The WA government’s Attorney General, Jim McGinty, has finally achieved his objective of legalising the trade of prostitution. The end of a long drawn out campaign* saw the WA parliament add one more piece of morally rotten legislation to its growing list of anti-family, anti-community laws courtesy the Carpenter government.
Despite vigorous opposition from those appalled at the continuing moral decline, the Prostitution Amendment Bill was passed. In true Orwellian fashion, activity once proscribed by the Criminal Code, subject to public odium and prosecution, has magically become legal.
Predictably, society will eventually pay the cost in damaged lives and deteriorating social standards, while those responsible enjoy their taxpayer funded retirement.
As Humpty Dumpty told Alice, “A word can mean whatever I want it to mean”, and the Carpenter/McGinty government has again used words to redefine our perception of morality.
Sexual Services Act
The Prostitution Act 2000 now becomes the Sexual Services Act 2008. A prostitute becomes a “sex worker” and a brothel becomes a “sexual services business”. Something once a crime, part of the shadowy underworld associated with sleaze, drugs, pimps and abuse has been transformed into legitimate enterprise.
Most people seem to have ignored the issue as something not affecting them. They could be in for a shock.
Under the new Sexual Services Act a “small owner operated business” now includes a business where no more than two sex workers operate. Now when two young ladies move in next door and have lots of visitors at all sorts of hours they will be engaged in a lawful business; people will be unable to do anything about it. Suddenly the term NIMBY (not in my back yard) takes on a whole new meaning, but don’t expect the police or your local member to be able to change things.
This is just the latest in an increasing list of legislative changes by Jim McGinty undermining Western Australian families and public morality.
In 2001, as the Attorney General in the newly elected Gallop government, one of his first priorities was to change the law regarding homosexuality. By early 2002 the homosexual lobby had got all it wanted – lowering the age of consent from 21 to 16, introduction of homosexual “education” into schools’ curriculum, IVF access for lesbians and gay adoption.
It is not surprising then that late last year when the homosexuals gathered at their favourite venue, the Court Hotel, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the legislation, Mr McGinty made a special appearance to accept their congratulations as the driving force behind the legislative changes.
Now his success with the legalisation of prostitution is one more achievement for the libertarian Left here in WA.
A problem for political ideologues is their reforming zeal blinds them to events beyond their narrow perspective. Mr McGinty seems unaware that some of the most so called “progressive” societies in Europe are not just having second thoughts about their libertarian agendas but are hastily reversing them. They have learnt the hard way that actions have consequences, particularly in the field of moral failure where the consequences can be devastating for individuals and costly for society.
Amsterdam, the capital of Holland has been famous for decades for its blatantly liberal approach to pornography and prostitution. One of its grosser examples has been streets of shops displaying women behind their windows like any other commodity to be bought by the next “customer”. Now it is all changing as the city begins repairing the consequences of years of promiscuous laws. Its most famous sex club the Yab Yum has been closed down. Amsterdam has finally decided to close down its “red light” district to fight forced prostitution, money laundering and drug abuse.
Nine years ago Sweden also had a Damascus moment, introducing dramatic changes to its prostitution laws. It stopped punishing prostitutes and instead criminalised men for buying sex, so far convicting 1650 of them. The results have been startling, almost wiping out the awful trade. Before the legislation 2,500 women were working the streets; today it is 100.
The results have not gone unnoticed elsewhere and now Scotland is moving to do the same. A Swedish delegation recently visited Glasgow in the first step of a campaign there to outlaw paying for sex. Glasgow City Council deputy leader James Coleman said, “prostitution is exploitive and abusive of the women involved. Name one other situation where we would put up with endemic violence, abuse, disease, drug addiction, alcoholism, mental health problems, fear and trauma as a way to earn cash?”
It is a question Mr McGinty would find hard to answer. But judging by past performance he would simply ignore it.
Barry Morgan’s article is reprinted with permission from the June 2008 edition of Abundant Life, a publication of Pregnancy Assistance, Perth.
* Life Ministries was one of several organisations that actively opposed the legalisation of prostitution in Western Australia throughout the latter part of 2007 and into 2008. We produced a submission to the WA government on the Report of the Prostitution Law Reform Working Group. We published two full-colour pamphlets, titled “Prostitution and Social Justice” and “A Biblical Perspective on Prostitution”, which were distributed in the thousands throughout WA. We updated and reprinted an interview with Linda Watson, a former prostitute and brothel madam, titled “Prostitution in Perth”.(Copies of both pamphlets by Andrew Lansdown and the interview by Dwight Randall are still available from Life Ministries.) We produced a petition against the legalisation of prostitution, gathered over 2,000 signatures on it, and then presented it to the government. We wrote to every MP in both houses, sending them copies of our materials. In spite of our efforts, and the efforts of many others, the Sexual Services Act 2008 was passed in May 2008 with a majority of just one in the Legislative Council. This narrow loss highlights the need for Christians to become active in the political process and to elect Christian people who will vigorously oppose the unremitting attack on traditional/Christian moral standards in the Parliament of Western Australia.