money estimated by the NSW Adult Business Association to be in the vicinity of $20-30 million dollars per year.

Greg Smith, the former deputy director of the NSW DPP, said: “We don’t believe illegal brothels should have the right to advertise. If they are illegal then why are they allowed to advertise?”

You may ask how the Government justifies this. Well, just look at the response from the Attorney-General John Hatzistergos to a question by the Reverend Fred Nile this month in Parliament:

Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile: Is it a fact that these illegal brothels are dependent on advertising in major city and suburban newspapers to increase their clientele? What action will the Government take to prohibit the advertising of illegal brothels, which was the intention of the legislation?

The Hon. John Hatzistergos: The answer to the question is that advertising of illegal brothels can facilitate their detection.

So, there it is, ladies and gentlemen. The Attorney-General in the state where the brown-paper envelope reigns supreme says illegal brothels can advertise in The Daily Telegraph so it can help the authorities detect them. Greg Smith says: “Perhaps Mr Hatzistergos should allow drug pushers to advertise as well. That would really put a dent in the drug trade. We will pursue this issue in Parliament.”

Of course, the Government’s attitude to this is nonsense. The Adult Business Association handed over a list of 775 illegal brothels, nude massage and home prostitution businesses to Mr Iemma in March. If they really use advertising as a way of detecting the miscreants then why have they allowed the illegal industry to spiral out of control? We have seen ICAC investigating corruption into a Western Sydney council official for allegedly trading s-x and money in return for not reporting the operation of an illegal brothel.

There was also the case of the brothel, opposite Clovelly Primary School, allowed to trade freely for eight years undetected. We have recommended to government that if a brothel wants to advertise they must provide the media group with a copy of their DA consent notice issued by their local council under NSW planning laws. Simple stuff.

In the past two weeks, I have endeavoured to get a response from Hatzistergos and his colleague, Planning Minister Frank Sartor, over the advertising issue. Both refuse to comment, which leads me to the conclusion that the Iemma Government does not want to rock the boat with News Limited. By legislating against media groups to prevent advertising of illegal brothels could lead to News turning against the Government in their editorial press. It is a disgraceful way to run a government. Iemma, Hatzistergos and Sartor are a bunch of wimps.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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