Newsletter April 2023

Touching Base Newsletter April 2023

Here’s our latest news from the team at Touching Base.

New Touching Base Constitution now active

The new Touching Base Constitution – as approved by members at our AGM last year – is now active (having been recently approved by NSW Dept of Fair Trading). You can find our new Constitution on the About Us page of our website as a Word doc or PDF.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

Two smiling Touching Base volunteers dressed in red with large trees in the background Touching Base was pleased to have some of our key volunteers march with the PWDA Mardi Gras float this year. Here’s a photo of Carla (our admin officer on right) and Marlee (one of our referral officers) looking fabulous in the marshalling areas before the march began.
Mardi Gras photo kindly shared by Carla Stevens





Some other Touching Base members marched with the Scarlet Alliance / SWOP NSW float.
We are pleased that everyone had such a great time and stayed safe.Here’s a photo of the sex worker float gathering before the march.
We have scattered other photos from this year’s Mardi Gras through this newsletter.Mardi Gras photo kindly shared by SWOP NSW
A lot of sex workers and supporters dressed in red in a large group facing the camera. They are holding a sign saying Blow Jobs are real jobs







Registrations now open for our next ONLINE Service Provider Awareness Training (SPAT) 

Our next online SPAT workshop will be held Friday 19th May & 26th May 2023, 1pm – 4pm AEST (NSW).

Our Online SPAT Workshop is aimed at service providers and support staff to allow them to explore the issues they may face when assisting people with disability to access the sex industry.

Registrations close when the course fills up or 19th May – so don’t delay if you’re interested in attending.

Professional Disability Awareness Training (PDAT) ONLINE

We are thrilled registrations for our PDAT online workshop in March 2023 were quickly filled by sex workers already on our workshop notification waiting list. With a build up in demand, we anticipate a similar early rush when we open up registrations for another PDAT workshop in early June.

Evaluations have been overwhelmingly positive for our online workshop format. We are most grateful to our training Coordinator Emma Softly for all her dedicated work to make this transition to online training such a huge success and her recent work developing our new PDAT Alumni Forum!

Mardi Gras photo kindly shared by PWDA

Introducing our new PDAT Alumni Forum

Have you previously attended a Touching Base Professional Disability Awareness Training (PDAT) workshop?

Connect, network and skill-share with like-minded peers in Touching Base’s new PDAT Alumni online forum! 

PDAT Alumni gives you access to:

  • a peer-only online discussion forum,
  • an online video library and other resources to support you providing services to clients with disability, and
  • training updates from Touching Base.

Done the PDAT workshop but are not a member yet?
ou must also be a current Touching Base member to join the PDAT Alumni.
Go to

To join the PDAT Alumni, visit
Any questions, contact our Training Coordinator Emma:

NDIS and sex services 

Latest news

After consulting our members Touching Base made a 22 page Submission to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme – inquiry into Capability and Culture of the NDIA last December. Our submission details the history behind the present situation with the NDIS and sex services – including problems caused after previous NDIS Ministers and CEO’s repeatedly tried and failed to ban NDIS funds being used to pay for sex services (and sex toys) – leading up to current and ongoing issues.

Touching Base made eight recommendations, including co-design of specific policy and person centred guidelines (to overcome prohibitive staff attitudes), the protection of personal sensitive information, training for frontline staff in supporting sexual expression and relationships and repeating a sector wide call for the co design of a broader NDIS relationships and sexuality policy.

People with disability in wheelchairs and others dressed in red, all marching with the PWDA Mardi Gras float with signs with the words I love you We are pleased our straight-talking submission has been published under Parliamentary privilege on the Joint Standing Committee’s webpage for submissions to this inquiry. Please note that the Touching Base submission number is 123.
Mardi Gras photo kindly shared by PWDA




Update on Sexual Consent Laws Across Australia

Affirmative consent

In 2022 the NSW, ACT, and Victoria governments implemented affirmative consent laws. Last year a major report called on the Queensland government to introduce similar laws. The Western Australian Law Reform Commission is due to provide advice to the government on enacting affirmative consent laws by mid-2023. Such laws have been in place in Tasmania since 2004.

As the NSW Law Reform Commission explains, the affirmative consent model or standard “recognise a person’s consent only when they communicate it clearly through their words or actions”. The NSW affirmative consent laws acknowledge that “consensual sexual activity involves ongoing and mutual communication, decision-making and free and voluntary agreement between the persons participating in the sexual activity”.

Affirmative consent is, as Pro Bono News reports, about actively seeking consent, essentially rewording the old ‘no means no’ – to only a ‘yes means yes’.   Some people with disability in their wheelchairs are wearing red ourfits and carrying signs showing the wrods - Our Love Is Equal Too, We're Perfect As We Are and Queer and Disabled Proud and Loud. Some other people wearing red and colorful clothes are in the foreground and background

                  Mardi Gras photo kindly shared by PWDA








Harmonising consent laws                                                     

Late last year the Federal Senate referred an inquiry into current and proposed sexual consent laws in Australia to a parliamentary committee. One aspect of the will be on “inconsistencies in consent laws across different Australian jurisdictions”, the operation of these laws, and “any benefits of national harmonisation”.

The inquiry follows a campaign championed by Grace Tame for Australian governments to “to adopt the same definitions of consent”. As the committee recognises, piecemeal changes to laws across Australia have led to the affirmative consent standard being “expressed differently across the jurisdictions.”

The committee will release its report by 30 June 2023.

Buy wine and support us at the same time!

Goodwill Wine sources quality boutique Australian wines and donates half of the profits to charities and non-profit organisations. By selecting Touching Base when you order, we get your donation and you get awesome wine.

In fact, the wines are so good they come with a money-back guarantee. The Age describes them as “seriously good” and Gourmet Traveller Wine says they’re “quality boutique wine”. Which means you can get great wine, while supporting a great cause. Cheers to that!

That’s all from us for now


Touching Base endorses The Uluru Statement from the Heart and acknowledges First Nations as the traditional custodians of country throughout Australia, their diversity, histories and knowledge, and their continuing connections to land and community. As Australians all, we respect our nation’s First Peoples, their cultures, and Elders of past, present and future generations.