The Australian Sex Party has thrown its hat in the ring to contest the federal seat of Higgins, taking a swipe at Greens candidate Dr Clive Hamilton for supporting a national internet filter.

Sex Party convenor Fiona Patten announced last week she would stand for the lower house seat at next month’s by-election on a platform of sex education reform, gay marriage, and opposition to the Rudd Government’s proposed internet filter.

“I hope the gay community will support us — we certainly have very clear policies about gay rights,” Patten told Southern Star.
Patten said although the battle will be uphill, Hamilton’s candidacy had prompted her decision to run.

“Clive Hamilton has been such a proponent of the Government’s internet filter we felt he needed to be challenged on that issue,” she said.

The Government’s current filter proposal is based on a 2003 report by Hamilton which suggests internet filtering as a way to prevent children being exposed to online pornography.

Patten said the Greens had “lurched strongly to the right” socially in choosing Hamilton as their candidate.
“Clive and I have been rivals since he released that report.

“I think [the filter] should be anathema to every Australian — everyone in the world would think it’s outrageous that a government should control our internet.”

Patten, who heads up the adult retail and entertainment industry body, the Eros Association, said although the Sex Party and the Greens are virtually aligned on GLBT issues, the Sex Party differs in its economic outlook.

“In a way we’re differentiating ourselves from the Greens, I think we come from a small business background, which I hope is more attractive to the gay community as well.”

Although the blue-ribbon Liberal seat will be hard to win, Patten said she believes the electorate has changed.

“It’s a much more diverse community now than it was when the Liberals first took this seat many years ago, so we felt it was time that maybe someone who wasn’t an Anglo-Saxon, Christian, white man in his 50s, heterosexual, had a go at representing this diverse community.”

The ABC’s political pundit Antony Green has tipped the Liberals as likely to retain Higgins.

Kelly O’Dwyer will contest the seat for the Liberal Party, with a swing of 7.1 percent required against her for the party to lose.
Nominations for the seat closed this week.

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