Wahine Toa Rising supports Nicola Centofanti and the Equality Model

Nicola Centofanti on Vote for Prostitution Law Reform

Press release from Hon Nicola Centofanti MLC

Nation-Leading Vote for Prostitution Law Reform

In a nation-leading vote on prostitution reform in the South Australian Parliament, the Summary Offences (Prostitution Law Reform) Amendment Bill fell just short of passing the Legislative Council last night, with the final vote being 11-10.

Dr Nicola Centofanti, who introduced this bill into the Legislative Council last year, said that whilst the bill fell just short this was nevertheless a “win for women’s equality” because it sends the message that a significant proportion the Parliament sees the benefits of the Equality Model.

“Given this is the first time the Equality Model has been debated in our Parliament, I am extremely heartened by the close vote. It bodes well for future legislative change.”

“I introduced this bill with the intent of creating a more equitable and respectful society, “says Dr Centofanti. “The legislation challenges the power inequalities found within our society.”

The Equality Model criminalises the sex buyers, pimps and brothel owners, but not the prostituted persons acknowledging that they are frequently victims of exploitation. It also provides support and exit services for those wanting to leave the industry.

The Hon Nicola Centofanti said that she was grateful to have cross party support. “Members across the political spectrum supported the bill and that is a really powerful message. In the debate Labor’s Clare Scriven said that “If we want to change attitudes to women to prevent sexual and gendered violence, we can start here. It some women can be bought and sold for sex, because men have the social and economic power to do so, the status of all women is undermined.

Not all disrespect ends in violence, but all violence starts with disrespect. Which is why it is so important to change attitudes.”

“While I am obviously disappointed about the outcome of last night’s vote, I intend to use this moment as an opportunity to continue advocating for the equality model here and across the country.”

“There is a national conversation about what kind of society we want for women and girls here in Australia. I am of the view that we cannot have a serious conversation about gender-based violence without talking about a culture that allows women and girls to be viewed as commodities.”