The Victorian Government has declared that it will set up "tolerant zones" for street prostitution in the Melbourne suburb of St. Kilda. The red light district will allow clients to take street workers to taxpayer-funded brothels. Public money will be used to establish the sex worker centres.
Attorney-General Rob Hulls has refused to rule out placing the sex zones in residential centres. The opposition leader Denis Napthine described the move as an attempt to legalise prostitution.
Of real interest were the comments made by Mr Hulls regarding the radical new proposal. He said, "You can bury your head in the sand over these issues and take this 1950s, white picket-fence, myopic view of the world that if you shut your eyes, street prostitution will go away. Or you can look at innovative solutions to minimise the harm that’s occurring."
A lot of questions spring to mind here. Is he actually suggesting that prostitution has only been viewed as a social evil during the 1950s? Is he actually saying that the institutions of marriage and family are just decades old? Is he actually saying that all societies at all times have embraced prostitution while scorning marriage and family?
It seems that it is Mr Hulls who has an extreme case of myopia, and a politically correct case of it as well. His ideological blinders have allowed him to run rough shod over history, and in the process he has managed to offend millions of families where marriage is taken seriously and prostitutes are not part of the regular menu.
The truth is, Mr Hulls’ harm minimisation approach to prostitution, like the Bracks’ government approach to drugs, is a failed policy. In both cases the government throws up its hands and says, people will always do drugs or use prostitutes, so why try to stop it? One might as well argue that people will always steal, rape and murder, so why bother to stop it?
The only correct part of Mr Hulls’ comments is his acknowledgment that harm is occurring. Prostitution is not good for men, women, or society, and taxpayers should not be footing the bill for such bizarre examples of social engineering.
Indeed, as Herald Sun columnist Paul Gray wrote, "What the government is determined to do is impose yet another important social policy change that will help further remake the Victorian community in its own radical image."