Lesbian Greens candidate for Richmond Kathleen Maltzahn has a fight on her hands, and it’s not simply to battle for the inner city seat, currently within striking distance.
The Trafficked author – a book about the trafficking of women for prostitution in Australia – is being attacked by the Australian Sex Party for her ‘hardline’ position on the sex industry.
Sex Party convenor Fiona Patten told the Star Observer the Sex Party was against Maltzahn’s stance on regulating the sex industry.
“She’s advocating what’s know as the Swedish model which decriminalises sex work itself, but criminalises the purchase of it,” Patten said.
“We are a very sex-positive party … and we believe if people want to have sex for money, there is nothing wrong with that. I am concerned about a more fundamental feminist push within the Greens, and I feel like Kathleen is an example of that.”
Maltzahn – who served as a Yarra Councillor from 2004-2008 and advocated for the rights of trafficked women – said she was not concerned about opposition from the Sex Party.
“I’m really proud of my record,” Maltzahn said. “[In Council] I moved a law that if you are a victim of sexual slavery, a crime against humanity, this is where you get help.
“If the Sex Party wants to attack me for stuff like that, I’m not sure people in the community will back them, and my question to them is, what are they doing about those women?”
A preference deal by the Liberals which places the Greens last on their ballot may have hampered Maltzahn’s chances of winning the seat – held by Labor’s Richard Wynne by a 3.65 percent margin – however recent polls show the Greens are still in the race for Richmond.
Showing his ‘pink’ credentials, Wynne recently added his voice to the viral online campaign, It Gets Better, but has yet to follow Education Minister Bronwyn Pike’s lead in supporting same-sex marriage.
The seat is also being contested by Peel Hotel owner Tom McFeely for the Liberal Party, Sex Party candidate Angela White and Socialist Stephen Jolly, who spoke out against the ban on same-sex marriage on the weekend as well discrimination same-sex attracted youth face in schools.
Jolly called high suicide rates for same-sex attracted youth “a national disgrace”.
Clarification (25/11): Although sitting Labor MP Richard Wynne hasn’t been as vocal as Education Minister Bronwyn Pike on the issue of same-sex marriage a report in The Age (in July) indicates he is in support. Click here