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Church to fight sex laws in WA

The Catholic Church will fight the State Government in Western Australia over decriminalisation of prostitution.

Archbishop Barry Hickey said the church could not accept prostitution as a legitimate occupation and would do all it could to stop the proposed softening of WA's containment law.

The Labor Government is close to finalising sweeping changes to existing legislation, including licensing brothels and prostitutes.

"There is no set of circumstances in which prostitution can operate in harmony with the principles of a decent and well-ordered society," the archbishop said. "There has been ample evidence collected around the world over the past century or so to demonstrate that prostitution harms all who participate in it.

"It perverts personal and social development and makes normal human relations impossible . . . and drives many young women to drugs and other forms of self destruction."

The church is seeking the following:
* The closure of all brothels.
* The banning of sex industry advertising.
* Greater powers for police to tackle organised prostitution.
* The maintenance and enforcement of streetwalking legislation.
* Support for groups helping prostitutes wanting to leave the industry.

A spokesman for Police Minister Michelle Roberts said proposed changes to prostitution legislation were going through the final draft stage and would be released for comment soon.
Perth Sunday Times