While on an airplane a couple of weeks ago, Pete and I read the following in The New Zealand Herald:
“Australia’s hotel industry has been rocked by a court’s ruling that a prostitute had been 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 had thought they had a right to decide what sort of businesses were operating from their premises.”
We just looked at each other and shook our heads in disbelief.
It turns out that prostitution is legal in the Australian state of Queensland* and discrimination against lawful sexual activity is prohibited by law. On a related note, prostitutes have been streaming to Outback mining towns, where they are settling temporarily in order to cash in on an Australian mining boom fueled by the Chinese demand for raw materials.
The unidentified plaintiff was seeking A$30,000 in damages. (The Australian and U.S. dollars are nearly on par, with the U.S. dollar worth a smidge less.) She was quoted as saying, “Not everyone would choose to do the job I do, but it’s not right that they can treat me like a second-class citizen…”
I’m still pondering this and trying to decide how I feel about it. What do you think?
* Author Bill Bryson talks about Queensland in his book In a Sunburned Country and how the inhabitants are an unusual breed unto themselves. He described them as “mad as cut snakes” and went on to illustrate a few of their idiosyncrasies and quirks. If you haven’t read this book, I encourage you to do so.
Have you entered my book giveaway yet?