The Coalition has take a firmer federal stance against conversion therapy just a day after Prime Minister Scott Morrison deferred the issue to the states.

Morrison yesterday responded to Labor’s announced policy to ban conversion therapy by saying he would prefer to “focus on the things we actually have control over”.

“I don’t support gay conversion therapy, don’t recommend it, never have but it’s ultimately a matter for the states,” Morrison said.

“I think we should focus on the things we actually have control over and that’s taxes. I’m looking to lower taxes.”

The Coalition’s response to Equality Australia’s survey of the major parties on LGBTI issues took a firmer stance against sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE), better known as conversion therapy, than did Morrison.

“As the Prime Minister has said, the Morrison Government does not support LGBTIQ+ conversion therapy,” wrote Liberal Party Federal Director Andrew Hirst in response to the survey.

“The use of conversion therapy has long been discredited with no scientific or medical evidence to support its use.

“The Morrison Government remains committed to addressing the mental health of all Australians, including the LGBTI community, and this also relates to opposition to gay conversion therapy.

“The Government will work with the states, which have legal responsibility in this area, to ensure such practices are not supported or occurring.”

In response to a question asking parties to “commit to removing all LGBTIQ+ refugees from offshore detention”, Hirst declared that “there is no one held in detention offshore”.

“Regional processing is one of the three pillars of the Coalition’s strong border protection policies and re-elected Morrison Government will continue to maintain this policy,” he wrote.

The Australian Labor Party’s response also reaffirmed their intention to continue offshore processing if elected.

Hirst also reiterated the Coalition’s deferment on the matter of religious exemptions in anti-discrimination laws, saying that the matter is in the hands of the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC).

“The ALRC inquiry is designed to ensure that legislative exemptions to discrimination based on a person’s identity are limited or removed, while also protecting the 2 right of religious institutions to conduct their affairs in a way consistent with their religious ethos,” Hirst said.

The Labor Party has committed to removing religious exemptions from the Sex Discrimination Act, and also pledged to create an LGBTIQ Ministerial Advisory Council as well as appointing a full-time LGBTIQ Human Rights Commissioner.

The Greens had already announced policy to introduce an LGBTIQ Human Rights Commissioner alongside a range of other LGBTI-specific policy commitments.

You can read the three major parties’ full responses to the Equality Australia survey on the organisation’s website.

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