Five years after forming as a political party, the Australian Sex Party has won its first seat in parliament.
The party's national President and long time civil liberties lobbyist, Fiona Patten, has just been formally declared the winner of the fifth seat in the Northern Metropolitan region of the Victorian Legislative Council.
Ms Patten won with the fifth highest primary vote in the region and the support of seven other progressive parties who preferenced her highly. She said:
The result is a ringing endorsement of the democratic nature of the preferential voting system. We are becoming more like the many European countries who have a number of parties vying for government on their own or in combination with another
party. New Zealand also follows this trend. The introduction of minor parties into the political landscape in Australia is a sign of a healthy democracy. My vote was made up of a combination of the votes of the progressive minor parties in my
region and ended up being around about a quota in its own right".
She said she would seek to progress the key policies of many of these parties like The Voluntary Euthanasia Party, The Basics Rock 'n Roll Party, The Animal Justice Party, Independent Peter Allen and The Australian Cyclists.
Ms Patten has resigned as CEO of Australia's adult industry association, the Eros Association. She founded the association in 1992 and acknowledged the support and the depth of civil libertarian values present in the industry:
Now is the time for the hard work to begin and from today it does. I will immediately commence work on referring Voluntary Euthanasia to the Victorian Law Reform Commission and then, with the mandate I have, will begin progressing drug law
reform in Victoria, including legalising medical and recreational cannabis.
The Belgian City of Antwerp is imposing a morality tax on sex shops, gambling dens, night shops and shisha bars.
In order to ensure that as few as possible of such establishments exist, the city is imposing a start-up tax which is being introduced next January. Businesspeople wanting to open any store that falls into this frowned upon category will have to
pay a EUR 6,000 start-up fee. An annual tax of EUR 1,500 will also be charged.
All shops and hospitality establishments have to obtain a licence top operate in Antwerp, but for more desirable establishments, the licence is free.
Antwerp city cabinet member Koen Kennis said:
We're not opposed to night shops ...BUT.. .in some parts of the city there is a too high concentration. Calculations show that such premises have a negative impact on the viability of shopping streets.
Official snitches reported an Adelaide sex shop for possessing and selling unclassified and X rated films.
Police raided the adult shop at Ottoway and seized several thousand DVDs that would be refused classification or were X18+ rated (standard hardcore).
The Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 states that a person must not sell an unclassified film that would, if classified, be classified as banned or X18+; or a film classified RC (Refused Classification) or X18+.
Porn stars and studios have called on Google to help publicise legal ways to buy adult content in an effort to combat piracy.
Prominent industry figures said they deserved the same measures as those recently introduced to publicise legitimate music and film sites. Google recently struck a deal with the music industry in the UK to show links to legal ways to buy music
more prominently than before.
A number of influential figures in the porn industry have told the BBC they want the same kind of deal. Australian porn star Angela White said:
Google is perpetuating the misconception that the adult industry is not a legitimate industry. The adult industry is run like any other professional industry; we pay taxes, create jobs and contribute to the economy.
Google told the BBC it did not want to comment on the concerns.
Comment: Censored whilst claiming to be uncensored
TorrentFreak comments that the situation with porn simply does not correlate to the music and mainstream movie industry in a way that Google's latest measure would make sense for porn:
Firstly, Google has begun placing ads at the top of search results when people search for TV shows such as Game of Thrones. Friendly links therein direct users to legal sources. That is not going to happen with porn -- Google forbids it. In
fact, AdWords doesn't even allow promotions for dating or international bride services. Good luck with Gangbangs of New York and Saturday Night Beaver.
Secondly, the porn industry is virtually impossible to navigate. While the MPAA and IFPI might have the luxury of speaking for the major studios and 90%+ of the recorded music sector, no such coordination exists in the porn industry. Reaching
consensus on what precisely should be done could prove impossible.
Then comes the issue of demoting sites. The pirate enemy cited most often by the adult industry are so-called tube sites but that raises even more complex issues, not least since some of the biggest companies in porn own several of the
largest tube sites.
Throw in the fact that many tube sites carry both licensed and unlicensed content and any demotion could hit legitimate creators' distribution strategies of using thousands of adult movie clips to drive traffic to external sites.
But whatever the complexities are, they are all completely moot. When approached by the BBC on the topic, Google declined to comment -- period. The search engine wouldn't be drawn on any aspect of the discussion, a sign that in this case
the porn industry isn't going to get what it wants.
Limerick Council has been a little red faced after spending EUR90,000 in a failed attempt to sex down a city centre site.
The council gave the money as a goodbye payment to the operator of the Utopia adult sex shop after the local authority paid EUR12.5m for the Opera Centre site where the shop was located. The site is the focus of a council scheme to rebuild
the city centre.
The shop did not fit in with the council's plans for the area and the adult store closed last month, when the council paid EUR90,000 to the operator.
But, within days, the business moved across to the other side of Ellen St and resumed trading.
One city council source said: There are a lot of red faces on how big money was spent to little avail.
At Utopia, a shop assistant said business was very good
Switzerland has announced that it will stop issuing special work permits for foreign strippers, who hail from countries such as Russia, the Dominican Republic and Thailand. The government said that the eight-month permits would no longer be
granted after the end of 2015, on the grounds that they had stoked sexual exploitation in the country.
Women are forced to drink alcohol, to prostitute themselves, and it is very difficult to prove it, Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga told reporters.
Created in 1995, the permits were intended to protect foreign women who wanted to work as nightclub dancers and strippers from unscrupulous players in the sex business. but now the government has decided that so-called L permit status for
the women was not having its desired effect.
From January 1, 2016, only women from the European Union will be allowed to come to Switzerland to work in nightclubs.
A Maltese judge has thrown out 3 attempts by the country's Attorney General's office to persecute lap dancing clubs claiming them to be brothels.
The lap dancing operators had previously been acquitted in previous trials but the Attorney General' had appealed against the acquittals.
The Attorney General had put forward contrived arguments claiming that lap dancing was prostitution.
In one case, Sabrina Bonett had been found wearing underwear and a short skirt inside the dressing room of the club, which was not accessible to the public. She had been charged with committing immoral acts, operating a brothel, offending public
morals and being indecently dressed in a public area. The woman was acquitted of all charges in 2011.
The AG's office argued on appeal that prostitution does not necessarily need to include full sexual intercourse. The Attorney General had argued that lap dancing is a simulation of sexual activity, which is considered to be a lewd act and
therefore constitutes prostitution. As such, the building where lap dancing is held is considered a brothel.