The Sex Party have targeted improved rights for sex workers and the decriminalisation of drugs in the prelude to the City of Sydney elections on September 8.
Having already run for the Bradfield by-election in 2009, Sex Party Lord Mayoral candidate Zahra Stardust believes their ethos can be brought to the betterment of the City of Sydney.
“The Sex Party is fundamentally a human rights, social justice and civil liberties party,” Ms Stardust said. “At a local government level our policies translate to things like supporting a diverse vibrant city that has 24 hour public transport and better street lighting, and no blanket lockouts or curfews.
“We want to extend drug injecting rooms beyond Kings Cross, see no sniffer dogs on public streets and we want personal drug use to be decriminalised.”
A large part of the Party’s local policy is focused on fair treatment for sex workers and sex work venues.
“At the moment, a range of different local councils apply really discriminatory policies or measures against sex industry businesses; often there are planning requirements upon sex industry businesses that don’t apply to other commercial businesses.
“Some councils have forced sex industry businesses to relocate into industrial zones and this has been shown to isolate sex workers. Often it segregates those people into poorly lit or under resourced or unsafe areas.
“Inappropriate Council policy might prohibit private street workers from working from residential areas, which means they have to go through a development application process that publicly outs them to our neighbours and that has led to harassment of individual sex workers in their homes and they are then driven underground.
“The City of Sydney has anti-clustering provisions, which means that those business are not able to network with each other for peer support. And there are requirements that locations need to be not visible on street level, or sometimes they have to be above ground or below ground, which means that sometimes they are inaccessible to people with disability.”
Ms Stardust said that while there are no specifically conservative groups like Family First running in the City of Sydney elections, elements of them often arise in the other parties over sensitive issues.
“Many of the attitudes and the policy, particularly around the adult industry or drug injecting rooms often are similar [to Family First], or are pseudo religious. Often it is controversial issues that bring out Family First morality.
“The Sex Party formed not nessesarily just in response to Family First but in response to an increasing conservatism in general among politics in Australia.”
Unlike the other groups contesting the election, the Sex Party’s number one candidate on the councillors ticket is not their Lord Mayoral Candidate.
“Our number one Council candidate is Andrew Patterson, he is an ex police officer in the vice squad in Western Australia, so he’s very up on sex industry issues.”
“Andrew didn’t wish to contest the election for Mayor but I did, so it was an easy choice for the party plus it allows us also to run a ticket that combines the profile of both Andrew, and myself leading and promoting a Sex Party team of five.”
The NSW branch of the Sex Party has a Policy and Procedures Committee and they have the role to canvas and develop policies in NSW.
The Committee is appointed by the branch executive and any voting member of the NSW branch can nominate themselves to that committee and all the policy suggestions for NSW get submitted to the committee which considers and reviews them.
Any Councillor would be bound to decisions made by the committee.
“The Sex Party is a relatively new party and have only recently registered in NSW for local government elections, so we’re really interested in hearing feedback from members of the public about their ideas,” Ms Stardust said.
By Jason Marshall