Australian Sex Party

The Australian Sex Party was an Australian political party founded in 2009 in response to concerns over the purported increasing influence of religion in Australian politics.[1][2] The party was born out of an adult-industry lobby group, the Eros Association. Its leader, Fiona Patten, was formerly the association's CEO.[3]

Australian Sex Party
LeaderFiona Patten
Merged intoReason Party
Headquarters10 Ipswich St
Fyshwick ACT 2609
Think tankEros Association
IdeologySex positivity
Civil libertarianism
Secular liberalism
Political positionCentre-left
Colours  Yellow and

Patten described the party as a "civil libertarian alternative".[4] Patten is a veteran campaigner on issues such as censorship, equality, and discrimination.[5][6] Patten was elected to the Victorian Legislative Council at the 2014 state election.

The party was briefly federally deregistered by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) on 5 May 2015, after an audit found that it could not demonstrate that it met the statutory requirement of 500 members, but was re-registered in July.[7][8]

The Sex Party was registered at state level in Victoria, where it had parliamentary representation, as well as in the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. In 2017, the party merged with the Australian Cyclists Party to form the Reason Party.[9][10]


Party leader Fiona Patten

The Australian Sex Party's policy platform has been described as libertarian and supporting equality, social justice, civil liberties and freedom of choice.[6] It is opposed to mandatory internet censorship, and supports the introduction of a national media classification scheme, including a rating for non-violent sexual content.

The ASP also supports a Royal Commission into the sexual abuse of children in Australian religious institutions, and is in favour of legalised abortion, gay rights, voluntary euthanasia, the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use along with the decriminalisation of all other drugs for recreational use.[11]

However, although this said decriminalisation, or more specifically the removal of criminal sanction, is of interest to the party, they do recommend that this is dealt with by referring one found with illicit drugs to a corresponding treatment centre.[12] Additionally, the party is also in favour of sexual rights for disabled individuals.[13] Based on the science, the Sex Party supports vaccination to protect public health and reduce the spread of preventable diseases. In a 2016 response to the Australian Vaccination-Skeptics Network's Meryl Dorey, the Sex Party stated:[14] "Choosing not to vaccinate your children amounts to medical neglect; this is a serious ethical issue".[15]

Election results

2009 federal by-elections

The party contested elections for the first time at the Higgins[16] and Bradfield[17] by-elections in November 2009, gaining over three percent of the primary vote in both seats, coming fourth of ten, and third of twenty-two candidates, respectively.[18]

2010 federal election

The party contested six of 150 House of Representatives seats and all states and territories (except Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory) in the Senate at the 2010 federal election. Receiving more than 250,000 first preferences, the party won 2.04 percent of the national Senate vote.[19] After the major parties and the Australian Greens, the Sex Party during the vote count were "neck and neck" with the Family First Party for the fourth place in the national Senate vote.[20] The party "outpolled several more prominent minor parties and came within about 10,000 votes of Family First for the Senate in Victoria".[21] After the party's first federal election contest, Patten claimed that the Sex Party was "now the major minor party in Australian politics":

We’ve polled better than the Greens did in their first federal election and believe that our vision of Australia as the most socially progressive country in the world is equal to the Greens environmental messages of 20 years ago.[22]

Whilst the Sex Party did not win any seats, their preferences were substantially beneficial to the Greens who won a Senate seat in every state for the first time.[23][24]

2016 Federal election

For the 2016 federal election the Australian Sex Party fielded Senate candidates in every state and territory as well as two candidates in New South Wales and four in Victoria for seats in the House of Representatives. In several states, the Sex Party only fielded one senate candidate, teamed up with the Marijuana (HEMP) Party to share a column on the ballot paper.[25]

2016 Australian Capital Territory general election

The Australian Sex Party ACT contested the 2016 Australian Capital Territory general election, with lead candidate Steven Bailey receiving 7.9% of the primary vote in the Brindabella electorate.

Victorian state elections

In addition to fielding candidates in a number of Victorian Legislative Assembly seats, the party stood candidates in all regions of the Victorian Legislative Council after their initial election in 2010. In 2014 the party succeeded in having its first candidate elected to the council with the election of Fiona Patten in the Northern Metropolitan Region. She was returned in 2018.

Election Eastern Metro Eastern Victoria Northern Metro Northern Victoria Southern Metro South Eastern Metro Western Metro Western Victoria Number of seats won
2010 - - 3.60% 3.80% 3.20% - 4.70% -
0 / 40
2014 2.05% 2.49% 2.87% 3.27% 2.43% 2.67% 2.70% 2.50%
1 / 40

Victorian state by-elections

Election Candidate Vote share Year
Broadmeadows Merinda Davis 5.00% 2011
Niddrie Amy Myers 8.10% 2012
Melbourne Fiona Patten 6.56% 2012
Lyndhurst Martin Leahy 8.40% 2013
Polwarth Meredith Doig 6.00% 2015

Northern Territory

The party stood candidates in 5 electorates for the Northern Territory elections, 2012

Fong Lim Johnston Nightcliff Port Darwin Sanderson
3.00% 4.20% 1.90% 5.10% 4%

Australian Capital Territory

The party stood candidates in 3 regions at the ACT elections, 2016

Election Brindabella Murrumbidgee Yerrabi
2016 7.90% 3.50% 4.00%

Parliamentary actions

In 2015, Patten put forth a Private Member's Bill calling for a 150-metre (490 ft) "Safe Access Zone" around hospitals, GP clinics and health services that perform abortions, where it will be an offence to engage in behaviour that harasses or intimidates women seeking to access an abortion.[26] The Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Safe Access Zone) Bill 2015 formally passed the Victorian Legislative Council without amendment.[27]

Patten introduced another Private Member's Bill in 2016, calling for the regulation of ride-sharing apps such as Uber. The Ridesharing Bill 2016 gained support from both the Daniel Andrews Labor government and the opposition led by Matthew Guy.[28][29]

In 2016, the Sex Party renewed its call for religious institutions to pay more state-based taxes, and to overturn long-standing exemptions.[30]

The Australian Sex Party's close links with the adult industry lobby group, the Eros Association, led some people to see the party as its political wing.[31][32]

The party had some involvement in the preferencing deals organised by Glenn Druery's Minor Party Alliance.[33][34]


  1. Bennett, Lucy (17 November 2008). "Australian Sex Party launches on Thursday". The Australian. Archived from the original on 18 December 2008. Retrieved 15 March 2008.
  2. "Sex flirts with politics", Herald Sun, 16 November 2008.
  3. "Eros".
  4. Gardiner, Ashley (15 November 2010). "Sex Party hopes to make history and win an Upper House seat in state election". Herald Sun.
  5. "People Trafficking, Human Security and Development". Australian National University. 29 August 2004. Archived from the original on 18 February 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
  6. Syvret, Paul (8 December 2009). "Australian Sex Party a dark horse in federal politics". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
  7. "Australian Electoral Commission: Australian Sex Party". 10 August 2015.
  8. "Sex Party Rises Again". Australian Sex Party. 24 July 2015. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015.
  9. "The Australian Cyclists Party Closes (and promotes alternative broad issue party)". Bicycles Network Australia. 4 September 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  10. Preiss, Benjamin (22 August 2017). "Australian Sex Party to become the Reason Party". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  11. "Australian Sex Party Federal Policies". Australian Sex Party. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  12. Australian Sex Party. "Australian Sex Party - Federal Drug Policy". Australian Sex Party. Archived from the original on 28 November 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  13. ASP. "Australian Sex Party - Federal Equality Policy". ASP. Archived from the original on 9 September 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
  14. Kimmorley, Sarah (16 May 2016). "The Australian Sex Party wrote this devastating response to an anti-vaccination campaigner looking for support". Business Insider. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  15. Austin, Darren (May 2016). "ASXP responds to vaccination skeptics". ASP (Press release). Archived from the original on 15 May 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  16. "Parliament 'needs a sex party': The Australian 6 November 2009". Archived from the original on 9 November 2009.
  17. "Pole dancer aims for Nelson's old seat", The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 October 2009.
  18. "Virtual Tally Room", Retrieved on 2010-10-21.
  19. First Preferences for the Senate - 2010 federal election: AEC Archived 1 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  20. "Australian Sex Party does well Archived 11 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine",, 24 August 2010.
  21. "Australian Sex Party picks up votes", Herald Sun, 24 August 2010.
  22. "Sex Party Now The Major Minor Party in Australian Politics Archived 27 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine", Sex Party website, 23 August 2010.
  23. "Greens win seats in every state", The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 August 2010.
  24. "2010 election Senate preference flow results", ABC
  25. "Candidates for the 2016 federal election". Australian Electoral Commission. 12 June 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  26. "Victoria looks certain to ban protesters from picketing abortion clinics". ABC News. 1 September 2015. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  27.  This article incorporates text available under the CC BY 3.0 AU licence.
  28. "Uber in Victoria: Sex Party MP holds 'productive talks' on deal to regulate ride-booking service". ABC News. 21 June 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  29. Kalache, Gloria (22 June 2016). "Uber regulation: Victorian Government strikes deal with Sex Party over ride-sharing legislation". ABC News. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  30. Preiss, Benjamin (13 March 2016). "Time to end tax exemptions for religious groups: Sex Party". The Age.
  31. Tyler, Meagan (31 July 2012). "Political party or lobby group? The dark side of the Australian Sex Party". The Conversation. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  32. Swan, Robbie (20 August 2009). "Industry association forms Sex Party". Third Sector (Australia). Archived from the original on 26 May 2016. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  33. Bormann, Trevor (5 September 2013). "Bitter dispute erupts over Senate preferences in Queensland". ABC News (Australia). Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  34. Wood, Alicia (5 September 2013). "Alliance of micro parties boosts odds for likes of One Nation or Shooters and Fishers gaining Senate spot through preferences". The Daily Telegraph (Australia). Retrieved 1 January 2015.


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