A reader called me today to say that I had missed a media story I have long tracked, that of students turning to prostitution. And so I had. It’s rarely genuinely news – rather, it’s a story sold to the media to advance a political agenda. I wrote about the research reported in this story in June last year. But Rose Jackson, President of the National Union of Students, does manage to put a new twist on it:
I’m well aware of international students who have moved into sex work to support themselves while they’re studying here in Australia and I think that’s a pretty poor indictment [sic] on us as a country supporting students who have come here to study.
You know what she means. But why is it an indictment on Australia? Surely if there is anything wrong going on here it is a reflection on the people who arrived in Australia to study without adequate money to cover their costs, and not on the country? After all, they knew the rules and there are plenty of other places they could have chosen for their studies. But in Ms Jackson’s world, people are never responsible for their actions, the rest of us are.
Interestingly, the sex workers reported in these stories are generally far more level-headed than the people trying to exploit them politically. As reported on ABC radio last Friday:
Sex worker Rebecca says that as well as the lucrative financial returns, sex work gives students the flexibility that they need to study.
REBECCA: In terms of students, I think that