A decision by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal in favour of the sex worker has perplexed hotel and motel owners, who fear they may no longer be able to control who stays in their establishments or what guests get up to while there. While activities in hotel rooms are generally a private matter, as they should be, the prospect of prostitution being run from hotels could, arguably, deter other guests.
The case involves a motel in the Queensland mining town of Moranbah. Its owners are reportedly considering an appeal after the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruled that they had breached the Anti-discrimination Act by denying the sex worker a room.
The tribunal heard that the woman had stayed at the motel 17 times in two years. In 2010, however, the property’s owners found she was bringing clients to her room and consequently banned her from staying.
The sex worker took legal action but lost her anti-discrimination case last year. She appealed successfully last month, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reported. The paper said the woman’s lawyer argued that many people used the telephone or internet at the motel for business, and a bed was no different.
The Accommodation Association of Australia (AAA) is concerned that the ruling robs hotel and motel owners of the right to refuse guests who might disturb others.
AAA chief executive Richard Munro said the body had yet to digest the judgement and it was difficult to pass comment specifically, as the ruling might be subject to appeal.
But he said the right to decide who was able to stay in tourism accommodation businesses should lie with the owner, operator, licensee or manager of the business.
“The owner, operator, licensee or manager needs to preserve the amenity of the establishment for the benefit of all guests to ensure their tourism experience is enhanced by their stay.
“Should it be necessary once we have examined the judgement in detail, the Accommodation Association will seek to have further discussions with both the Queensland Government and the Federal Government about issues that it may raise.”
Written by : Peter Needham