Sex workers buoyed by motel case win
Wed August 8, 2012 11:05am
A PROSTITUTE'S win against a Queensland motel paves the way for other sex workers to stand up against "systemic prejudice", the national sex workers' association says.
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) ruled the owners of a motel in the mining town of Moranbah breached the Anti-Discrimination Act by denying a legal sex worker a room.
The Gold Coast woman, identified only as GK, had stayed at the motel 17 times in two years until the property's owners discovered in 2010 she was bringing clients to her room.
They then banned her from staying there.
The discrimination ruling could have broader implications for motels and hotels in Queensland's mining boom towns as the shift to fly-in, fly-out workforces has also fuelled a fly-in, fly-out sex trade.
The national sex workers' association, the Scarlet Alliance, says GK's victory paves the way for other sex workers in Queensland.
"This is definitely a win for sex workers because it sends a clear message discrimination against them will not be accepted," the alliance's chief executive Janelle Fawkes told AAP.
"There is systemic discrimination against sex workers across Australia, and this will encourage others to come forward."
Accommodation Association of Australia chief executive Richard Munro says hotel and motel owners must retain the right to refuse guests who might disturb the amenity of their properties.
" ... the responsibility for making the decision about who is able to stay in (hotels and motels) should lie with the owner, operator, licensee or manager of the business," Mr Munro said in a statement.
The association was considering raising the matter with the Queensland and federal governments, he said.
QCAT is yet to set a hearing date to decide on compensation for GK.
She lost her anti-discrimination case last year but appealed last month.
During the hearing, her lawyer successfully that argued many people used the telephone or internet at the motel for business, and a bed was no different.
The tribunal handed down its verdict last week, ruling in favour of GK.
The motel owners' barrister, David Edwards, told AAP his clients were considering an appeal.