August 24th 2002

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Embryo experiments: are there any limits?

ALP's problems deeper than pre-selections and branch-stacking

Zimbabwe: Mugabe aggravates drought crisis

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Dizzy with success / Angry amnesiacs

EMBRYO EXPERIMENTATION: Consuming our unborn is indefensible

LAW: High Court judgment deepens native title confusion

General Cosgrove was wrong on Vietnam (letter)

Why the stock market plunged (letter)

Snowy River plan damages Murray basin (letter)

Infrastructure savings (letter)

COMMENT: Whose voice can be heard?

VICTORIA: Public forces backdown on Victorian sex zone plans

POPULATION: Time to set the record straight

COMMENT: Can the ABC be saved from itself?

ECONOMY: The Reserve, interest rates and inflation

ASIA: Taiwan's banking system under siege

BOOKS: Baby Hunger: The New Battle for Motherhood, by Sylvia Ann Hewlett

BOOKS: American Scoundrel: The Life of the Notorious Civil War General Dan Sickles, by Thomas Keneally

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Public forces backdown on Victorian sex zone plans

by Bill Muehlenberg

News Weekly, August 24, 2002
The Victorian Government and the Port Phillip Council have abandoned their plans for tolerance zones for St Kilda's sex workers.

The decision comes after local residents expressed their outrage and concern at the proposed red-light districts. After continuous strong showings of disapproval, the governments have been forced to retreat.

This attempt to ram sex zones down the throats of the hapless residents of St Kilda is another example of a Victorian government that has lost its way, and is indifferent to the needs of ordinary Victorians. The Bracks Government has grown arrogant and out of touch.

As an example of this, consider the comments made by the Attorney-General, Rob Hulls a month or two ago regarding the radical proposal. He said:

"You can bury your head in the sand over these issues and take this 1950s, white picket-fence, myopic view of the world that if you shut your eyes, street prostitution will go away. Or you can look at innovative solutions to minimise the harm that's occurring."

A lot of questions spring to mind here. Was he actually suggesting that prostitution has only been viewed as a social evil during the 1950s? Was he actually saying that the institutions of marriage and family are just decades old? Was he actually saying that all societies at all times have embraced prostitution while scorning marriage and family?

It seems that it is Mr Hulls who has an extreme case of myopia, and a politically correct case of it as well. His ideological blinders have allowed him to run rough shod over history, and in the process he has managed to offend millions of families where marriage is taken seriously and prostitutes are not part of the regular menu.

The truth is, Mr Hulls' harm minimisation approach to prostitution, like the Bracks' government approach to drugs, is a failed policy.

In both cases the Government throws up its hands and says, people will always do drugs or use prostitutes, so why try to stop it? One might as well argue that people will always steal, rape and murder, so why bother to stop it?

The only correct part of Mr Hulls' comments is his acknowledgement that harm is occurring. Prostitution is not good for men, women, or society, and taxpayers should not be footing the bill for such bizarre examples of social engineering.

Indeed, as Herald Sun columnist Paul Gray wrote:

"What the Government is determined to do is impose yet another important social policy change that will help further remake the Victorian community in its own radical image."

Thus this backflip is an excellent example of how ordinary citizens can make a difference if they are willing to speak up and be counted.

  • Bill Muehlenberg

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