The Australian Labor Party will ban sexual conversion therapy if they win the next election. The promise comes after it was revealed last week that the Victorian Liberal Party State Council was set to debate allowing doctors to "offer counselling out of same-sex attraction or gender transitioning to patients who request it.” The debate was cancelled after Liberal State President Michael Kroger intervened to shut the issue down.
Victoria is the only state in Australia that bans the discredited and unethical practice of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation.
Last Tuesday, Federal Liberal Health Minister Greg Hunt said he and the government don’t support conversion therapy whilst defending the right of the Victorian Liberal Party to debate changing the law so it can be used.
National Party Leader and acting PM Michael McCormack was asked at the National Press Club last Thursday for his opinion on gay cure therapy. “I will be perfectly honest ... I have not really looked into it enough to really make a view on it one way or the other,” he answered.
“I certainly will, but it’s not something that I have really explored.”
He said the issue is “important for those people that it affects” but said the people in his electorate are “more interested in making sure there are jobs there, making sure there’s downward pressure on the cost of living.”
Shadow Health Minister Catherine King told the Age on Saturday that Labor will ban gay conversion therapy across Australia if it wins the next election.
“Gay conversion therapy is discredited and dangerous,” she said.
“As the federal shadow health minister, I urge all jurisdictions to follow Victoria’s lead and ban gay conversion therapy.”
"If this issue isn't resolved before the next election, and I'm lucky enough to serve as health minister afterwards, it'll be a personal priority for me."
King criticised Hunt for his response to the issue, saying “Greg Hunt was willing to lead a national process to ban dodgy cosmetic surgeons – why not gay conversion therapy? The minister either supports conversion therapy, or he’s kowtowing to the extreme right of his party at the expense of LGBTI Australians.”
A Fairfax Media investigation revealed last month that conversion therapy is practised in Australia by evangelical churches and ministries and is available through online courses.
Victims of conversion therapy spoke to the ABC about the horrific abuse they suffered, including having electroshock therapy administered to their testicles, being given drugs to make them throw up while watching porn and attending spiritual counselling to “pray away the gay.”