By Gerard Henders | The Australian August 29 2014

Phillip Adams’ Confusion

What a wonderful Late Night Live on Radio National on Wednesday 27 August. Here’s how Phillip Adams’ little wireless program was described on ABC Radio National’s program notes:

Sex in the internet era

The internet has transformed the way in which the adult entertainment industry works. To a large degree, prostitution has moved online, but is the sex industry a safer place to work, and is there any role for the government left to play in trying to restrict internet sex?

The concept of prostitution moving online gives new meaning to the word “virtual”. Fortunately LNL presenter Phillip Adams had the assistance of Josie Delap (The Economist’s home affairs correspondent) and the super Aussie sheila Fiona Patten (founder of the Eros Foundation).

Highlights of the conversation included:

A discussion about the Swedish Model

Phillip Adams: Fiona, I want to look at Sweden. It’s a country where the sex laws are — to say the least — interesting, as a certain young man in an Ecuadorean Embassy could attest. Tell us about the so called Swedish Model.

Fiona Patten: Yes, well it’s an interesting model. They’ve decided to say that sex work itself is legal or decriminalised. So it’s quite legal to have sex with someone for money. But it’s illegal to pay anyone for sex. So, the client —

Phillip Adams: [interjecting] I’m sorry, would you run that past me

Fiona Patten: [laughter] That’s right. So quite legal to have sex for money —

Phillip Adams: [interjecting] I’m just writing this down, it’s legal to have sex for money

Fiona Patten: [continuing] but illegal to pay someone.

Phillip Adams: It’s illegal. Well, yes, that’s perfectly clear.

It is, in fact. In Sweden you cannot buy sex — but you can sell it.

A discussion about whether the Swedish Model would work in Australia:

Fiona Patten: And unfortunately, I mean, we’re seeing this [Swedish] model being touted in Australia where we’ve actually probably been very progressive in comparison to the rest of the world in recognising sex work as just that — work.

Phillip Adams: [interjecting] Well, The Greens in Victoria are calling for the Swedish Model —

Fiona Patten: That’s right. This may become an election issue in Victoria. A number of Greens members have called for the Swedish Model, in bed with the Australian Christian Lobby. So, it — sex work, the emotion of sex work — does seem to create interesting bed fellows, as it were.

Phillip Adams: Stop making these terrible puns. They’re worse than mine.

That would be hard — considering your man Adams’ constant puns.

A discussion about Malcolm Turnbull:

Fiona Patten: The interesting thing with Australia though, with the internet, is that because many of our laws around sex work were set up prior to the internet — and because of Australia’s record at being so pathetically bad about internet regulation — technically it’s illegal for a Victorian sex worker to use the internet to advertise. And if she does use it she can only show her face, which basically is probably not the body part that most sex workers want to promote their business with.

Phillip Adams: [interjecting] Well, you’ll have to talk to Malcolm Turnbull and sort that out.

Presumably Adams was referring to Mr Turnbull in his capacity as Minister for Communications — but this was not made clear.

After Josie Delap concluded the discussion on “which sheets stand up to washing best”, the ABC’s Man-in-Black concluded:

Phillip Adams: Look, on that technical note, we should take our leave. Look, Josie and Fiona thank you very much for your time … On our next David Marr — who’s an absolute libertarian on matters sexual. We’re talking about the state of free speech in Australia, and we’ll also have Bea Campbell on a very serious issue of the Irish abortion controversy. That’s pretty much the lot. I will talk to you again in 23 hours.

From Phillip Adams and Fiona Patten to Phillip Adams and David Marr and on to Phillip Adams and Bea Campbell. Your taxes at work in Australia’s Conservative-Free-Zone.