Feeds

Oz sex trade to spank parliamentary prudes

Sex and politics do mix

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Australians are having a Sex Party – and before you all start sniggering at the back, this time they could be serious. Because depending on your point of view, this is either a cynical use of politics by an industry worried about its bottom line or the beginning of a fightback against government that has lost touch with ordinary voters.

From afar, Australia can seem to be a very repressed society. Over the last few years, headline-catching stories have included the government’s refusal to countenance an equivalent of the UK R-18 certificate for games, a host of niggling rules about art and porn and, most recently, the proposal for mandatory filtering of all internet content and the blocking of any material considered to be "unsuitable".

The odd thing, according to Fiona Patten, CEO of the Eros Association and Convenor of the Australian Sex Party is that Australians have never been more comfortable with their sexuality – or happier to pursue a policy of live and let live.

Talking to The Register, she said: "It is as though the politicians inhabit a parallel universe. Individual Australians are pretty laid back about sex. Research shows at least a quarter of adult Australians regularly purchase pornographic material. Yet the main interest of government appears to be in interfering with people’s lives.

"The real problem is that in many of our legislatures, both state and national, government is dependent on the vote of one or two independents – and over the last few years, the independents who have been getting elected have been increasingly reactionary and religious."

As an example, she named Steve Fielding, a right-wing Christian senator, elected under the Family First banner. Fiona Patten added: "He holds the balance of power and government is continually trying to keep him happy. They do this by sacrificing sex and gender issues: if it were not for senator Fielding, the government would not care less about building some grandiose internet firewall."

There probably is some self-interest involved. The Eros Association has been lobbying on issues of sexuality over the last couple of decades: it now appears to have taken the view that more can be achieved from within parliament. On Thursday, the Australian Sex Party will be launched officially at the annual Sexpo exhibition in Melbourne, where it expects to gain the 500 members required to register and contest state Upper House and Senate seats.

Is a party based on sex a serious proposition? Mainstream politicians will suggest that it is not. However, as the party’s website suggests, there are a wealth of issues that fall under their banner, and many of these are likely to resonate with the Australian public.

These include not just the obvious questions around censorship and pornography, but also a range of economic and social welfare issues as well. Further details will be available when their manifesto is published on Thursday.

There are parallels here with Ilona Staller, better known outside Italy as porn star "la Cicciolina", who was elected as a Radical Member of the Italian Parliament in 1987. Subsequently she set up and failed to win a seat for il Partito del’Amore, whose programme included legalisation of brothels and better sex education in schools.

The nearest equivalent to the Sex Party in the UK to date has been the Corrective Party, set up by "Miss Whiplash", Lindi St Clair, although that might be better described as a one-woman protest against perceived government hypocrisy. More obvious parallels are to be found in organisations such as Consenting Adult Action Network which is seeking to create a national coalition around issues which mainstream politicians are too embarrassed to tackle.

Or as one MP, who prefers to remain nameless, divulged to us recently: "There really is nothing I would object to in their principles. But when it comes to this sort of issue, those who are worried about keeping their jobs have always to think about what the Daily Mail reaction would be.

"That is why a great deal more serious debate on sex and sexual issues takes place in the Lords."

One advantage that the Sex Party has over any similar UK initiative is that Australian Senate elections take place under a proportional representation system of voting. A candidate for the Sex Party would need just 300,000 votes to be elected, and they already have a ready-made campaigning network in place, in the form of 1,000 sex shops nationwide and four million customers.

A number of Australian newspapers are regarding the future fortunes of the Sex Party as being an effective referendum on the government’s proposals on internet censorship. Whether it will have any usefulness beyond that single issue remains to be seen. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?