With Queensland and the ACT making recent moves to outlaw conversion therapy, NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard has been silent on the matter.
The ACT recently passed the Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Bill which outlines that conversion practices will receive up to a 12-month jail term or a fine of $24,000. Chris Csabs, a conversion therapy survivor and advocate for the outlawing of conversion practices, has stated that this bill shows a lot of progress, but that it does exclude definitional details that advocates are pushing for.
In February 2020, NSW Health Minister Hazzard stated that his focus was reaching national reform on the issue. Whilst in agreeance with Victoria’s Labor government that gay conversion therapy should be abolished, Hazzard remains focused on addressing this issue at a national level. Hazzard has previously stated that his reasoning for this view is that conversion therapy affects “communities right across Australia.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Hazzard plans to take the issue to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to continue searching for a national solution. With COAG now being disbanded as of May 29, 2020 it is unclear what process will now be followed by the NSW government to search for a solution.
Morrison has stated that “I love Australians” and that he has “never been involved in anything like that, I’ve never supported anything like that.” Morrison stated that conversion therapy is “just not an issue for me and I’m not planning to get engaged in the issue.”
Despite moves by state governments in Queensland and ACT to abolish gay conversion therapy, it appears that in the case of NSW, the state government and federal government are in opposition about the correct course of action to take.
Chris Csabs, who has previously written for Star Observer about his experiences in conversion therapy, has started a petition calling for a nationwide ban and outlawing of LGBTQI conversion practices. This petition calls on Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Health Minister Greg Hunt to take action against conversion practices at a federal level.