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Simon says – Inspections? Who needs them?

By johnboy - 9 November 2008 24

Buried deep in yesterday’s print Canberra Times was a strange little story in which Simon Corbell said he was satisfied (“comfortable” even) with health and safety in Canberra’s brothels, despite no inspections being conducted in the last four years.

Even four years ago those were not surprise inspections, the only sort which matter.

How Simon can be so sure the industry has been sticking to standards in the long years since the last official inspection I leave as an exercise for the reader’s imagination. (please, let’s not see it in the comments, thank you)

Bear in mind this was brought on by the death in September of Janine Cameron. She was 17 and died in a brothel of a drug overdose. Suggesting some major systemic failures in our regulated sex industry. Simon Corbell, however, trusts his four year old inspections implicitly.

Today in the Canberra Times the Greens and Vicki Dunne are up in arms over this failure.

Looks like the Assembly will be flexing its new muscles and having a poke around the sex industry.

What’s Your opinion?

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24 Responses to
Simon says – Inspections? Who needs them?
Gungahlin Al 7:38 pm 09 Nov 08

Curious that the Sunday Times article starts by explaining that the Greens have raised these concerns, then goes on to spend most of the rest of the article quoting Vicki Dunne’s thoughts on the matter.

dexi 7:29 pm 09 Nov 08

Bassman said :

Particularly as the sex industry is renowned for drug abuse and under-age girls.

What are you basing your claim that the sex industry is renowned for under-age girls? Its famous for many widely held misconceptions, but I think under-age girls in Canberra is not one of them.

Bassman 6:48 pm 09 Nov 08

4 years since the last inspections??? And they weren’t suprise inspections??? I thought that nothing this government does (or fails to do) would suprise me anymore, but I am appalled.

Absolutely appalled.

Particularly as the sex industry is renowned for drug abuse and under-age girls.

bd84 5:50 pm 09 Nov 08

I think it’s the Stanhope government’s motto.. something about no need for compliance inspections or law enforcement.

You can hardly blame the office of regulatory services when they’re only funded for 2 or 3 inspectors and the police who are funded to a level of officers way below the average officers per population of any other state or territory. The lack of funding promises shows little looks like it will change anytime soon, even with the “new” government.

imhotep 5:20 pm 09 Nov 08

Thumper said :

“Can the Greens make a difference? Let us wait and see…”

I agree Thumper. This is an excellent chance for the Greens to flex some muscle and force a complacent government to do some useful work.

It might also earn the Greens some brownie points from those of us who are a bit dubious about them.

Given the tragedy of this girl’s death, who wouldn’t support closer regulation of the brothel industry?


Thumper 4:50 pm 09 Nov 08

Ahhhh, trend, that would be 😉

Thumper 4:49 pm 09 Nov 08

Well, Canberra, and that means you, yes you over there, voted this government in.

Suck it up. They’ve never been responsible for anything and it seems the trand will continue.

Can the Greens make a difference? Let us wait and see…

The cat did it 4:32 pm 09 Nov 08

This looks like a dead-easy issue for the Greens to take a stand on, to get an early boost to their ‘responsible government’ cred. Unless there are deeper explanations that haven’t been aired yet, Simon looks like he’s covering up/explaining away inadequate discharge of the ACT Government’s responsibilities. Fumbled issues like this can allow the Greens to be seen to be setting agendas- something the ALP would surely want to avoid.

Even if the person concerned presented fake proof of age ID, if it’s known that such people may be provided with fake ID by interested parties, then the government needs to set the proof of age bar a bit higher. And have some surprise inspections (or are they too worried about encountering a visiting politician or two?). If the Greens take Simon to the cleaners on this one, he’s a dope for handing them the opportunity.

Granny 3:19 pm 09 Nov 08

Simon, do the right thing. That is all.

pptvb 2:51 pm 09 Nov 08

This comes under the Office of Regulatory Services.
They seem to have a few newly marked vehicles driving around town.
They also “regulate” the security industry, apparently.
I have held a Security Master Licence for 5 years now, since it’s inception.
I have never heard of any “regulating” in the industry. About 1/3 of the industry are operating unlicenced.
Every time I enquire of the Dept. as to what they are doing to enforce the licencing legislation, I’m told the compliance officers are too busy chasing underage drinking.
Funnily enough, talking to the Liquor Licence Holders, they can’t get rid of inspectors.
They call a couple of times a week!
Apparently the few busy compliance officers cover all areas within the Dept.
I have had the Director of Fair Trading lie to my face regarding their control of the security industry, so their lack of control in other areas doesn’t suprise me one bit.

Pandy 2:34 pm 09 Nov 08

Or else someone is being bribed?

Ian 2:09 pm 09 Nov 08

Seems very much like “don’t tell me, don’t show me, I just don’t want to look under that rock” by Simon.

Seekay – wonder if thats because only in Canberra are they are significant enough market share that they can’t afford to take a principled stand on it.

I-filed 12:53 pm 09 Nov 08

Pardon me for repeating my own comment from another thread, but it warrants the eye of the Greens in the context of this new post …

All the relevant ACT Government authorities have been made fully aware over the years of an ‘intellectually mild’ sex worker in the Bruce side of Belconnen who has openly run an illegal, unregistered brothel out of her government flat since 2002. The ACT Government is fully aware that she hires one or two other girls at various times, but is also unregistered as a solo operator. She operates both at her flat and visits clients. The proceeds go into pokie machines rather than on heroin. She is not addicted (other than a severe addiction to gambling) but keeps her girls on drugs. She is on the full disability pension, due to her ‘intellectual impairment’ (which hasn’t prevented her excellent small business turnover!), and she is charged the minimum ACT Government rent on her flat, despite a consistent, regular income of at least $4000 a week, that the authorities know about. She takes no OHS precautions and is a risk to clients, herself and her ’employees’. She has been reported to the minister, ACT Housing, the community advocate, ACT Police and Centrelink several times since 2003. She is still advertising in the Times every week under the same pseudonym and mobile number. There has been no official investigation into her, no attempt to regulate her, no assistance or health instruction provided – despite lessons that should have been learned from the HIV male prostitute last year.

seekay 12:43 pm 09 Nov 08

One interesting thing… The other Fairfax broadsheets, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, don’t carry brothel and escort ads. The Canberra Times does.

Pandy 12:06 pm 09 Nov 08

having a poke around the sex industry

Hope they are wearing protection.

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