CANBERRA, Australia, August 13, 2012 ( – A motel in Moranbah, a coal mining town, was told Wednesday by the Queensland state Civil and Administrative Tribunal that it could not ban a prostitute from doing business in their motel rooms.

The woman, identified as G.K., used Drover’s Rest Motel as her base for prostitution 17 times over the course of two years before the owners discovered what she was doing. When they found out, they banned her from staying at the motel.

G.K. called this discrimination and took her case against the motel to the tribunal, but lost last year, after which she appealed the case.


After the appeal, the tribunal informed the motel’s lawyer, David Edwards, that they sided with the right of the woman to operate out of the motel.

Prostitution is legal in Queensland and the law prohibits discrimination based on lawful sexual activity.

Richard Munro, chief executive of Accommodation Association of Australia, said laws should change to give hotel and motel owners the right to decide whether or not to allow prostitution to take place on their premises.

“It’s absolutely illogical,” Munro said. “If a hairdresser decided to set up shop in the motel and started inviting people in to get their hair cut, I think the motel owner would have the right to say, `Hang on, that’s a different business operating out of my business.’”

“If a prostitute decided to start working out of a shopping mall, the owners would have something to say about it. There is some protection for the rights of the motel owner here,” he said.

Janelle Fawkes, CEO of Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association, said the ruling “is a big win for sex workers throughout Australia because it sends a very clear message that this kind of systemic discrimination will not be tolerated.”
The prostitute is asking for damages of 30,000 Australian dollars.

Munro also argued that prostitution should not be allowed at motels because there may be minors on the property.

Edwards said he may appeal the ruling.