By Rachel Payne

2018: A Reflection of Achievements

This year has certainly gone by quickly, which is indicative of a busy year for the Eros office. Upon reflection of our ‘wins’, I can confidently say that we have managed to gain some tangible benefits for members, as well as positive outcomes on many of our campaigns. So to reflect, Over the last year Eros has….

Obtained High Ranking Support in the Fight Against Financial Discrimination

Do you remember back in January when I was on ABC radio national program ‘Drive’ with Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell and long-time Eros member Be Daring’s Keith Boswell? It certainly continued the trajectory of a very successful campaign in the fight against financial discrimination – still largely the biggest problem members report experiencing today. This followed on from the release of Eros’ financial discrimination report detailing the broad brush discrimination inflicted on adults-only businesses, and led to a plethora of supportive media calling out the banks on their behaviour. Having the Ombudsman as well as reputable media on side really built momentum for this campaign, and resulted in a handful of banks reviewing their discriminatory policies, as well as paved the way for the likes of Afterpay and Zippay to reconsider offering service provisions to our industry.

Secured Afterpay and Zippay for Adult Retailers

It may have taken a little over six months of negotiation and providing proof that adults-only retail businesses are just like any other retailer, however we managed to secure Afterpay, and more recently Zippay, for members. This service has been received positively, with members reporting it is of real benefit to their businesses and bottom line sales.  Exclusively offered to Eros members, it shows the financial service provider that you are a professional business who is represented by an industry association, as well as providing customers with flexible payment options.

Developed Ethical Standards for Adult Media

As part of its role in developing best practice standards for the Australian adult industry, in 2018 the Eros Association developed a series of production standards for adult media.

The standards were developed through consultation with members of Australia’s small but award-winning adult media industry, with data collected via an online survey where standards were put to producers, directors and performers in the industry for comment. Twenty-nine members of the industry participated in this process.

Template wording for adult media standards were developed taking inspiration from overseas production codes including those put forward by the US Adult Performer Advocacy Committee’s Performer Bill of Rights. These template standards were then fleshed out further through collaboration with a small team of industry representatives.

This was a conscious move on Eros’ part to work more closely with adult media performers and producers in outlining the ethical practices of the vibrant Australian industry as well as creating positive working relationships in an effort to one day encourage reform of adult media content and creation.

Fought unfair TGA bans

With the shocking announcement of the TGA proposal to reschedule alkyl nitrates as a prohibited Schedule 9, Eros has worked closely with gay activist groups, the media and adult retailers to inform a submission for consideration. The proposed rescheduling would place alkyl nitrates in the same category of drugs of dependence, such as heroin, and would severely increase criminal penalties for sale and possession. In this edition of the New Eros Journal you will find Eros’ position on this proposal as well as the detailed submission.

Drafted Australia’s First Recreational Cannabis Policy

Preparing for the potential emerging recreational cannabis market in Australia, it made sense that Eros would be at the forefront of what that may look like for adults-only businesses.  As such Eros created a recreational cannabis policy that took into consideration best practice guidelines from overseas models, as well as what would be of most benefit to small businesses locally. We would like to continue to develop and grow our understanding of this market, and what benefit it may be to the adult industry.

Created working groups

Over the last year Eros has created three working groups made up of Eros board members, staff, industry professionals and members – focusing on developing ideas for campaigns and policy, industry events and forums, and member engagement.  I would like to thank those who are part of these working groups for your continued time and effort, and look forward to reporting to members what discussions, campaigns and events are emerging from these groups.

Supported the regulated sex industry.

Eros began to represent a new membership base in 2018 and continuing into 2019, the regulated sex industry, namely licensed brothel owners in Victoria. The aim is to be prepared for a review of the current laws, and ensure the licensed brothel industry has a voice, and representation, when it comes to the anticipated reform of sex work legislation in Victoria.

Eros was also a key stakeholder in consultation with the ACT government in reforming sex work laws this year in the ACT.

As for plans for 2019:

Afterpay : allow in-store and online : Currently we have Afterpay accessible to online retail stores, so the next faze would be to get this service into brick and mortar stores. Zippay (the alternative service provider) have gone one step further and allowed Eros members to apply for this service in-store, however as Afterpay is the preferred option for consumers, it would be of real value to members to be able to offer both Afterpay and Zippay in-store as well as online.

Financial Discrimination cont : Some banks have not been consistent with their support of the industry, or have shifted their position, so it is important we keep in regular contact with them and influence their policy position. We would like to see that banks (such as ANZ and Westpac) maintain their position and not discriminate against adults-only businesses.

TGA and Industry Discrimination: This idea has been flagged with the Policy and Campaigns Working Group and would entail reviewing the TGA ban on many products sold in adult retail stores, and if there is a case for formal review with the assistance of a specialised consultant.

In recent weeks it has been amyl nitrates, and previously enhancement supplements, lubricants and topical applications. Many of these products are sold over the counter (no longer requiring prescriptions etc). There may be a case to put here that an adult retailer could receive certified training to sell these products – much like a responsible service of alcohol certification for a bartender. The TGA has extended its review, so the push back may have had impact?

Access to Job Service Provisions and Employment Discrimination: We will continue to work on this campaign, however in early 2019 we aim to formulate a report (like we did with the financial discrimination campaign) that outlines specific case studies, including long-term unemployed, people with disabilities, and community consultation/responses (as the government claims it is against community standards to allow adults-only businesses access to services). This will allow us to be informed, and evidence-based when approaching MPs and the media.

I would like to thank all Eros members for their continued support and encouragement over the last twelve months, and I look forward to growing and developing further with you all.