Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has used his first major speech as Nationals leader to declare he has no view on so-called conversion therapies for LGBTI people.
“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,” McCormack yesterday told the National Press Club, The Guardian has reported.
Homophobic and transphobic ‘conversion’ therapies have condemned by numerous bodies including the United Nations and the Australian Psychological Society.
Conservative branches of the Victorian Liberal Party had proposed a motion calling for more access to anti-LGBTI counselling for children, but it was this week shut down by the state president.
McCormack appeared to play off the importance of the issue, saying people were “more interested in making sure there are jobs there, making sure there’s downward pressure on the cost of living”.
He said he was uninformed on anti-gay therapy because he had only been in the deputy job “a little over six weeks”.
McCormack has a long-standing interest in LGBTI issues, having penned a series of editorials in the 1990s during his time as a newspaper editor.
He then called gay people “sordid” and “unnatural”, blamed them for the AIDS crisis, and called for mandatory HIV testing.
Since entering politics he has repeatedly apologised for the columns.
Advocates raised concerns about McCormack’s views on LGBTI people when he became Deputy Prime Minister in February.
“I have grown and learnt not only to tolerate but to accept all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, or any other trait or feature which makes each of us different and unique,” McCormack said last year.