The NSW Government will delay the ban on gay conversion practices till next year, to allow more time for additional consultations with conversion survivors.
First reported by Sydney Morning Herald on Friday, November 24, lobbyists and members of Parliament made requests to Premier Chris Minns to take further precautions towards the ban.
This announcement comes a month after a NSW Government spokesperson said that the ban would be introduced by the end of the year.
Urgent Reforms To Be ‘Done Carefully’
In a letter to Minns, Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich requested the reforms be given more time for the bans to provide “the best opportunity to prevent LGBTQ conversion practices and reduce associated harm.”
“With just over a week left of parliament, there’s unlikely to be enough time to properly consult with survivors in a way that ensures the best legislation for the state… and pass a bill before the end of the year,” Greenwich’s letter continued.
“I believe the best way for it would be to postpone introduction of a bill until early next year.”
Following the Government’s announcement of the requested delay, Greenwich said, “Reform is urgent but needs to be done carefully.”
Greenwich continued, “Any legislation will need the review and support of survivors of these harmful practices.
“I’m working well with the Minns Government on this legislation and other long overdue LGBTQ reforms in my Equality Bill, and it’s my hope and intention we will achieve significant progress early in 2024.”
‘I Want To Get This Right’
Speaking with Star Observer, Minns said that the Government plans to work with stakeholders to properly address their concerns and meet their “commitment” to the ban in the new year.
“I made a commitment to ban LGBTQ conversion practices and I intend to meet that commitment. It’s clear though that we need more time and more consultation, and I want to get this right,” Minns said.
“Stakeholders have asked for more time to work through this. We’ll continue to engage and consult with a view to bringing a bill early next year,” he continued.
Organisations Split On Delay
Organisations including Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Change Efforts (SOGICE) Survivors, and Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International (ABBI) have supported Greenwich’s suggestions.
“Survivors need the government to get it right,” said SOGICE spokesperson Chris Csabs.
“The government must make the involvement of survivors in every stage of creating their legislation a priority… to ensure the legislation is robust and effective at actually stopping the harm caused by conversion practices,” Csabs continued.
CEO and founder of ABBI Anthony Venn-Brown said, “A valuable lesson we’ve learned from other states and countries is that it is crucial to get the legislation right.”
“The only way this can be done is by consulting with survivors who possess firsthand knowledge of the long-term harm inflicted.”
“Their insights are invaluable for refining the legislation to ensure the rights and well-being of LGBTQ youth are prioritised,” Venn-Brown explained.
‘Cannot Allow Safe Harbours For Abuse To Remain’
However, Equality Australia’s Legal Director Ghassan Kassisieh has labelled the delay as “disappointing,” saying that the Government should have previously ensured the “voices of conversion survivors” were considered.
“The NSW Government must deliver legislation that prevents the psychological damage and trauma that conversion practices cause, in whichever settings they occur,” said Kassisieh.
“To prevent harm from continuing, we cannot allow safe harbours for abuse to remain in any setting, including in religious settings.”