Pornography and Australia's Sex Discrimination Legislation: A call for a more effective approach to the regulation of sexual inequality.
In the case of Horne & Anor v Press Clough Joint Venture & Anor ('Horne'),' the Western Australian Equal Opportunity Commission recognised that the prolific display of pornography in a male dominated workplace amounted to sex discrimination and victimisation by the women's employer and trade union. The case is an example of how a sex discrimination approach to the regulation of pornographic harm allows women to take action aganst the discrimination pornography causes, while educating the public against discriminatory behaviour that, like pornography is gender based. This paper argues that these objectives can be further enhanced if the anti-pornography civil rights ordinances, drafted by American Law Professor Catharine A. MacKinnon and feminist writer Andrea Dworkin, are enacted into Australian law by way of amendment to existing sex discrimination legislation. As well as specifically recognising pornography as central to maintaining women's inequality in society, the ordinance provides a greater range of remedies to women harmed by pornography. These remedies allow women, such as the women in Horne, to obtain damages from those responsible for forcing pornography upon them, as well as their employers and trade unions. The ordinance also enables women to sue the makers and distributors of pornography, as well as to obtain injunctive relief to require the removal of pornography in the workplace.
Evans, M. (2006). Pornography and Australia's sex discrimination legislation: A call for a more effective approach to the regulation of sexual inequality. University of Notre Dame Australia Law Review, 8, 81-106.