Kathleen Maltzahn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Kathleen Maltzahn
Kathleen Maltzahn 2014.jpg
Kathleen Maltzahn
Personal details
Born (1966-09-18) 18 September 1966 (age 52)
Morwell, Victoria, Australia
Political partyAustralian Greens
Domestic partnerHelena Maher
ResidenceFitzroy North

Kathleen Maltzahn (born 19 September 1966) is an Australian author, academic and long-time anti-sex work campaigner. She is a former councillor for the City of Yarra and was the Australian Greens Victoria candidate for the state seat of Richmond in the 2010 and 2014 Victorian state elections. She was the Greens candidate for Richmond in the 2018 Victorian election.

Early Life[edit]

Maltzahn was born in Morwell, Victoria. She 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]

Professional Life[edit]

Prior to entering politics, Maltzahn's roles included Interim Director of the East Timor Human Rights Centre and Founding Director of Project Respect, [2] an organization committed to supporting people in prostitution and opposing sex trafficking. In that role, she successfully campaigned for an end to the mandatory deportation of trafficked people, support services for trafficked people and better police responses. In recognition of their efforts, Project Respect has won a number of awards, [3] [4] including the Social Impact Award of the 2013 inaugural HESTA Community Sector Awards. [5] [6]

From 2007 to 2010, Maltzahn served as the executive director of Women's Health in the North (WHIN) – an organization serving the Victorian municipalities of Banyule, Darebin, Hume, Moreland, Nillumbik, Whittlesea, and Yarra to improve women's health, safety, and well-being.[7] In 2007, under Maltzahn's leadership, WHIN joined with various women's health organizations in Victoria to successfully campaign to reform Victorian Abortion Law (Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 (Victoria)). One of the ways WHIN participated in the campaign was a submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission titled "The Law of Abortion Information Paper", [8] which was then referred to in the Commission's submission to the Victorian Parliament in 2008.[9]

In 2008, Maltzahn authored Trafficked, the first book length account of trafficking in the sex industry in Australia, published by University of New South Wales Press ISBN 978-0-86840-913-9. Later that year, Trafficked was shortlisted for the Literature Non-Fiction Award of the Australian Human Rights Commission's 2008 Human Rights Awards. [10]

Maltzahn was Chairperson of the Eastern Metropolitan Region Regional Family Violence Partnership (2011-2012) and Deputy Executive Officer of the Eastern Domestic Violence Service (EDVOS) (2012-2013) where she oversaw the provision of direct services for women and children escaping violence and for advocacy in an area covering 1 million people in Melbourne’s East. Most recently, she has worked at La Trobe University researching gambling in partnership Aboriginal organisations and teaching social policy. She has lectured in social policy at a number of Melbourne universities and TAFEs.

Political career[edit]

Local politics[edit]

Maltzahn served as a Greens councillor for the City of Yarra from 2004 to 2008, where she pushed for a greater emphasis on sustainability, social justice, and curbs on overdevelopment. During her tenure, she chaired the council's Disability Advisory Committee (2004–2008), Bicycle Advisory Committee (2006–2008), Finance and Human Services Committee (2007–2008). Following the rape of a woman in May 2005 that took place only metres away from the City of Yarra's Fitzroy town hall, the council relied on Kathleen's experience and leadership to form the council's Taskforce on the Prevention of Male Sexual Violence against Women, bringing together local sexual assault services, women's health organizations, Victoria Police, and the Victorian State government to implement measures to prevent sexual violence in the City of Yarra. [11]

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

State politics[edit]

On 3 July 2009, Maltzahn was preselected as the Greens candidate for the Victorian State Legislative Assembly in the inner-Melbourne district of Richmond.[12] In 2010, she resigned from her post as executive director of WHIN to actively campaign for the 2010 Victorian state election, whereupon she won 28.44% of the vote; a swing of 3.76% to the Greens from the previous election.[13]

Maltzahn stood again as the Greens candidate for the district of Richmond in the 2014 Victorian State election, gaining another 2.9% of the primary vote and finishing within 750 votes of the Labor incumbent, making Richmond a marginal ALP-Greens seat.

Maltzahn and legal models for the sex industry[edit]

There is a range of views about the best legal model for the sex industry. Maltzahn spent many years working directly with women in the sex industry, both in Australia and in the Philippines. In her work addressing violence against women in the sex industry, Maltzahn supported the Swedish Model [14], which decriminalises the selling of sexual services and criminalises the buying of sexual services. There are a variety of views about the Nordic model: many self-described survivors of the sex industry are critical of the sex industry and support the Swedish model [15], while other sex worker organisations oppose it.

The Australian Sex Party oppose Maltzahn's views on the sex industry and subsequently targeted Maltzahn's seat over her views on sex work in the 2010 state election, preferencing Labor ahead of the Greens in the Victorian Legislative Assembly by-election for the seat of Melbourne on 21 July 2012.[16][17]

In May 2018, after the Victorian branch of the Liberal Party passed a motion in support of the Swedish Model, Maltzahn stated “If I am elected to state parliament, I will vote in keeping with Victorian Greens policy, and will vote against the Nordic model, including if the Liberal Party introduces it. I will not abstain from the vote. Their agenda is anti-women and I have spent my career fighting for women’s rights.” [18]

Maltzahn remains a controversial figure due to her stance on the issue and sex workers continue to protest against her at public events, including at the recent Greens 2018 election campaign launch.[19]


In 2004, Kathleen Maltzahn received a Research Award from RMIT University, along with Dr Sallie Yea and Georgina Costello for "Countering Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation in Australia". [20]

In 2005, she was awarded the inaugural Dame Phyllis Frost Award from the National Council of Women of Victoria in recognition of her work against trafficking. [1][21]


  • Articles in The Age, The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, The Huffington Post, The Australian, The Courier Mail, The Drum, and The Herald Sun;
  • Pleasures and Risks Associated with Bingo Playing in an Australian Aboriginal Community: Lessons for Policy and Intervention, with Richard Vaughan, Tiffany Griffin, Darlene Thomas, Raelene Stephens, Mary Whiteside, Sarah Maclean, Journal of Gambling Studies, 2018
  • Impacts of Gambling on Young Aboriginal People in Gippsland and East Gippsland, with Ashlee Robertson, Ann Briggs, Clare Haussegger, Mary Whiteside and Sarah MacLean, Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Cooperative and La Trobe University, 2018
  • Gambling in the Sunraysia Aboriginal Community: An Exploratory Study, with Richard Vaughan, Tiffany Griffin, Darlene Thomas, Raelene Stephens, Mary Whiteside and Sarah MacLean, Mallee District Aboriginal Service and La Trobe University, 2017
  • chapter in Global Muckraking: 100 Years of Investigative Journalism from Around the World, (New Press, 2014) and
  • ‘Trafficking, mental health and human rights’, with Louella Villadiego, in Mental Health and Human Rights: Vision, praxis, and courage (Oxford University Press, 2012)
  • Maltzahn, Kathleen (2008) Trafficked, Sydney, University of New South Wales Press, ISBN 978-0-86840-913-9


  1. ^ a b kathleenmaltzahn.com Archived 19 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "History". Project Respect. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  3. ^ "Project Respect highly commended in the 2012 Australian Government National Homelessness Services Achievement Awards". Project Respect. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  4. ^ "Project Respect announced as the winner of the community group category of Our Community Kookaburra Awards". Project Respect. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  5. ^ "Support group for women in the sex industry takes top national award" (PDF). communitysectorawards.com. HESTA Community Sector Awards. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  6. ^ "Hesta Community Sector Awards – Social Impact WINNER 2013". Project Respect. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  7. ^ "What We Do". Women's Health in the North. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  8. ^ "The Law of Abortion Information Paper: Submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission" (PDF). Women's Health in the North. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  9. ^ "Law of Abortion: final report (html version) Appendix F – Submissions". Victorian Law Reform Commission. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  10. ^ "Shortlists announced for Australian Human Rights Commission's 2008 Human Rights Medals and Awards". Australian Human Rights Commission. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  11. ^ "Taskforce on the Prevention of Male Sexual Violence against Women" (PDF). Australian Institute of Family Studies. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  12. ^ http://www.tallyroom.com.au/1626
  13. ^ Victorian Electoral Commission: "State Election 2010 : Richmond District"
  14. ^ "nordicmodelnow.org/category/metoo-stories".
  15. ^ "www.feministcurrent.com/2016/03/15/survivors-say-the-nordic-model-is-our-only-hope/".
  16. ^ "Rainbow battle in Richmond". Sydney Star Observer. 25 November 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  17. ^ Vega, Christian. "Supporting the Human Rights of Sex Workers: Sex Party Policy - And Damn Proud of It!". Australian Sex Party. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  18. ^ "www.greens.org.au/vic/about/statement-kathleen-maltzahn".
  19. ^ https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/gloves-off-as-state-election-campaign-turns-into-the-straight-20181027-p50cdp.html
  20. ^ "RMIT Annual Report 2004" (PDF). Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  21. ^ "National Council of Women of Victoria – About Us". National Council of Women of Victoria. Retrieved 25 November 2014.

External links[edit]