Image: Health Jenny Mikakos, Premier Daniel Andrews and Equality Minister Martin Foley announcing a ban on conversion therapy at the Victorian Pride March on Sunday February 3, 2019
Premier Daniel Andrews has announced that Victoria will become the first state in Australia to ban conversion therapy.
Andrews, Minister for Equality Martin Foley and Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos made the announcement at the 2019 Midsumma Pride March in Melbourne on Sunday February 3.
"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," Andrews said.
"This bigoted quackery that masquerades as healthcare, the notion that any gay Victorian is broken and needs to be fixed...that's such a hurtful, wrong and frankly an absolutely disgraceful way to approach what should be about inclusion and acceptance and valuing people just for who they are," he said.
The 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.
Work on the proposed legislation will begin immediately and will include a mix of civil and criminal laws and educative measures. These will be determined in consultation with community groups, survivors and faith-based organisations. The legislation is expected to be presented to parliament next year.
Equality Minister Martin Foley said "The Health Complaints Commission's report points to some deep seated, well entrenched practices here.”
"We want to make sure we don't push those practices to the fringe of society and underground, so getting this right is actually quite the complex process."
The Labor Government has also given in principle support for counselling and support services for survivors, with a tailored package to be developed.
“We’ll drag these practices from the dark ages and into the brightest of lights. We’ll put an end to the suffering and help survivors to heal,” Andrews said.
“And we’ll send the clearest message of all: Here in Victoria, not only are you good enough — you’re worth celebrating.”