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Conference paper
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Abstract: Sex work and the operation of brothels in Perth (WA) remains an 'illegal' activity. Despite this, brothels manage to continue to operate in the Perth metropolitan area, with most 'formal' brothels located within the inner city-suburban ring. In recent years, there has been a rise in the presence of 'discrete' brothels, i.e. so-called therapeutic massage parlours that are alleged to offer sexual services. The growing presence of brothels and other on-sex premises appears to have prompted a political rethink about the legal status of brothels. In the last 5 years or so the State government, initially under Labor, and more recently under the current Liberal/Nationals government, have sought to legalise and regulate brothels. However, both sides of politics have adopted relatively different political and policy stances on the most appropriate way to regulate brothels. This paper considers, first, the historical and contemporary geography of brothels in Perth and policies/legislation that sought to control such activities in the past. Next, the politics and policy solutions of the current Liberal State government and previous Labour government are examined to identify the socio-spatial and moral discourses underpinning efforts to regulate brothels in Perth/WA. In particular, the role of planning in regulating brothels is central to this analysis.

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