Kathleen Maltzahn

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Kathleen Maltzahn
Kathleen Maltzahn 2014.jpg
Kathleen Maltzahn
Personal details
Born (1966-09-18) 18 September 1966 (age 51)
Morwell, Victoria, Australia
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 Australian author and campaigner against 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 and 2014 Victorian state elections.


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]

Pre-political career[edit]

Prior to entering politics, Maltzahn founded Project Respect in 1998,[2] an organisation committed to opposing the sex industry. 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 organisation serving the Victorian municipalities of Banyule, Darebin, Hume, Moreland, Nillumbik, Whittlesea and Yarra to improve women's health, safety, and wellbeing.[7] In 2007, under Maltzahn's leadership, WHIN joined with various women's health organisations in Victoria to successfully campaign to reform Victorian Abortion Law. 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, a book opposing trafficking and sex work, published by University of New South Wales Press.[10] Later that year, Trafficked was shortlisted for the Literature Non-Fiction Award of the Australian Human Rights Commission's 2008 Human Rights Awards. [11]

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 (2004–08), Bicycle Advisory Committee (2006–08), Finance and Human Services Committee (2007–08). Following the violent rape of a woman in May 2005 that took place only metres away from the City of Yarra's town hall, the council relied on Kathleen's experience & 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 organisations, Victoria Police, and the Victorian State government to implement measures to prevent sexual violence in the City of Yarra.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14]

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 a thousand votes of the Labor incumbent.

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".[15] 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.[16][17] 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.[18] The Australian wrote that Maltzahn "wants to take the regulated prostitution industry and make it illegal again, as it was in the 1950s".[19]

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.[20]

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 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 21 July 2012 which caused The Greens a narrow loss.[21][22]


In 2004 Kathleen Maltzahn received a Research Award from RMIT University, along with Dr Sallie Yea (RMIT) and Georgina Costello (Barrister & Human Rights lawyer), for a project titled 'Countering Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation in Australia'.[23]

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][24]



  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. ^ Maltzahn, Kathleen. (2008). Trafficked. Sydney, New South Wales., University of New South Wales Press. ISBN 978-0-86840-913-9
  11. ^ "Shortlists announced for Australian Human Rights Commission's 2008 Human Rights Medals and Awards". Australian Human Rights Commission. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  12. ^ "Taskforce on the Prevention of Male Sexual Violence against Women" (PDF). Australian Institute of Family Studies. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  13. ^ http://www.tallyroom.com.au/1626
  14. ^ Victorian Electoral Commission: "State Election 2010 : Richmond District"
  15. ^ http://www.scarletalliance.org.au/Reviews/vixen_0607/
  16. ^ McMahon, Stephen (25 August 2010). "Greens candidate Kathleen Maltzahn's plea on prostitution". Herald Sun. 
  17. ^ Kathleen Maltzahn [@KPMaltzahn] (31 August 2010). "@FakeSheilaJeff @jasonball88 @ElenaJeffreys @Ruminski Yes, I support the Swedish model - I've long been clear about that" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  18. ^ Jeffreys, Elena. "Sweden no model for sex laws". onlineopinion.com.au. Retrieved 21 July 2014. 
  19. ^ Fitzgerald, Ross (7 November 2009). "Steamed voters may turn to Sex for relief". The Australian. 
  20. ^ http://pugpolitics.wordpress.com/tag/melbourne-feminist-conference/
  21. ^ "Rainbow battle in Richmond". Sydney Star Observer. 25 November 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2014. 
  22. ^ Vega, Christian. "Supporting the Human Rights of Sex Workers: Sex Party Policy- And Damn Proud of It!". Australian Sex Party. Retrieved 21 July 2014. 
  23. ^ "RMIT Annual Report 2004" (PDF). Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  24. ^ "National Council of Women of Victoria – About Us". National Council of Women of Victoria. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 

External links[edit]