ASP News & Updates

Senator Harradine a Worthy but Deluded Opponent: Eros

The Eros Association today paid tribute to the man they locked horns with more times than they cared to remember. Eros CEO Fiona Patten said that he was a formidable political opponent, driven by his religious convictions and a cultural mindset stuck in the 1950s. “From the late 1980s onward, he used his balance of power in the Senate to try and roll back the supernova of eroticism that was exploding all around him”, she said. “He knew how to work a government like nobody else and was always one step ahead of them in his efforts to ban pornography. But he did not understand that the technological revolution of the 1990s was the beginning of a new way of life and that pornography was an integral part of that life. He thought if you can control the brown paper bags, you could control what was in them.”

She said that he came close to banning X rated films on a number of occasions but always just failed. On the other hand she said Eros had almost had X rated films legalised across the country but in the end had also failed mainly due to his lobbying. “The X rated movie has remained in no man’s land for 30 years due to the battle that we constantly fought with him”, she said. “Perhaps now that this great colossus of the moral minority has passed away, Australia can do what the rest of the western world did 20 years ago and legalise the humble X rated movie.”

Senator Harradine was part of the split Klugman Senate Committee on Community Values (dubbed the Morals Committee) in 1988 and used the debates to showcase his new-found feminist arguments against porn.

He horse-traded his vote on important bills like the sale of Telstra to push through a ban on 1900 erotic phone lines. He also traded his vote on other bills to achieve tighter controls and bans on X rated films and to ban internet porn in the Online Services Act. In 2000 Eros ambushed him with a Bill that came from the Attorney General to set up a new category of films called Non Violent Erotica. At the eleventh hour he realised that full import of this new legislation and ambushed Prime Minister John Howard by showing him and a small coterie of National Party members, three black transsexual films that he claimed would make the new NVE cut. Howard claimed after the movie viewing that he had never been so offended in his life and the new category was scrapped.

Senator Harradine supplied the three black transsexual movies from his own sizeable personal collection of porn. He probably watched more porn than any other politician of his era – all in the name of research.

He used his position to ban overseas aid to health clinics that provided abortions or information about them.

Ms Patten said that in his latter years Mr Harradine must have wondered whether it was worth it all given the ubiquitous and textured nature of pornography on the internet these days.

“We salute him for the tenacity and strategy that he employed in his crusades against porn but he was fighting a losing battle from the beginning. And if he thought that his efforts would win him favour in the afterlife, he didn’t understand how far reaching the internet was”.

harradine collage rgb

Senate Committee on Electoral Matters Should Look at Barnaby Joyce

The Australian Sex Party has replied to criticisms from the chairman of Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, Tony Smith, that the nomination of its ACT-based candidate, Robbie Swan, in the 2013 Tasmanian Senate election, was ‘bizarre’. Mr Smith flagged the probability that that his Committee would recommend a ban on ‘foreign’ nominations for a state senate election by saying… ‘On this matter…. the status quo is not an option’.

Sex Party President, Fiona Patten, said that the notion of the Senate being a parochial ‘state’s House’ that could only be represented by people from within that state, was a complete misreading of the original intention of the founding fathers and a complete abrogation of the way the modern Senate worked.

‘The composition of the Senate was originally agreed to because the smaller colonies wanted to have some protection from the might and power of the larger colonies’, she said. ‘But the reality is that the Senate has never operated like that and if it did, neither party would get any legislation through. Just in case Mr Smith missed it, Senators vote on party lines - not on State-based allegiances’.

Ms Patten reminded Mr Smith and his Committee that Barnaby Joyce, who had been a Senator for Queensland for many years and lived in that state, decided to resign his position for reasons of political advancement and to run for the House of Representatives in the state of NSW. ‘If Mr Smith thinks it’s not OK for an ACT resident to run in a Tasmanian Senate election, then how does he justify a Queensland Senator running for a NSW lower house seat’, she said. ‘There are plenty more examples of House of Reps candidates not initially living in their electorates. The public has a right to know if Mr Smith is cherry-picking jurisdictions here for his own party’s benefit’.

Robbie Swan missed out on winning a Senate seat in Tasmania by 145 votes at the last Senate election with a lead policy to take Tasmania out of its economic woes by becoming the first state in Australia to grow and tax marijuana. Since then Colorado in the US has done exactly that and had put millions of dollars worth of tax money into new schools.

Ms Patten said that Mr Smith had not called her to discuss the issues before coming out against her party and neither had he asked her to appear before the Committee as a witness.

Corbell’s Crackdown on Drugs Misses the Mark: Sex Party

ACT Attorney General, Simon Corbell has sided with the old style prohibitionists by introducing new drug laws in the ACT Parliament today. Australian Sex Party President, Fiona Patten, said the laws will continue to fail and will be rejected by Canberrans’ progressive attitudes.

She said marijuana and heroin had been banned for almost 100 years in Australia but were never more popular than now. ‘It is disappointing to see a Gen X Attorney General, supporting the same tired old prohibitionist policies that ignorant politicians used to ban alcohol as far back as the 1920s’, she said. ‘We support his moves to reduce the numbers of young people going to jail for personal possession of drugs but it is disingenuous in the extreme to try and separate out different ends of the recreational drug market and makes saints out of one end and sinners of the other. Reducing the harm done to people and society by recreational drug use requires a holistic approach based in the health portfolio - not in the criminal justice one.’

Ms Patten who is also the CEO of the Eros Association which represents legal sellers of social tonics, said that two years ago there was a new emerging psychoactive substance coming onto the market every couple of months. Now there were three every week.

‘Trying to prohibit these new substances with more and more prohibition is futile and the New Zealand government recognised this over a year ago and set up a regulatory scheme based on proving that a substance was not harmful for the people taking it. In the first year of this scheme the number of outlets selling these products declined from 3,000 to 300. The number of products on sale dramatically reduced from hundreds to 36. If the ACT had totally legalised natural cannabis, these synthetic products would not even be around’.

The Sex Party completely rejected the notion of minimum sentencing for trafficking that Mr Corbell was pushing. Ms Patten said that only a few weeks ago a South Australian man with leukaemia was sent to jail for growing 23 marijuana plants. His wife had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and they were both using the drug to bring them some relief for their medical conditions. ‘It’s completely reasonable that they would have consumed 23 plants from their backyard in a year and yet under minimum sentencing this man will now spend the next two years in jail – with leukaemia and no medical marihuana. Something similar will happen in the ACT under these new laws’, she said. ‘Someone with a bag of icing sugar can now go to jail under these laws if the police say they think its cocaine. Not having to have chemicals positively tested and identified before charges are laid sets a very dangerous precedent.’

Ms Patten said that instead of band aid solutions that made it look like something was being done, we needed an adult approach to drug use and drug laws in the ACT. ‘As the most progressive jurisdiction in Australia we should be leading this conversation, as we have done in the past. The Intergovernmental Committee on Drugs has been trying to work out how to ban these drugs for three years now and in that time the number of new substances coming onto the market has trebled. Mr Corbell needs to think about that instead of following this unworkable approach.’

Sex Party Enters Tasmanian Politics at Sexpo this Weekend

The Australian Sex Party is gearing up for Hobart's first ever Sexpo this weekend and will be talking to Tasmanians about their civil liberties and looking to sign up Tasmanian members. The party will focus on its battle to legalise and tax cannabis in the state and will be hosting a parliamentary petition addressed to the Premier, calling for legalisation.

Marijuana law reform is moving quickly around the world. Since the beginning of this year, more than 70 bills related to hemp have been introduced in more than half of the states in the U.S and some commentators are suggesting that marijuana will be legal and taxed in most parts of the US within a few years.

“The Tasmanian economy needs all the help it can get,” said Sex Party President Fiona Patten. “Legalising hemp and cannabis will not only generate millions of dollars in tax revenue but also kick start an industry which will provide thousands of jobs for Tasmanians. Tasmanian hemp growers are unique in the world in that they are still banned from using their products in food.”

The Sex Party missed out on winning a Tasmanian Senate seat at the last federal election by only 245 votes with its main policy being legalisation and taxing of marijuana. Ms Patten said that Tasmanians were quite progressive people, contrary to the views held by many mainlanders who had demonstrated support for marijuana law reform but also for their Museum of Old and New Art which contained some of the most sexualised and bizarre art in the southern hemisphere. “At the last state election the Nationals candidate for the Tasmanian seat of Braddon, Ken Dorsey, even stole our policy on the legalisation of cannabis”, she said. “How progressive is that?”

Cannabis is Australia’s most commonly used illicit drug, according to the 2010 National Drug Strategy Household Survey report. More than half of people in Australia aged 30-39 years had used cannabis at some time in their lives.

“We will be signing up new members at Sexpo with a view to registering a Tasmanian branch of the party before the next state election,” Ms. Patten said.

Sex Party Asks W.A. Voters to Abolish States

Following her widely reported proposals to increase education funding in Western Australia by taxing and legalizing marijuana, Sex Party candidate in Saturday’s Senate by-election, Fiona Patten, has announced her party’s Constitutional Reform policy that would effectively abolish the state of Western Australia.

“The simple fact is that West Australians are going back to the polling booths for the third time in 13 months” she said. “People are over it. They just want governments to get on with the job of running good hospitals and keeping schools open. All our states are completely over-governed”, she said.

A 2012 Griffith University survey on Constitutional Values found that two thirds of Australians felt that state and federal governments did not work well together. It also found that 76.4% believed that State governments were not effective in doing their job.*

The Sex Party is calling for a Constitutional Commission that, amongst other things, would look at abolishing all state governments and replacing them with regions or provinces. One whole level of government would be abolished with the provinces taking over much of the responsibilities of local councils. Areas such as education and health which are currently duplicated, would be centralised. Under such a scheme, what is currently Western Australia could become four or five provinces.

“The savings that would be made by getting rid of a whole layer of government could go directly towards paying for better health care and more hospitals”, Ms Patten said. Under her vision of a new federalism she said “People living in the north and the east of Western Australia who often feel isolated from Perth, would get a better share of services across the board with direct funding and liaison from the federal government.”

She said that the constant bickering between States and the Federal government would disappear and there would be less political snouts in the trough. "W.A. State politics has had its fair share of corrupt and disgraced Premiers, Ministers and back benchers over the years. Imagine if that whole layer of inept and costly government were removed".

* www.griffith.edu.au/federalism

Abolishing Charities Commission Ends Scrutiny of Religious Businesses

The Australian Sex Party is calling on the federal government not to abolish the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits-Commission (ACNC) because of its potential to investigate improper behaviour and reporting by religious businesses. Over 40 charities have now called for the government to reverse its decision to axe the Commission.

Last week the government introduced repeal legislation to abolish the Commission, which only came into being last year, on the premise of reducing red tape. Sex Party President, Fiona Patten said that with the Commission only just being established, there was no time for the government to gather evidence to show that charities were being hampered by red tape. “They could have just as easily said they were giving George Pell a going away present as blaming red tape”, she said.

As revealed at the Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse last week, the Sydney Archdiocese of the Catholic Church alone, controls over $ 1 billion dollars in assets with a yearly turnover in the millions. The Chancellor of the Archdiocese confirmed that these assets and profits were run through income tax exempt charities, which also enjoy capital tax exemptions.

The Australian Sex Party supported the establishment of the ACNC as a positive step to increase transparency of charities - notwithstanding the fact that churches had been exempt from reporting. There was considerable speculation that the Henry Tax Review, which set up the Commission, would also recommend wide-ranging changes affecting the billions of dollars worth of tax benefits received by Church-owned businesses but in the end religion and religious businesses were left well out of it. Ms Patten said she was concerned about the circumstances that may have led to Mr Henry’s apparent turnaround. “The Sex Party continues to argue that an organisation who’s sole purpose is the ‘the advancement of religion’ should never be given charitable status”, she said.

Ms Patten said that by abolishing the Commission, Tony Abbott had caved in to Cardinal Pell’s lobbying on the issue. “ We are not surprised that the government has made this move,” she said. “It is well known that the Catholic Church and Cardinal Pell in particular, vehemently opposed the establishment of the Commission in the first place. What this really amounts to is giving Cardinal Pell what he wanted.”

Ms Patten said that churches and religious organizations receive a multitude of tax breaks from income tax exemptions, GST concessions and exemptions from capital gains tax (on property and share trading) and Fringe Benefits Tax. “Income tax exemptions alone are costing the Australian tax payer around $ 20 billion a year”, she said. “If the Abbott government believes companies should not be bailed out by governments then by the same token it is time to seriously review the anti-competitive tax breaks given to Church-owned businesses. Why should profit-making organizations operating in areas as diverse as insurance to breakfast cereals, get a free ride because they hide behind the dubious and often fanatical mask of religion?

See the Sex Party’s TV ad on religion:

Sex Party Calls for Marijuana and Church Taxes to Fund W.A. Education

Fiona Patten, the Sex Party candidate in the upcoming State Senate by-election today called on the Barnett government to tax and regulate marijuana as a way to fund public education ahead of a state-wide teacher’s strike on April 1.

Accepting that a proposal linking taxes on recreational cannabis to education would be controversial, she is appealing to the government to look to the current wave of reform in the US for evidence-based results.

Colorado, the first state to legalise marijuana originally projected revenues from excises and taxes to be in the region of $ 70 million but following early results has now raised its projections to $ 130 million for the next fiscal year.

Under the new law in Colorado, which only recently came into effect, the first $40 million earned through the excise tax goes directly towards building new schools. The rest of the money is to be spent on education programmes aimed at addiction prevention and drug awareness.

“A tax which didn’t exist last year, is now being projected to raise over $ 100 million with all of it being directed to education”, she said.

She also pointed to her party’s tax policy on Church-owned businesses which receive generous tax concessions unlike almost anywhere else in the world. As an example she points to Sanitarium, a cereal and breakfast drink manufacturer, with an estimated turnover in the region of $ 300 million but owned by the Seventh Day Adventists and therefore exempt from tax.

“We urgently need to look closely at areas such as drug law reform with tax benefits as well as fixing anachronistic tax policies that pander to the interests of the Churches”, she said

“Before there are any more cuts to education, before the Federal government brings down a budget likely to hit ordinary working families the hardest, we need to look at taxes which are literally under our noses”.

Sex Party Hops out of Bed

Leading civil libertarian and President of the Australian Sex Party, Fiona Patten, is to head the party’s ticket in the upcoming Western Australian Senate by-election having narrowly missed out on being elected in the September poll.

The importance of this election cannot be underestimated Ms Patten said adding that this was one reason her party had decided to eschew the tight preference swaps amongst the minor parties that were a feature of the September poll. Whilst recognising that this has caused her party to be effectively frozen out from receiving preferences from many other minor parties and would make her election more difficult, she was comfortable with the position the party had taken.

In addition to a wide-ranging progressive platform including regulating and taxing marijuana, same-sex marriage, voluntary euthanasia and taxing Church-owned businesses, Ms Patten said she would campaign for electoral reform if she was elected. “The system of Group Voting Tickets should be abolished and below the line voting reintroduced.”, she said. She predicted that this would lead to a reduction in micro party registration.

“Civil liberty, free speech and personal freedoms are not won by picking off single issues one at a time”, she said. “They are won when the principles of freedom and liberty are alive and well in the consciousness of the community. Drug Law Reform is unlikely to come about when people are still being sent to jail for selling non-violent adult sex movies. Abortion law reform is unlikely to happen nationally when gay couples cannot marry. And the true separation of church and state is not likely to occur while religious businesses are not required to pay tax”.

Having just returned from speaking at an international conference on Drug Law Reform in New Zealand, she made the point that our neighbours seems to be leaving Australia behind in so many areas, that it is an international embarrassment.

“The Kiwis are about to take the Union Jack off their flag whilst we are reintroducing Imperial honours, she said. “Same-sex marriage and a legal and regulated synthetic market are a reality when we still have our head in the sand”

Send a message to Tony Abbott on April 5 that we want to be on the right side of history and Vote 1 Sex.

Ever Wanted to Run in an Election?

The Australian Sex Party invites you to express your interest in standing as a candidate at the Victorian State Election scheduled for November 29th 2014.

If you are passionate about protecting civil liberties and are keen to shake things up a bit, this is an opportunity for you to make a real impact on the Victorian political landscape.

All you need to do is complete and return the attached Candidate Questionnaire to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or send to PO Box 1131, Carlton VIC 3053 by Wednesday 2 April 2014.

If you have any questions regarding running as a candidate for the Victorian state election, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ChillOut

By Martin Leahy

As this was my first ChillOut I was not sure what to expect but had been told that the previous year’s event was great fun.

An early start was required to get to Daylesford by 9am to set up. Once we found our stand and set up, it was time to park the vehicle and walk to town for the march.

Finding the rest of the Sex Party crew was easy. We had superheroes and the rest of us wearing our yellow Tshirts.

The parade was two laps of the main street.

The crowd’s response to us, as always, was great!

Our superheroes were handing out HERO condoms to the crowd and then it was back to the showground for the carnival.

As the crowd built up, we were kept busy by talking to people, handing out HERO condoms and Sex Party cards. The response to was fantastic.

We signed up a few new members. Fun was also had temporary tattooing people which is always a good way to talk about the party and our policies.

It was a long day, as all these days are, but I have to say I had a great time and I will be back there next year!

If you missed out going, I can recommend that you jot next year’s date in your diary and come along. It does live up to it’s name.

ChillOut

Australian Sex Party Superheroes: Vicki, Charity and Rhiannon

ChillOut

Australian Sex Party in the ChillOut parade

Senator Harradine a Worthy but Deluded Opponent: Eros

HarradinePortrait

The Eros Association today paid tribute to the man they locked horns with more times than they cared to remember. Eros CEO Fiona Patten said that he was a formidable political opponent, driven by his religious convictions and a cultural mindset stuck in the 1950s. “From the late 1980s onward, he used his balance of power in the Senate to try and roll back the supernova of eroticism that was exploding all around him”, she said. “He knew how to work a government like nobody else and was always one step ahead of them in his efforts to ban pornography. But he did not understand that the technological revolution of the 1990s was the beginning of a new way of life and that pornography was an integral part of that life. He thought if you can control the brown paper bags, you could control what was in them.”

Read more

Corbell’s Crackdown on Drugs Misses the Mark: Sex Party

ACT banmull

ACT Attorney General, Simon Corbell has sided with the old style prohibitionists by introducing new drug laws in the ACT Parliament today. Australian Sex Party President, Fiona Patten, said the laws will continue to fail and will be rejected by Canberrans’ progressive attitudes.

She said marijuana and heroin had been banned for almost 100 years in Australia but were never more popular than now. ‘It is disappointing to see a Gen X Attorney General, supporting the same tired old prohibitionist policies that ignorant politicians used to ban alcohol as far back as the 1920s’, she said. ‘We support his moves to reduce the numbers of young people going to jail for personal possession of drugs but it is disingenuous in the extreme to try and separate out different ends of the recreational drug market and makes saints out of one end and sinners of the other. Reducing the harm done to people and society by recreational drug use requires a holistic approach based in the health portfolio - not in the criminal justice one.’

 Read more