This video was played at a Fundraising event for Touching Base to celebrate the inauguration of our 5 new Patrons. Unfortunately the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG, even though supposedly retired - is still a hectically busy man, especially with his recent work as the chair of the UN Human Rights Committee reporting into human rights violations in North Korea. This sadly dragged him away from us on the day. Although Touching Base can’t trump the UN Security Council, Michael Kirby did find time to let us pre-record his Keynote Address at his chambers so he could share his thoughts with us on this special occasion.
In his speech, Michael Kirby draws upon his experiences as a gay man, to talk about the similarities he can see in the way discrimination and stigma impact on people at a deeply personal level. He also describes how he sees the path of sex worker rights reflecting the progressive nature of law reform for gays and lesbians around the world. Michael Kirby also makes it clear that in his mind any moves to criminalise either sex workers or their clients are doomed to fail to eliminate the sex industry. He promotes the full decriminalisation of sex work as best practice, as identified by UN AIDS in their 2012 report, and Michael Kirby denounces the "Swedish Model" which criminalises the client.
We will be providing a transcript of this speech as soon as possible.