Q&A With Fiona Patten: Victory for the Sex Party
With a name like “The Australian Sex Party” it stands to reason that such a political organization would grab attention, raise eyebrows and in some cases be the target of scorn and criticism by conservative do-gooders and moral zealots.
But Australia’s maverick civil liberties political party embraces its moniker and has withstood the slings and arrows for more than six years, remaining steadfast in its cause for individual freedoms, separation of church and state, support for legal marijuana, voluntary euthanasia, and the adult industry in Australia and around the world.
And its hard-fought battles recently yielded success that according to Party founder and President Fiona Patten has finally made it a major political force in Australia, winning a huge victory in the recent Victorian state elections by gaining two Parliament upper house seats.
The Party recorded its best ever result in its recent election campaign, and in addition to sexual and personal freedom, ran on a wide spectrum of social and economic life including 24-hour public transportation and better tax breaks for small businesses.
Patten took a well-deserved break from running the Party to talk to XBIZ and reflect on her organization’s success, the future, and her continued fight as a champion of adult causes.
XBIZ: How long have you been the front person for the Australian Sex Party?
PATTEN: I founded the party in late 2009 and have been the President since then. At the same time I’ve also been the CEO of Australia’s adult industry association, the Eros Association. I’ve run in two federal elections and two state elections. In 2013 I missed out on winning an Australian Senate seat because of a botched preference deal and my partner, Robbie Swan, missed out on winning a Senate seat by only 245 votes, so we were on the edge of breaking through somewhere after four years.
As of last month, I am now a member of the Victorian State Parliament. I will also be on a couple of influential parliamentary committees. In the future, when we have more people elected I do hope to take on more senior roles in government. At the moment I am pretty pleased just to be elected.
XBIZ: What impact will your win have on the people of the state?
PATTEN: The vagaries of the Australian political system mean that the government will need my support for just about every piece of legislation that they wish to pass into law. This gives us the opportunity to “negotiate” and get the government’s support for our progressive agenda. With the possible exception of Cicciolina in Italy, I think my election is the first time that someone from the adult industry, fronting a registered political party, has won public office. I’m hoping it will encourage industry people around the world to become more political and forming political parties based on personal freedom and other concepts that have been cemented in adult industry politics.
XBIZ: What legislation do you think will be enacted as a result of your newly elected representatives?
PATTEN: Voluntary euthanasia and drug law reform would be the first two. If I can get marijuana legalized and dying with dignity in the next four years I will be very, very satisfied. However we also want to get X-rated films finally legalized, anti-discrimination laws in place that protect people in the adult industry, tobacco sales from restricted premises only, taxing the church at the same rate as other businesses and state recognition of gay marriage.