NSW Brothels:

Policy and Media Officer for Sylvia Hale MLC, Christopher Holley writes: Re. "Message to NSW councils: Close down illegal brothels or go to ICA" (yesterday, item 30). I'm surprised that Crikey has allowed itself to be used so blatantly by Chris Seage to tout for business. His article attacks NSW Greens MP Sylvia Hale for moving some amendments to the NSW Brothels Bill. Those amendments were aimed at ensuring that, before a s-x worker who is operating in a residential premise can have their power and water cut off, there should be some evidence that their neighbours (rather than their competitors) have a problem with their activities. It is not illegal in NSW to be a s-x worker. It might suit Mr Seage’s new business to be able to promise that he can bully local councils into shutting down his clients’ competition but there were genuine issues relating to health and safety, anti-competitive behaviour by the owners of large brothels and the likelihood of corruption as well as local amenity that needed to be considered when this Bill was debated. I guess that is why similar amendments to some of those moved by the Greens were moved by the Christian Democrats and accepted by the government. The Greens recognise the importance of regulating the s-x industry for public and occupational health and safety, local amenity and anti-corruption reasons which is why the NSW Greens MPs supported the Brothels Bill in its final form, a fact omitted by Mr Seage. As for Mr Seage's argument that the Scarlet Alliance should not be allowed to express a view about the legislation, it shows a pretty distorted understanding of the democratic process coming from an industry lobbyist who is now making money out of the legislative changes for which he lobbied so hard.