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Victoria, Australia: Ban on conversion therapies, but…
(Blogmensgo, gay blog of February 11, 2019) Shortly before taking part in the Midsumma Pride March in Melbourne on February 3, 2019, Victoria's Prime Minister Dan Andrews promised that Victoria would be the first state in Australia to ban conversion therapies. Since, however, extensive consultations on this subject are still needed before a parliamentary bill can be drafted, the promise will probably not be fulfilled until 2020.
Conversion therapies are the work of “fanatical charlatans who pass this off as a health service,” says Dan Andrews. Conversion therapies are activities and pseudo-treatments that claim to “heal” people by reversing their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Victoria's Prime Minister bases his statement on a report by the Health Complaints Commission (HCC), which confirms the anchoring of these outdated practices in Australia and the psychological devastations associated with them.
It’s not LGBTI people who need to change—It’s our laws!
Dan Andrews, Premierminister von Victoria
The period of at least one year is used on the one hand to inform the parliamentary opposition about the prohibition methodology (the MPs of the opposition have given their agreement in principle but want more information before they agree). On the other hand, the various interest groups (LGBTQ organizations and religious associations as well) should also be involved in the discussions before finally presenting a law and a strategy for the complete abolition of conversion therapies. They also want to prevent such treatments from continuing outside the law or in the underground.
Here is a video of “Midsumma Pride March 2019”, close to the participants, in uncommented live sound and for over an hour (in two parts). Here is the first part:
The details of the planned legislative measures are not yet known, but are expected to include new civil and criminal law provisions. There is no doubt that the education sector will also be involved in the necessary prevention and awareness-raising work.
According to a law passed in February 2016 and in force since 2017, the HCC may punish persons and entities that practice or promote transformational therapies. The sanctions range from a simple warning to a ban on all activities in Victoria. On the other hand, the HCC has no civil or criminal ways of sanction.
Karen Cusack, Victoria's Health Commissioner, says she is “very happy that conversions in Victoria will [soon] be banned”.
Already in May 2018 Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory had thought about banning such conversions, but the idea did not materialize. A month earlier, the opposition Liberal Party in Victoria had considered discussing a motion for conversion therapies, but quickly abandoned it because of strong outrage within the party.
Here the second part of the Midsumma Pride Parade 2019 in Melbourne:
Independent and openly lesbian MEP Kerryn Phelps calls on Australia to ban conversion therapies throughout the country. The Australian Labour Party has already had an opportunity to pledge its support for a ban on conversion therapies, and in September 2018 the Federal Senate unanimously approved a motion calling on states to ban such pseudo-therapies. But so far these have only been declarations and not laws.