A 43,000 signature-strong petition against conversion therapy practices has been sent to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other national leaders.

Health Minister Greg Hunt, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Deputy PM Michael McCormack were also sent the petition which was organised by Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) survivors.

“Trying to “Pray the Gay Away” nearly killed me,” the petition, started by Chris Csabs, reads. “I’m not the only one.

“I was so ashamed and guilt-ridden that I remained completely celibate for years.”

Morrison already came under fire earlier today for saying he sends his children to private schools to avoid Safe Schools, and later refused to take a stance in response to the petition, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

“It’s not an issue I’m focused on at all,” Morrison said on 3AW.

“I think people should make their own choices about their own lives. I’ve never been involved in anything like that, I’ve never supported anything like that.

“It’s just not an issue for me, and I’m not planning to get engaged in the issue.

“People should abide by the law and people should respect everybody else’s choices, faiths, sexuality, and lifestyle.”

When host Neil Mitchell pushed Morrison on the actual substance of the petition, which seeks to outlaw a deeply harmful and torturous practice, he responded with a bizarre deflection.

“Mate, I respect people of all sexualities, I respect people of all religions, all faiths.

“I love all Australians, and what I sometimes get frustrated by is when people say they love Australia but they don’t seem to love Australians very much,” Morrison said.

“Well you love all Australians, but you didn’t like gay marriage?” Mitchell replied.

Morrison shot back, “Well what’s that got to do with me not loving all Australians?”

Earlier this year, the Victorian branch of the Liberal Party tried to push for increased access to conversion therapy, which was defended as “free speech” by Hunt.

Labor indicated it may move to ban conversion therapy practices if elected, a move condemned by the Australian Christian Lobby, whose conferences have featured Morrison as a speaker.

LGBTI Australians have noted banning conversion therapy as their top political priority in a survey conducted by just.equal and PFLAG.

The SOCE Survivor Statement contains a list of recommendations to the government, and was included as part of the petitions. You can read the full statement here: http://socesurvivors.com.au/

If you haven’t yet signed the petition, you can do so here: http://change.org/EndGayCures

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