Sydney will host a global conference of far-right family values groups with the assistance of the organisation tasked with bringing business conferences to NSW.

Business Events Sydney (BESydney) is a private-public partnership which assists bids to host events in NSW. It secured the 2013 World Congress of Families for Sydney over bidders from Russia and India.

BESydney is funded by the NSW Government through Events NSW, and the tourism industry. The Star Observer understands the Congress will receive $50,000 towards the cost of venue hire.

Every World Congress has hosted anti-gay speakers. At the last one, in 2009, C. Preston Noell III from the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, claimed that hate crimes laws covering sexual orientation “actually criminalise certain thoughts”.

“They impede characterising homosexual practice as deviant … making it difficult, and perhaps impossible, to defend the true family against homosexual partnerships,” Noell said.

A declaration endorsed by the Congress in 2004 listed in an action plan that governments should “take appropriate actions to assist homosexuals in programs of voluntary rehabilitation”.

The bid committee for the 2013 Congress is headed by Australian Family Association vice-president Mary-Louise Fowler who contributed to a Fatherhood Foundation pamphlet in 2007 called 21 Reasons Why Gender Matters.

The pamphlet claimed that GLBTs suffer from a made up disorder called “gender disorientation pathology”.

NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby senior policy advisor Senthorun Raj was concerned that public money was supporting the event.

“We strongly urge BESydney to have a more considered approach when promoting events where they may be defamatory or discriminatory,” Raj said.

“We respect the rights to freedom of religion and freedom of expression at any event, so long as it does not seek to vilify, harass or incite hatred towards a particular group of people, and we should not be publicly endorsing events that seek to stigmatise and shame people on the basis of who they are.”

A BESydney spokeswoman said it was not in the organisation’s charter to reject an event based on its content.

“The company does not endorse any political or policy leanings of the events, groups and associations it assists with the bidding process,” she said.

BESydney has assisted bids for GLBTI events in the past and is participating in bids for events including the 2012 International Lesbian and Gay Association Asia Conference.

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