What the sex workers think of Steve Dickson's "strip club scandal" by One Nation


By Gala Vanting


April 30, 2019 17:26:08

I can only imagine the collective look of Australian sex workers this morning as we woke up on the cover of Steve Dickson's "strip club scandal."

We are used to this level of spectacle made of our work, especially when the political chess game is heating up. You can almost set your watch from it.

For many Australians, Dickson's entry into an American strip club at the end of last year does not seem terribly consequential, with little or no influence on his moral character or his ability to hold public office.

If the roaring sex workers who are prostitutes during the weeks of parliamentary sitting in Canberra are a test, the contact of the political world with the sex industry is not something to write about.

Yet here we are – glued to the feed of Mr. Dickson's actions, which had already been challenged through his alleged fundraising efforts with the ANR. And while the cover sometimes tells me otherwise, I'd like to think it's because Dickson's behavior towards women in that club was profoundly unacceptable.

Harassment is not part of the job

Strip clubs are workplaces. Strip club workers – who identify themselves as entertainers, dancers or sex workers – have the right to safety and fair treatment in the workplace, even in their one-to-one customer interactions.

Dickson's words and actions reveal how little he cares about those rights or the people who hold them.

In Australia, these rights are confirmed by federal and jurisdictional laws and guidelines on health and safety at work. Strip clubs are legitimate companies and workers in those clubs can be employees of the company or freelance as unique traders. They are classified as live performers and can access labor rights mechanisms through the Fair Work Commission.

The Fair Work Act protects workers from harassment and bullying at work. The act provides a safety net of minimum rights, allows flexible working arrangements and fairness at work, prevents discrimination against employees and creates rights and duties for employers. There is also state legislation.

The ability of a strip club worker to access these mechanisms, however, can be limited by stigma and discrimination in practice. Although the law theoretically provides us with these protections, we can put other aspects of our lives at risk by "appearing" as workers in the sex industry.

This is the reason why organizations that work with sex defend anti-discrimination protections for sex workers, so that they can safely access the protections to which we are entitled. It is also the reason why state-level peer organizations provide support for sex workers seeking compensation at work or on human rights.

If we accept that sex work is a job, as Pauline Hanson was forced to do, we also accept that there are standards of treatment that workers can and should expect from clients, managers and colleagues, regardless of whether they are formalized or not. in politics.

As entertainers, strip club workers offer a form of entertainment that creates an atmosphere of playfulness, disinhibition and eroticism. None of these words are used to describe the tone of Mr. Dickson's comments in the published video.

While the codes of conduct in sexual work activities are different from those in more formal professional spaces, they do not mean that performances of racism or misogyny are acceptable, or that dancers and sex workers are, by virtue of their profession, available for verbal or physical intimidation.

Dickson's behavior is not uncommon

Although I personally have no experience working in strip clubs, the dialogue with the spaces for the peer sex worker I occupy suggests that the words and actions of Mr. Dickson are not particularly rare.

Dancers have to deal with this kind of behavior enough to do it skillfully, controlling the limits of interaction and maintaining the relationship with the client, avoiding inappropriate progress without losing their jobs.

Crowd control and the assertion of boundaries are some of the key competences built in the sex work spaces, which often remain unrecognized in the misunderstanding that sex work is unskilled labor or "non-real work".

These skills are not the ones we should have to sharpen so intensely. We have the right to feel safe at work. We have the right not to be harassed. We have the right to say "no" and enforce it.

Al Jazeera has filmed women without consent

We cannot talk about codes of conduct in adult businesses without acknowledging that Al Jazeera also has something to respond to.

C & # 39; s definitely a discussion to make that this movie shouldn't have been taken in the first place. I am less inclined to adopt the cries of entrapment of supporters of One Nation than to refer to the laws of most states that prohibit the visual registration of a person without their consent in a private act or state of undressing.

Turning a prostitute to work without their consent is a violation of their right to privacy and the strengthening of the idea that the stigmatization of the "mystical" and "underground" state of sex work makes it something the public should feel authorized to contemplate.

We should, however, have the right to have information about a politician who shows angry racism and misogyny towards prostitutes. In every context – strip clubs, meeting rooms, paddocks or press rooms – Dickson's words show a level of sexism and xenophobia that we should not tolerate from any public official.

Gala Vanting is the president of the Scarlet Alliance, the Australian sex workers association.


a nation,


work place,


of the community and society,



First published

April 30, 2019 17:22:02

. (tagToTranslate) a nation (t) steve dickson (t) pauline hanson (t) sex work (t) strip club (t) labor rights (t) al jazeera (t) documentary


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.