Australia’s NSW government pledges to introduce conversion therapy ban this year

Australia

The NSW (New South Wales) government in Australia has pledged to push forward plans to introduce a conversion therapy ban.

LGBTQ+ advocate groups had feared that plans to introduce legislation on the traumatic practice, promised by the NSW government earlier this year, would be delayed or put on ice.

Those fears were reinforced by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), who told their members last week that plans for the ban had been “put on pause”, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Australian LGBTQ+ flag.
The NSW government has promised to ban conversion therapy by the end of the year. (Getty Images)

In an email to its members, seen by the publication, ACL’s managing director Michelle Pearse claimed that the group had made over 8,000 calls to MPs to ask them to reconsider the conversion therapy ban.

The claims sparked fears among gay conversion survivor groups, who wrote to NSW Attorney-General Michael Daley calling for the government to push the conversion therapy ban through as soon as possible.

“We are especially concerned that the Australian Christian Lobby has now claimed credit for delaying progress on reforms,” the letter read.

“Banning conversion practices should be about protecting the health and welfare of LGBTQ people first and foremost, not appeasing those who seek to perpetrate those practices at the expense of the health and welfare of LGBTQ people.”

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Now, a spokesperson for the NSW premier’s office has confirmed that laws banning gay conversion practices would be brought forward and introduced to parliament before the year’s end, ABC reports.

This is particularly promising news, as it was previously reported that the laws would not be introduced until 2024.

“Labor made an election commitment to ban LGBTQ+ conversion practices, consultation was the first step in developing our own bill to bring to Parliament – this will happen by the end of year,” said a government spokesperson.

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While Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown has welcomed the government’s pledge to introduce the legislation by the end of the year, she warned that said legislation must be strong and thorough.

“Any scheme to end conversion practices will only be effective if it is inclusive of all practices that seek to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, including health and religious settings,” she said.

New South Wales is following in the footsteps of Victoria, Queensland, and the ACT, who have already introduced bans on gay conversion therapy.

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