Prostitution in Australia is governed by state and territory laws, which vary considerably; and Federal legislation also has an impact on some aspects of prostitution throughout Australia, and of Australian citizens and residents outside of the country.
Eastern Australian states and territories liberalised their laws in the late twentieth century, however liberalisation has been restricted by upper houses of Parliament of several States, with legislation either being defeated or extensively amended. New South Wales was the first State to adopt a different model, decriminalising prostitution in 1979. This in turn became a model for New Zealand and a failed attempt in Western Australia in 2008. Victoria and Queensland adopted different models, based on legalisation, Victoria in 1986 and Queensland in 1992. In the remaining States of Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia, despite intense debate and many proposed legislative reforms there has been no change in the laws. In the territories the ACT adopted partial decriminalisation in 1992, and the Northern Territory also allowed a partial decriminalisation in 1992. In all jurisdictions the issue remains deeply divisive and in the three eastern states with regulated sex work, there has been a process of continual review.
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“I like Australia less and less. The hateful newness, the democratic conceit, every man a little pope of perfection.”
—D.H. (David Herbert)