Kathleen Maltzahn

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Kathleen Maltzahn
Kathleen Maltzahn.jpg
Kathleen Maltzahn
Personal details
Born (1966-09-18) 18 September 1966 (age 48)
Morwell, Vic
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Greens
Domestic partner Helena Maher
Residence Fitzroy North
Occupation Politician
Website [1]

Kathleen Maltzahn (born 19 September 1966) is an author and campaigner against both trafficking and sex work. She is a former councillor for the City of Yarra, was the Greens candidate for the state seat of Richmond in the 2010 Victorian state election, and is again their candidate for Richmond at the 2014 state election.


Maltzahn was born in Morwell, Victoria.

Maltzahn attended high school in Melbourne’s inner-east, and completed her Higher School Certificate (HSC) in 1984. She commenced study at the University of Melbourne the following year, and completed her Bachelor of Arts in 1988, returning in 1996 to undertake a postgraduate diploma in women's studies.[1]

After returning to Australia, Maltzahn founded Project Respect, an organisation committed to opposing both trafficking and sex work, and campaigning for the introduction of the Swedish model of regulating sex work in Australia.[1][2]

In 2008, Maltzahn authored Trafficked, a book opposing trafficking and sex work, published by University of New South Wales Press.[3] In 2008, Trafficked was shortlisted for a Human Rights Award by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission in the Literature Non-Fiction Category.

Maltzahn was the executive director of Women’s Health in the North from 2007 to 2010 – an organization in Melbourne’s Northern metropolitan region that works to improve women's health[4] – from which she resigned in 2010 to campaign full-time as the Greens candidate for the seat of Richmond at the upcoming state election.[1]

Political career[edit]

Local politics[edit]

Maltzahn served as a Greens councillor on the City of Yarra from 2004 to 2008. During her tenure, she chaired council’s Disability Advisory Committee (2004–08), Bicycle Advisory Committee (2006–08), Finance and Human Services Committee (2007–08), and instigated and chaired council’s Male Sexual Violence Prevention Policy Working Group.[1]

In 2008, Maltzahn stood as the Greens candidate for Deputy Lord Mayor of Melbourne City Council, alongside fellow Green Adam Bandt, who was running for the office of Lord Mayor. Bandt and Maltzahn finished second behind winner Robert Doyle.

State politics[edit]

On July 3, 2009, Maltzahn was preselected as the Victorian Greens candidate for the state Legislative Assembly in the inner-Melbourne seat of Richmond.[5] She won 28.44% of the vote, a swing of 3.76% from the previous election.[6]

Relationship between Maltzahn and sex workers[edit]

Maltzahn has been criticised as "ill-informed" by the Victorian Sex Industry Network, who say "It is clear... that she hasn't talked to local sex workers".[7] Maltzahn has claimed that she believes "the sale of sexual services should be criminalised", but is a long-time campaigner for the Swedish model, which criminalises many aspects of sex work and is widely opposed by sex workers around the world.[8][9] The former head of the national peer sex workers' lobby group, Scarlet Alliance, has written that Maltzahn's enthusiastic support for "forced rescue" raids and interventions during her time on Yarra Council were "dealt upon the migrant sex workers without any actual prosecutions or measurable outcomes.[10] The Australian wrote that Maltzahn "wants to take the regulated prostitution industry and make it illegal again, as it was in the 1950s".[11]

At the Feminist Futures Conference in Melbourne 2011, several sex workers protested Maltzahn's speech. The sex workers turned their backs on Maltzahn and held up signs reading 'Kathleen Maltzahn supports laws that harm sex workers' - alluding to her support of greater police powers to enter sex workers' workplaces and to criminalise their clients.[12]

The Australian Sex Party have been sharply critical of Maltzahn's views on the sex industry; in a response to a defence of Maltzahn by another Greens member, sex worker and candidate Christian Vega wrote that that the Swedish model "ignores the mountain of evidence produced by academics around the world as well as within Sweden itself, that demonstrates how ineffective and harmful the legislative framework is." The Sex Party subsequently specifically targeted Maltzahn's seat over her views on sex work in the 2010 state election and preferenced Labor ahead of the Greens in the Victorian Legislative Assembly by-election for the seat of Melbourne on July 21, 2012 which caused The Greens a narrow loss.[13][14]


In 2004 Kathleen Maltzahn was awarded an RMIT Research Award, with Dr Sallie Yea, for ‘Countering Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation in Australia’.

In 2005, she was awarded the inaugural Dame Phyllis Frost Award from the National Council of Women of Victoria in recognition of her work as an anti-trafficking campaigner.[1]



External links[edit]