The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has put a stake in the ground over conversion therapy, launching a petition calling on Labor not to ban the practice.

The ‘Parental Rights’ tab on the lobby group’s website now leads to a page emblazoned with the words ‘You Won’t Believe Labor’s Latest Attack On Parents’ Rights’.

The ACL hits out at Labor over the consultation draft of the party’s platform, which is to be debated at their National Conference in December.

Labor’s proposed platform “contains some radical, extreme material”, the website says.

“We can see the party is seeking to launch an extraordinary attack on people of faith and parents’ rights.

“The documents states: ‘Labor opposes the practice of so-called conversion and reparative therapies on LGBTIQ+ people and seek to criminalise these practices.’

“This is shocking stuff,” the ACL claims.

“It means that if your son comes home one day from his Labor-sponsored ‘Safe School’ and tells you he wants to become a girl, you must support that decision and attempt to facilitate it.

“Discouraging your son from transitioning to a girl, arranging for prayer or counselling to affirm his biological gender would be a criminal offence and domestic abuse under a Labor government,” they allege.

Earlier this year, Labor’s Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King indicated the party would move against anti-LGBTI conversion and reparative therapy practices.

She cited the Australian Medical Association’s official position that the practices have “no medical indication and represent[s] a serious threat to the health and human rights of those so treated.”

The ACL’s director Martyn Iles suggested the group would “soon be speaking out against these Orwellian policies” to ban, and in Victoria’s case potentially prosecute, conversion therapy.

“‘Safe Schools’ and Labor’s proposed criminalisation of counselling that affirms biology are just another attack on the rights of parents who don’t want to see their kids brainwashed by Labor’s rainbow brigade,” the petition reads.

“Under Labor’s proposed new laws, Christian parents will become criminals and domestic abusers simply for affirming that their sons are boys and their daughters are girls.”

It’s notable that the ACL’s rhetoric around harmful conversion therapy practices are now chiefly about gender and entirely ignore their application to sexuality.

The group’s petition is aiming for 30,000 signatures, and has currently racked up a little over 19,000 towards that goal.

Earlier this week, a just.equal and PFLAG survey indicated that banning conversion therapy is the top policy priority for LGBTI people.

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