Australia: Great moments in discrimination law

by Walter Olson on August 9, 2012

Expanding, as is so often the case, at the expense of the rights of contract and property: “Australia’s hotel industry has been rocked by a court’s ruling that a prostitute was illegally discriminated against by a motel owner who refused to rent her a room to work from. The ruling has stunned hotel and motel owners, who thought they had a right to decide what sort of businesses were operating from their premises. … Prostitution is legal in Queensland, and discrimination based on lawful sexual activity is outlawed.” [Telegraph, U.K.]

Discussion: Catallaxy Files (“Australia’s leading libertarian and centre-right blog”).

{ 1 comment }

1 Malcolm 08.09.12 at 11:37 pm

This is a perfectly good example of the Government’s thought police expanding their authority beyond their jurisdiction. The decision is almost certainly wrong in law.
Firstly, the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act does protect “lawful sexual activity”. This was an immoral section of course; it prevented people taking the traditional approach of ostracizing those involved in immoral lifestyles. Probably, it was originally intended to protect homosexuality without saying so. However, when prostitution was legalised, the Act was specifically amended to define “lawful sexual activity” specifically to lawful prostitution. Of course, this is still an immoral law.
However, it is important to remember that prostitution is only legal in Queensland when it takes place in a licenced brothel. Using a hotel room as a venue for private prostitution is almost certainly illegal. Hence, the decision is wrong in law.
Hopefully, the newly elected government will sort it out.

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