The Australian Sex Party (ASP) has made a late entry into the NSW election but will run candidates as independents in the seat of Sydney and the Legislative Council.

ASP convenor Fiona Patten said the party had tried to register in NSW 16 months ago but had been caught out by the state’s electoral laws, which were “very well designed … to keep smaller parties out of the running”.

She said Sydney was a natural choice for the party to mount its first NSW state campaign.

“It’s been the home of the adult industry and it’s where we’ve seen more police raids on adult businesses than anywhere else in NSW,” Patten said.

“We’d like to see Sydney, like any other international city, operating 24 hours a day, and with a full-time member rather than a part-time one.”

In Sydney the party is running retired police officer Andrew Patterson.

Patterson, a former vice squad detective sergeant and chief investigator for the Independent Commission Against Corruption, said he was concerned about the erosion of civil liberties in NSW.

“I joined the Sex Party because of my experience as a police officer, seeing how civil liberties are gradually being eroded and how police are increasingly being used to police morality rather than actual crimes,” Patterson said.

“I’ve had a lot of exposure to the corruption that exists in NSW both in the government and public sector and I’m a firm believer that corruption at the government and bureaucracy level is not only bad but sooner or later civil liberties are going to be trampled on because of it.”

Patterson said he would like to see a shift in the way drug use was managed in NSW.

“I’ve always held the view that the personal use of drugs should be a health issue,” Patterson said.

“We are creating criminals unnecessarily out of the people who choose to use drugs.

“At the end of the day, adults should be able to put into their bodies what they choose to put into them. Where there are problems in terms of their drug use then those people belong in hospitals and clinics, not in police stations and courthouses.”

In the Legislative Council the party is running 23-year-old physics student Huw Campbell whose name will appear with around 200 other independents.

Patterson and Campbell told the Star Observer they would “absolutely” support Greens legislation to legalise same-sex marriage under state law, if elected, and both opposed religious exemptions in the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act.

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