AUSTRALIA—The Land Down Under is in many ways becoming the world’s sexual petri dish. Two facts that go a long way to defining the conflicting nature of Australia’s attitude toward sexual expression are that it is the first Western democracy to seriously consider filtering otherwise legal adult content at the ISP level while also being the home to the world’s only officially recognized political party with sex in its name, The Australian Sex Party.
In between those two extremes one can find a myriad of sex- and porn-related stories such as those contained in this week’s Aussie Sex Tales. First up is the case of the air traffic controller suing over being subjected to porn at work.
While ostensibly a sex discrimination case, a $1 million federal lawsuit filed by air traffic controller Kirsty Fletcher alleging bullying and sex discrimination by her employer, Airservices Australia (ASA), is being called a test case that will determine whether a woman can sue under the Federal Sex Discrimination Act after being exposed to male colleagues viewing computer porn at work.
According to the Herald Sun, Fletcher says her career was ruined by “a ‘boy's club’ mentality that saw her manager regularly email pornography to fellow air-traffic controllers who viewed it in her presence.”
ASA has responded that the actions were not widespread and that the offending manager has since been fired. However, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, Fletcher also was sacked by ASA in July of this year for an “irretrievable breakdown.” Fletcher was pregnant at the time of her termination, and also has alleged that she was denied training opportunities because of the pregnancy.
"I no longer have my career, I no longer have any security . . . it's extremely hard and I wish it hadn't come to this," said Fletcher yesterday outside a federal court.
The case, which will continue Oct. 13, appears to be focusing on whether ASA allowed a “culture” of sexual discrimination to exist. As part of the investigation into that claim, the court has ordered ASA to deliver to the court any pornographic content that was involved in the Fletcher situation. Fletcher’s attorney compared this case to other cases in which female co-workers were able to bring discrimination claims against employers who allowed porn posters or centerfolds to be exhibited at work.
Another lawsuit brought by an Australian woman takes an altogether different tack with respect to sex and her employer. In this case, the woman is suing her government employer for compensation after being injured while having sex during a business trip. The on-the-clock escapade with a male friend had no connection to her job whatsoever, but the unnamed woman, who works for ComCare, the Australian government's workplace safety organization (irony alert!), argued that she should be compensated for injuries incurred during the 2007 incident because it took place “during the course of her employment."
ComCare originally rejected the claim, which prompted the lawsuit.
“During sexual intercourse,” Time reported, “a glass light fitting tore from the wall above the bed and struck her face. She is claiming physical injuries to her nose, mouth and a tooth, as well as ‘a consequent psychiatric injury.’”
Though facially absurd (not the injuries, but the alleged lawsuit), the woman’s lawyer has made a strong argument that suffering such injuries on a business trip “is no different than slipping over in the shower or being bashed by a gang of thugs,” and that injuries sustained from “work-related drinking or socializing have been compensated.”
The case is also being heard in federal court.
The last of this week’s Aussie Sex Tales has to do with the crackdown on illegal brothels in Greater Dandenong, which is a suburb of Melbourne. According to local news reports, police and Greater Dandenong Council inspectors have collaborated to shutter two illegal brothels in the area over the past 12 months and another three in the past five years.
Though undertaken by law enforcement, the investigations and closures received the support of a group called the Australian Adult Entertainment Industry, which, according to its website, “seeks to represent the interests of Licensees and pending Licensees of legal brothels in Victoria.”
In response to the closure of the illegal Victoris brothels, a AAEI spokesperson, William Albon, said, “With the police involvement we can hope to see a halt to the activity of organized crime, a halt to tax evasion and avoidance, a stop to the abuse of women and the migration laws ... a removal of the threat to the community of the spread of infectious disease via the unsafe sex practices the illegal brothels peddle.”
Albon said that dozens more illegal brothels exist, but that finding and closing them can be a challenge because they tend to rent premises and thus can move more quickly than legal ones.
Check back soon to AVN.com for another installment of Aussie Sex Tales.