This political history of the sex industry in Australia since World War II cogently presents all sides of a complex and changing debate. It looks at how prostitution and pornography are regulated, and how debates about them are produced. Sullivan examines statutes, parliamentary debate and legal discourse, moving beyond standard descriptions of the case for and against increased regulation. Looking at the broader societal context, she traces changing attitudes to what is normal and abnormal sexual conduct, using examples from newspapers, novels, films and demographic statistics. The book presents a number of cases that highlight questions of censorship and of literature vs pornography. It also critiques debates about prostitution and pornography that have been central to feminism. Broad in scope, the book extends from prohibition to the present period of legalised prostitution and pornography.
"In The Politics of Sex, Bararba Sullivan debate about the regulation of sex in the latter part of the twenieth century in Australia...Sullivan had made a very useful contribution to scholarship and manages at time to hold a conversation with those in the "political arena." Law and History Review, Summer 01