Victorian Labor Government to make ‘Conversion Therapy’ against the law

Rainbow ChurchThe Andrews Labor Government will bring in laws to denounce and prohibit LGBTI conversion practices, ending the bigoted practice that has caused so much trauma to too many Victorians.

Premier Daniel Andrews joined Minister for Equality Martin Foley, Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos and many other Labor Government Members at the 2019 Midsumma Pride March to celebrate the huge contribution LGBTI Victorians make to our state.

“So called ‘conversion therapy’ is not therapy at all. It is a harmful, prejudiced and discredited practice – and soon it will be against the law,” said Premier Andrews.

Conversion ‘therapy’ is any practice or treatment that seeks to change, suppress or eliminate an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The Australian-first ban follows an extensive investigation into conversion practices by the Health Complaints Commissioner (HCC), who found those subjected to it experienced long-term psychological harm and distress.

The HCC recommended legislation be introduced to clearly and unequivocally denounce conversion practices and prohibit them in law – a recommendation the Labor Government has accepted in full.

“I thank the Health Complaints Commissioner for this important piece of work,” said Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos. “These practices have caused long-term psychological harm and we won’t waste a minute protecting Victorians from this abhorrent practice.”

The Labor Government has also given in principle support to funding counselling and support services for survivors, and will work on developing a comprehensive and tailored package of supports for survivors.

Since being elected in 2014, the Labor Government has invested more than $60 million in initiatives that make our community fairer and more equal for LGBTI Victorians. This includes $15 million towards Australia’s first Pride Centre, $4 million in grants for LGBTI community organisations and leaders, and $5.3 million to support LGBTI people experiencing, or at risk of, family violence.

The Labor Government also established Victoria’s first Gender and Sexuality Commissioner, delivered adoption equality legislation and made an historic apology to Victorians convicted for homosexual acts.

This nation-leading equality agenda will continue this term with $3 million to establish Victoria’s first LGBTI Homelessness Grants Program, $2.5 million to boost LGBTI family counselling services and a major new Melbourne Pride event in 2021, to mark the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Victoria.

Development of legislation to denounce and prohibit conversion practices will begin immediately, and will include extensive consultation with survivors, the LGBTI Taskforce and community and faith-based organisations.

“Conversion practices have caused untold trauma to too many Victorians – who were made to feel ashamed for who they were and who they loved,” said Minister for Equality Martin Foley. “We’re banning these practices forever and for good.”

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