CW: This article references queer conversion therapy.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has announced that he supports a ban on conversion therapy, a harmful practice which attempts to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The announcement, which occurred on the opening day of Sydney World Pride, comes days after State Opposition Leader Chris Minns announced his party’s support for a conversion therapy ban.
The announcements mean that regardless of which party forms government following the 2023 election, a ban on conversion therapy would be likely to pass parliament.
Conversion therapy causes serious trauma to survivors and is severely damaging to their mental health.
Independent MLA for Sydney, Alex Greenwhich, has stated that support for a ban on conversion therapy would be a condition for his support in a minority government which looms as the possible outcome of the upcoming election.
Greenwich’s proposed bill to ban conversion therapy would make someone found guilty of attempting to change or suppress another person’s sexuality or gender identity liable to between five and ten years jail. Neither major party has committed to retaining the bill without further consultation with survivors and other stakeholders.
Greenwhich’s bill also contains provisions which would allow churches to express a belief or religious principle as long as it is “not intended to change or suppress that person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Perrottet told the Sydney Morning Herald, “when the parliament returns, my government will provide in-principle support for legislation that brings an end to any harmful practices.”
Minns described conversion therapy as “dangerous and damaging” in his announcement, referencing the ongoing harm caused by conversion therapy, which a La Trobe University report found was “pervasive among faith communities.”
Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Change Efforts co-founder Chris Csabs said in a statement, “as the NSW election approaches, we welcome the Premier’s announcement and the newly formed bi-partisan commitment to ending LGBTQA+ conversion practices in this state, once and for all.”
Conversion therapy has already been banned in Victoria, the ACT and Queensland, and will soon be banned in Western Australia.