New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard has expressed support for Victoria’s conversion therapy ban, indicating that NSW may follow suit.
Hazzard said the NSW government is “on the same page” as the Victorian government, indicating he would monitor the enactment of the ban over the next year, Nine reported.
“In my view it shouldn’t be something which one state only does, because these issues affect communities right across Australia,” said Hazzard.
“Hopefully we will be able to have further discussions at the Council of Australian Governments with health ministers if and when the election is out of the way and we can have substantive non-political discussions.”
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced at Midsumma Festival that the state government would move to outlaw conversion therapy, which he called a “harmful, prejudiced, and discredited practice.”
“Conversion practices have caused untold trauma to too many Victorians, who were made to feel ashamed for who they were and who they loved,” said Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley at the announcement.
“We’re banning these practices forever and for good.”
Writing for the Star Observer, conversion therapy survivors Nathan Despott and Chris Csabs said that Australia has the potential to lead the world in eliminating sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE), more commonly known as conversion therapy.
“Conversion ideology is far beyond the bounds of conventional theology, yet we increasingly see conservative religious bodies refer to it as central to their faith and their religious freedom,” Despott and Csabs wrote.
“We urge Australians to see beyond these pious proclamations.”
NSW Labor’s health spokesperson Walt Secord called conversion therapy “abhorrent”, but said he does not “want to see any unintended consequences” stemming from the ban, including “the criminalisation of a person who discusses their sexuality with a minister, priest, imam, rabbi or their spiritual leader.”
He said that, if elected, NSW Labor would refer the matter to the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission for advice on how to legislate the ban, as the Andrews government previously did in Victoria.
Csabs last year launched a petition calling on the federal government to take action against conversion therapy, which has since garned 57,000 signatures and counting.