1989 – Scarlet Alliance officially formed

Julie Bates and friends outside the Australian Capital Territory’s AIDS Action Council in 1988
Julie Bates and friends outside the Australian Capital Territory’s AIDS Action Council in 1988, celebrating the securing of federal funding for the Sex Industry and AIDS Debate 1988, which resulted in the formation of Scarlet Alliance. (Photo attributed to Julie Bates.)

A key outcome of the Sex Industry and AIDS Debate 1988 was a clear mandate to create a national sex worker advocacy association.

In 1989, Scarlet Alliance was officially formed and initially incorporated, utilising a governance structure consisting of President, Vice President, Secretary, Financial Officer and Ordinary member. Scarlet Alliance successfully lobbied the Federal Government for a coordinator whose position included acting as an information ‘clearinghouse’ for sex worker organisations, using a variety of pre-Internet communication strategies.

Until the early 2000s, Scarlet Alliance did not receive core federal funding, and was drip-fed project funding. However, the organisation had strategically developed itself into an expertise on Sex Industry Venue Occupational Health and Safety issues, arguing that the provision of legal and labour rights within a decriminalised environment were essential in the response to HIV/AIDS.

 

(Background/archival material (pdf, 11 pages): “Sex workers as safe sex advocates: sex workers protect both themselves and the wider community from HIV“, by Julie Bates and Rigmor Berg.)