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Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020

Introduction

The Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 ('the Bill') was introduced in the Legislative Assembly in November 2020. It seeks to denounce and prohibit Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT)[footnote 1] change or suppression practices, which are sometimes collectively referred to as 'conversion therapy'.

The Bill seeks to establish a civil response scheme within the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission to:

§ promote understanding of the prohibition on change or suppression practices and matters relating generally to those practices;

§ provide the Commission with powers to consider and resolve allegations of change or suppression practices; and

§ enable the Commission to investigate serious or systemic change or suppression practices.

The Bill also seeks to introduce new criminal offences relating to change or suppression practices, to apply to persons who:

§ engage in forms of change or suppression practices which cause serious injury or injury;

§ advertise change or suppression practices; or who

§ take other persons from Victoria for the purpose of a change or suppression practice.

Additionally, the Bill seeks to amend the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 to amend the definitions of sexual orientation and gender identity, and to include sex characteristics as a protected attribute under that Act. It also makes consequential amendments to the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 and the Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010 to make it clear that, in some circumstances, change or suppressions practices can be considered a form of family violence or harassment.

This Brief contains four sections. First, it provides some background to the Bill's introduction, including an overview of terminology, a brief history of conversion practices, a discussion of the current regulatory framework and an outline of consultations, reports and other events that preceded the Bill's drafting. Second, it provides an overview of the Bill, including the proposed civil and criminal provisions. Third, it offers a summary of responses to the Bill from various sections of the community. Lastly, it concludes with a comparison of the relevant legislation in Australian jurisdictions.

Please note that this paper should not be considered a complete guide to the subject.

 

Background

This section provides an overview of relevant terminology, as well as a brief history of conversion practices and a discussion of the current regulatory framework. It also offers an outline of relevant consultations, reports and events leading up to the introduction of the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020.

Terminology

What is sexual orientation?

'Sexual orientation' is a term that refers to a person's romantic or sexual attraction to another person and includes, among others: heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual or same-sex attracted.[footnote 2]

In Victorian legislation, sexual orientation is currently defined in the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 as 'homosexuality (including lesbianism), bisexuality or heterosexuality'.[footnote 3]

What is gender identity?

The term 'gender' is a social and cultural concept that refers to the categories assigned to individuals based on their sex characteristics at birth.[footnote 4] In Western cultures, individuals are generally assigned to one of two gender roles, matching their apparent sex (for example, male = man/masculine and female = woman/feminine), though some cultures recognise other genders.[footnote 5]

A person's 'gender identity' refers to that person's internal and individual feeling of oneself as man, woman, masculine, feminine, neither, both, or moving around freely between or outside of the gender binary.[footnote 6] The way in which a person shows their gender externally to others is referred to as their gender expression.[footnote 7]

In Victorian legislation, gender identity is currently defined in the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 as:

(a) the identification on a bona fide basis by a person of one sex as a member of the other sex (whether or not the person is recognised as such)—

(i) by assuming characteristics of the other sex, whether by means of medical intervention, style of dressing or otherwise; or

(ii) by living, or seeking to live, as a member of the other sex; or

(b) the identification on a bona fide basis by a person of indeterminate sex as a member of a particular sex (whether or not the person is recognised as such)—

(i) by assuming characteristics of that sex, whether by means of medical intervention, style of dressing or otherwise; or

(ii) by living, or seeking to live, as a member of that sex.[footnote 8]

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) believes in the right of individuals to identify their sexual orientation and gender identity as they choose. The AHRC also acknowledges that terminology is strongly contested, particularly in relation to describing gender identity.[footnote 9]

What is 'conversion therapy'?

'Conversion therapy' can be defined as involving 'practices aimed at changing the sexual orientation, gender identity or expression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse people'.[footnote 10] The purported aim of conversion therapy is to result in the person's gender identity matching that which was assigned at birth, generally a heterosexual and cisgender identity.[footnote 11]

Practices that constitute conversion therapy are wide-ranging in nature, and may include psychotherapy, clinical and pharmaceutical interventions, self-help and counselling, or faith-based practices across a wide range of religious traditions. Extreme measures of conversion therapy may include forced medication, electroconvulsive therapy, beatings and rape.[footnote 12] Practitioners may include healthcare providers, psychologists, psychiatrists and counsellors, faith organisations or ministries, and state actors.[footnote 13]

In Australia, conversion therapy is reported to most commonly occur in faith-based contexts.[footnote 14] Typical practices tend to involve counselling, prayer, scripture reading, fasting, retreats or 'spiritual healing'.[footnote 15]

Professional bodies and government organisations around the world have discredited conversion therapy as medically and scientifically unfounded, unethical, and physically and psychologically dangerous for those subjected to such practices. Many reports—including a 2020 United Nations report—have documented the long-term harm caused by such practices.[footnote 16] Numerous jurisdictions around the world have now legislated to ban conversion therapy practices or are planning such bans.[footnote 17]

How the Victorian Government is defining conversion therapy

Rather than 'conversion therapy', the Victorian Government prefers to use the term 'change or suppression practices' in its proposed legislation. The Attorney-General explained that this was not only in recognition of the religious significance of the term 'conversion', but also in acknowledgement that use of the term 'therapy' 'inappropriately legitimises these practices by suggesting they have a basis in medicine'.[footnote 18] The Government has retained 'conversion' in the title of the Bill, however, so that the legislation can be easily recognised and understood.[footnote 19]

The Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 defines a 'change or suppression practice' as:

a practice or conduct directed towards a person, whether with or without the person's consent—

a) on the basis of the person's sexual orientation or gender identity; and

b) for the purpose of—

(i) changing or suppressing the sexual orientation or gender identity of the person; or

(ii) inducing the person to change or suppress their sexual orientation or gender identity.[footnote 20]

The Bill's Statement of Compatibility explains that the definition is intentionally broad.[footnote 21] The definition also requires that a change or suppression practice be directed at an individual, which the Attorney-General explained was to ensure that conduct not targeting an individual, such as sermons, opinion pieces and lectures, would not be captured by the proposed reforms.[footnote 22]

Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory have recently passed legislation relating to conversion practices. In the ACT, the preferred term is a 'sexuality or gender identity conversion practice', and is defined under the Territory's Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Act 2020 as 'a treatment or other practice the purpose, or purported purpose, of which is to change a person's sexuality or gender identity'.[footnote 23] In Queensland, the term 'conversion therapy' is used and is defined under the state's Health Legislation Amendment Act 2020 as 'a practice that attempts to change or suppress a person's sexual orientation or gender identity'.[footnote 24]

The term 'change or suppression practice' is not intended to capture a practice or conduct that is supportive of or affirms a person's gender identity or sexual orientation, such as assisting a person who is undergoing a gender transition.[footnote 25]

Within Australia, survivor groups use the term 'LGBTQA+ conversion practices', as they argue it 'more accurately captures the ways in which conversion ideology specifically targets LGBTQA+ people through practices beyond formal therapy'.[footnote 26] Conversion practices are sometimes also referred to as Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Change Efforts (SOGICE).[footnote 27]

NB: This paper uses the term 'conversion practices' as a general/umbrella term to capture the behaviour that is referred to elsewhere as 'change or suppression practices', 'sexuality or gender identity conversion practices', 'conversion therapy', 'LGBTQA+ conversion practices' and/or 'SOGICE'.

A brief history of conversion practices

Intervention into people's sexual identities and gender orientations has a long history in Australia; however, explicit attempts to 'reorient' or 'convert' LGBT people are relatively recent.[footnote 28] Homosexual offences were only removed from Victorian criminal law in 1980, following pioneering legislation in South Australia in 1972 and 1975.[footnote 29]

Historically, criminality was complemented by medical and psychiatric attempts to treat 'deviant' sexual practices. From the 1960s, a range of clinical interventions against LGBT people were experimented with by mainstream health practitioners, including surgical, hormonal, pharmacological, behavioural and psychoanalytic therapies. Assuming LGBT behaviour to be pathological, such interventions were typically designed to control or prevent behaviour, rather than convert preferences and identities.[footnote 30] Accordingly, at this time mainline churches also aimed to pastorally counsel LGBT people to live moral lives, rather than to seek sexual reorientation.[footnote 31] From the early 1970s, health and psychiatric authorities in Australia began to declassify homosexuality and ceased to recognise LGBT people as pathologized or suffering mental illness—partly in support of the burgeoning gay and lesbian rights movement.[footnote 32]

According to a recent study into the practice, conversion therapy in Australia has developed and been sustained largely in religious contexts. Religious conversion therapies aimed at the explicit reorientation of LGBT people emerged among some conservative Christian communities in the 1970s, in what was commonly known as the 'ex-gay movement', just as mainstream medicine rescinded its interventions.[footnote 33] The ex-gay movement also represented a departure from the dominant, pastoral approaches of mid-century churches. Those supporting conversion therapy now held that all people were born with the ability to develop into heterosexual, cisgender people.[footnote 34]

Ex-gay ministries developed around the idea of repairing trauma that had 'led to a deviation from normative gender and sexual development'.[footnote 35] These practices included prayer, scripture reading, fasting, spiritual healing and spiritual deliverance. Some ministries also referred clients to medical practitioners and psychiatrists, who continued to offer pharmacological and aversion therapies despite the emerging ethical standards in those professions against such practices. Others rejected these secular approaches as incompatible with religious conversion therapy.[footnote 36]

As in other parts of the world, the ex-gay movement developed independently in Australia as part of broader spiritual healing movements, before becoming integrated and internationally affiliated in the 1990s.[footnote 37] At this time, many practitioners repositioned themselves as offering assistance to those experiencing 'unwanted' homosexual attractions or gender dysphoria, but continued to characterise LGBT people as suffering from a (curable) 'sexual brokenness'.[footnote 38] By the 2000s, there were informal or formal ex-gay ministries in all Australian states and territories.[footnote 39]

Since 2012, some ministries have shifted away from claims that 'conversion' to a heteronormative existence is possible. However, the sections of the community that offer conversion practices maintain that LGBT behaviours and identities are pathological or sinful and that 'supernatural intervention can result in sexual orientation or gender identity change'.[footnote 40] Reports suggest that these positions may have been reinforced in Australia, following the successful passage of the marriage equality bill in late 2017.[footnote 41]

How common are conversion practices?

There are no studies of the prevalence of conversion therapy in contemporary Australia.[footnote 42] In 2018, scholars from La Trobe University and the Human Rights Law Centre began to fill this gap by publishing their report, Preventing Harm, Promoting Justice: Responding to LGBT conversion therapy in Australia, which presents the first detailed accounts of the impact of conversion therapy on the lives of LGBT Australians of faith.[footnote 43]

According to the report, conversion practices 'remain pervasive' in Australia's mainstream, conservative Protestant Christian communities, as well as in conservative Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu communities.[footnote 44] Roman Catholic communities rarely promote conversion practices, though they do not oppose them; rather, Catholic approaches tend to encourage chastity and celibacy for those who are not in heterosexual marriages.[footnote 45] However, the authors also qualified that 'there is scant information on religious conversion therapy in Australia other than in Protestant contexts'.[footnote 46] Extrapolating from evidence in a 2018 survey in the United Kingdom, where the religious demographics are comparable to Australia, the report estimated that up to ten per cent of Australians 'are actively involved in a religion that may potentially promote or practice conversion therapy'.[footnote 47]

Drawing on findings from study participants, the report found that several activities and materials make up conversion practices in Australia, including counselling (individual, group or online), pastoral care or other materials and actions in faith settings, aversion therapy and forced travel overseas for conversion therapy.[footnote 48] The report suggests registered medical practitioners are minimally involved in the majority of conversion practices in Australia, if at all. Rather, participants reported being subjected to conversion practices by psychologists, counsellors claiming to provide therapeutic health services (including Christian counsellors), unregistered religious counsellors and religious ministers, or other members of churches. Many participants also reported being shown literature, videos and other material about conversion practices.[footnote 49]

The report also found at least ten organisations publicly advertising 'ex-gay and ex-trans therapies in Australia and New Zealand', all connected through two umbrella networks: Renew Ministries in Melbourne, and Exodus Asia Pacific.[footnote 50]

What is the current regulatory framework?

In Australia, conversion practices are not explicitly prohibited nationally. However, there are a number of existing laws and standards that may provide protections against conversion practices.[footnote 51]

Legislation

The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, which is governed by a nationally consistent law in each state and territory, establishes a national registration and accreditation scheme for the regulation of health practitioners. [footnote 52] One of the main objectives under this scheme is to 'provide for the protection of the public by ensuring that only health practitioners who are suitably trained and qualified to practise in a competent and ethical manner are registered'.[footnote 53] Scholars have argued that, while the National Law does not expressly prohibit conversion practices, the broader obligations it places on practitioners to 'provide competent, professional, evidence-based and non-discriminatory health services' effectively makes it so.[footnote 54]

Another legislative instrument that may prevent conversion practices occurring in Victoria is the Health Complaints Act 2016 (Vic). The Act established the office of the Health Complaints Commissioner and provides for a complaints process and other processes relating to the provision of health services.[footnote 55] The Act also includes a code of conduct for general health services, which states, among other things, that general health service providers must: act in a safe and ethical manner; obtain consent appropriate to the treatment provided; report concerns about other health practitioners; and not engage in any form of misinformation.[footnote 56] Academics have noted that, while the Health Complaints Act does not directly refer to conversion practices, the explanatory memorandum and the second reading speech, given at the time of its introduction, reveal that 'it is clear that [footnote the Act] was drafted with such practices in mind'.[footnote 57]

Additionally, Australia also has obligations under international human rights law and, as a signatory to international instruments, has obligations and duties to uphold the rights enshrined in those treaties.[footnote 58]

Professional and ethical standards

Many professional bodies in the health services sector condemn conversion practices. In its 2002 Position Statement on Sexual Diversity and Gender Identity, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) stated that it 'opposes the use of "reparative" or "conversion" therapy that is based upon the assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder and that the patient should change his or her sexual orientation'.[footnote 59] In 2018, then-AMA President, Tony Bartone, reaffirmed that the AMA 'unequivocally condemns' conversion practices.[footnote 60]

The Australian Psychological Society (APS) also rejects conversion practices, stating that it 'strongly opposes any form of mental health practice that treats homosexuality as a disorder, or seeks to change a person's sexual orientation'.[footnote 61] As the APS's 2015 Position Statement on Psychological Practices that attempt to change Sexual Orientation makes clear:

Approaches to mental health practice variously referred to as 'reparative', 'conversion' or 'ex-gay' are based on the belief that homosexuality is a disorder, and that it can be 'cured'. No professional health organisation in Australia supports these approaches.[footnote 62]

The APS Position Statement states that any psychologist attempting to change a person's sexual orientation, or treating homosexuality as a disorder, is 'likely to be in breach of the APS Code of Ethics'.[footnote 63] In 2019, the APS called for an Australia-wide ban on conversion practices.[footnote 64]

Regulatory gaps

While existing legislation and professional standards may restrict some conversion therapy practices, the authors of the 2018 Preventing Harm, Promoting Justice report highlighted that these regulatory frameworks do not capture all conversion practices, such as those undertaken by religious or unregistered counsellors, or conducted within communities of faith. The report concluded that conversion practices conducted in such contexts can ultimately 'fall between the gaps'.[footnote 65] As such, they recommended that the law in Victoria be strengthened to deter and prevent conversion practices from taking place, through legislation that explicitly outlaws those practices. They argue that this action would send 'a clear message that this conduct is ineffective, not based in evidence, unethical and generally harmful'.[footnote 66] According to the report, new legislation should:

§ prohibit any conduct by professionals—such as social workers, health practitioners and teachers, among others—that is aimed at changing, 'suppressing', 'curing', 'healing' or 'repairing' the sexual orientation or gender identity of any adult;

§ prohibit such conduct by any person where it targets minors or people who are vulnerable to coercion—such as those living with a cognitive impairment, intellectual disability or mental health issue;

§ establish beneficial treatments or practices to support LGBT people; and

§ create an offence that criminalises any attempted removal of a person from Australia for the purposes of a conversion practice.[footnote 67]

What has occurred in Victoria prior to the Bill's introduction?

Health Complaints Commissioner report

In May 2018, then-Minister for Health, the Hon. Jill Hennessy, referred the matter of 'gay conversion therapy' or 'ex-gay ideology' to the Health Complaints Commissioner.[footnote 68] Under the terms of reference, the Commissioner was tasked with:

§ understanding who is conducting conversion practices, and the context in which they are occurring;

§ assessing whether the powers and functions of the Health Complaints Commissioner to address complaints relating to conversion practices are adequate;

§ exploring opportunities for collaboration with other agencies, organisations and levels of government to improve outcomes for survivors of conversion practices; and

§ any other related matters.[footnote 69]

The Commissioner's inquiry included group and individual interviews with people who had been subjected to conversion practices and, in certain cases, discussion with their family members.[footnote 70] The inquiry also engaged with churches, religious groups and counselling services to determine what advice or referrals were openly supported or suggested in relation to conversion practices.[footnote 71]

A summary of the Commissioner's findings was published in February 2019, detailing the 'long-term psychological harm and distress to people who have undergone conversion therapy/practices'.[footnote 72] The Commissioner found that there were still psychologists, counsellors and counselling services offering conversion practices, in spite of the 'overwhelming evidence' of the long-term and significant harm they cause.[footnote 73] Upon completing the inquiry, the Commissioner recommended that the Minister consider introducing legislation to ban conversion practices and provide supports for survivors. The Commissioner explained that a legislative response 'sends a very strong message to the community that conversion therapy/practices are unacceptable'.[footnote 74]

Shortly after the Health Complaints Commissioner's report was released, the Andrews Government confirmed that it had accepted in full the recommendation that conversion practices be banned. It committed to introducing legislation to that end, making it the first jurisdiction in Australia to commit to doing so.[footnote 75] This decision was welcomed by the Commissioner.[footnote 76]

The Government also gave in-principle support to funding counselling and support services for those harmed by conversion practices.[footnote 77]

Victorian Government consultation period

For six weeks over October–November 2019, the Andrews Government held a public consultation period and invited feedback from the Victorian community on proposed new laws to ban conversion practices.[footnote 78] A discussion paper was also released at that time, to seek the community's views on the best way to implement the proposed changes.[footnote 79] Some of the key questions posed in the discussion paper related to what should be banned, who should be protected, how it should be regulated—for example, through the criminal law, the civil law, or both—and how concerns about religious freedom could be addressed.[footnote 80]

The Government used a 'dual consultation approach' to seek feedback on the discussion paper, which involved seeking online responses and written submissions from members of the community via the Engage Victoria website, as well as undertaking face-to-face consultations with key stakeholders.[footnote 81] Of the 603 survey contributions, 82 written submissions and 21 face-to-face consultations with survivor organisations, LGBTIQ+ support and advocacy organisations, and religious organisations, the Government found that a 'clear majority' supported a ban.[footnote 82]

However, views on what a ban (if any) should look like were varied. The Government released an outcomes report summarising the views and themes that emerged during the consultation period. The face-to-face consultations revealed that, while those with personal experience of conversion practices and LGBT support and advocacy organisations generally supported a ban that would capture all conversion practices, religious organisations generally expressed concern with banning practices outright.[footnote 83] Further, most religious organisations supported a definition of conversion practices that would not capture religious teachings and beliefs relating to sexuality and gender.[footnote 84]

In terms of consent, those who had experienced conversion practices themselves did not support a ban that would allow individuals to consent to such practices—as they questioned whether free and informed consent could be given—whereas the LGBT support and advocacy organisations, as well as religious organisations, were more diverse in their views on consent.[footnote 85] In relation to regulation, most religious organisations supported regulation of health and medical professionals, whereas most LGBT organisations and all survivors that took part in the consultation supported regulating all people who provide conversion practices.[footnote 86]

As to whether these practices should be regulated by civil or criminal law, those with lived experience of conversion practices and LGBT organisations generally supported a combined civil and criminal scheme, with survivors seeking the establishment of a Redress Commission. Of the religious organisations that took part in the consultation process, some supported a civil-only or a criminal law-only scheme; others did not support any regulatory regime.[footnote 87]

In response to the question about freedom of religion, religious organisations highlighted its importance and expressed concerns about how religious practices may be impacted. In general, they also supported the ability of individuals to seek religious support for sexuality and gender identity matters.[footnote 88] Conversely, LGBT organisations and those who had been subjected to conversion practices supported a human rights approach, where freedom of religion would not extend to causing harm to others. LGBT organisations also noted that LGBT people should be able to practise their religion 'in a safe environment'.[footnote 89]

The consultation outcomes report explained that the views expressed in the responses received from the community through Engage Victoria broadly mirrored those received during the face-to-face consultations.[footnote 90]

 

Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020

The Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 was introduced to the Victorian Parliament on 25 November 2020.[footnote 91]

The Andrews Government stated that the Bill would 'put in place new measures to protect Victorians from the serious damage and trauma caused by conversion practices' and that it sought to denounce those practices as 'deceptive and harmful'.[footnote 92] Further, the Government argued that through this action it was 'sending a clear message: no one is 'broken' because of their sexuality or gender identity. These views won't be tolerated in Victoria, and neither will these abhorrent practices'.[footnote 93]

Second reading speech

The second reading speech was delivered on 26 November 2020 by then-Attorney-General, the Hon. Jill Hennessy, who stated that the Bill 'recognises change or suppression practices as false, deceptive and seriously harmful acts' and explained that its purpose was ultimately to eliminate change or suppression practices in the state.[footnote 94]

The speech touched upon the harm that conversion practices can cause to LGBT people and highlighted that a disproportionate number of LGBT people are already experiencing mental health concerns. The Attorney-General explained that the rate of attempted suicide is five times higher for LGBT young people than for their peers, while transgender people are 11 times more likely to attempt suicide.[footnote 95] Ms Hennessy asserted that the Bill:

affirms all people have characteristics of sexuality, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, and no combination of these characteristics constitutes a disorder, disease, illness, deficiency, disability or shortcoming.[footnote 96]

The Bill, she said, would ensure that Victorians are 'are able to live their lives authentically with pride'.[footnote 97]

Proposed reforms

In the first instance, the Bill seeks to define the meaning of a change or suppression practice. The Attorney-General explained that the definition is broad and has three key elements: first, the conduct must be directed at an individual; second, the conduct must be 'on the basis' of the individual's sexual orientation or gender identity; and third, the person engaging in the conduct must be attempting to change or induce another person to change or suppress their sexual orientation or gender identity.[footnote 98]

The Bill states that a change or suppression practice could occur in person, or remotely, and gives examples of what that might look like—including, but not limited to:

§ providing a consultation, treatment or therapy through psychiatry or psychotherapy (or similar);

§ carrying out a religious practice, such as a prayer-based practice, a deliverance practice or an exorcism; and

§ giving a person a referral with the intention of that person receiving a change or suppression practice.[footnote 99]

In certain circumstances, some religious practices may meet the definition of a change or suppression practice. However, the Attorney-General clarified that the definition had been crafted in such a way that was 'not designed to capture all religious practices or teachings or to prevent people seeking religious counsel'.[footnote 100]

The Bill also seeks to implement a general prohibition on change or suppression practices.[footnote 101] This would take the form of a civil response scheme, and the creation of criminal offences for the most serious conduct (see below). The Statement of Compatibility explained that this framework was 'developed on the basis [footnote that] no less restrictive means was reasonably available to effectively reduce the harm caused by change or suppression practices'.[footnote 102]

Additionally, the proposed reforms are intended to have an extra-territorial application, meaning that the Act would have effect if a person engages in conduct outside or partly outside Victoria and there is a 'real and substantial' link between the conduct and Victoria.[footnote 103]

Civil response scheme

The Bill seeks to establish a civil response scheme within the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission ('the Commission'). The Attorney-General envisaged that the civil scheme would be the most common response to alleged change or suppression practices.[footnote 104]

Under the proposed scheme, the Commission is given numerous functions and powers in relation to change or suppression practices, some of which include to develop and provide education, receive reports from any person, request further information about those reports and determine appropriate responses to them.[footnote 105] The Commission is assigned an educative function that requires it to establish and undertake information and education programs in relation to change or suppression practices, and to promote and advance the objects of the proposed Act and advocate for it.[footnote 106] The Commission is also assigned a function that allows it to undertake research on matters relating to the proposed Act's operation, including the collection and analysis of relevant information and data.[footnote 107]

Furthermore, the Commission is required to receive reports in relation to change or suppression practices and facilitate outcomes, and must establish policies as well as issue procedures and directions on the way in which such reports should be handled.[footnote 108] Under the proposed legislation, a person affected by a change or suppression practice, or any other person, may make a report to the Commission.[footnote 109] When considering a report and being satisfied that a change or suppression practice has occurred, the Commission is required, where possible, to take into account: the wishes of the person or persons affected; whether the practice was a one-off event or indicative of a pattern of behaviour; the number of people affected; the nature and extent of the harm caused; and any steps taken by a person or organisation to cease engaging in a practice or to address the harms caused.[footnote 110]

When responding to a report, the Commission can offer targeted education to persons or organisations reported to have engaged in change or suppression practices; it can also offer to facilitate an outcome where reports are made by persons affected by those practices.[footnote 111] Further, the Commission can refer the report to another person or body—such as the Health Complaints Commissioner, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, the Ombudsman or Victoria Police. It can also decline to respond to the report where persons or organisations can't be located, sufficient information is no longer available, the reported conduct has been adequately dealt with (or would be more appropriately managed in another forum), or where it considers it is not appropriate to respond.[footnote 112]

Additionally, the Commission is empowered to conduct investigations in certain circumstances, compel the provision of information and the production of documents, and compel attendance before it.[footnote 113] Under the proposed reforms, the Commission also has a number of remedies available to it, including enforceable undertakings and compliance notices. Where a person has failed to comply with an enforceable undertaking or a compliance notice, the Commission can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to ensure that compliance occurs.[footnote 114]

The Attorney-General stated that the civil response scheme was designed in such a way that it would be trauma-informed and survivor-led, and could accommodate the circumstances unique to each experience.[footnote 115] As such, under the proposed legislation, the Commission is always required to:

§ ensure survivors receive the support they need by directing them to appropriate support services;

§ establish facilitation processes that meet the individual survivors' needs; and

§ at their request, assist survivors who have been the victims of an alleged criminal offence to report that conduct to police.[footnote 116]

Criminal offences

The Bill seeks to create four criminal offences, which prohibit a person from:

§ intentionally carrying out a change or suppression practice where that conduct causes injury to another person;

§ intentionally carrying out a change or suppression practice where that conduct causes serious injury to another person;

§ taking another person from Victoria for the purposes of that person being subject to a change or suppression practice, where that practice causes injury; and

§ advertising a change or suppression practice.[footnote 117]

The criminal offences rely on the definitions of injury and serious injury in the Crimes Act.[footnote 118] Under the proposed reforms, engaging in one or more practices that cause injury or serious injury will attract significant penalties. These are shown in the table below.

Table 1. Proposed penalties for change or suppression practices that cause injury or serious injury[footnote 119]

 

Change or suppression practices that cause injury

Change or suppression practices that cause serious injury

Natural person

§ Up to five years' imprisonment; or

§ a fine of up to $99,132; or

§ both.

§ Up to ten years' imprisonment; or

§ a fine of up to $198,264; or

§ both.

Body corporate

Penalty of up to $495,660.

Penalty of up to $991,320.

Taking a person from Victoria for one or more change or suppression practices would attract a penalty of up to two years' imprisonment, or a fine of up to $39,652, or both, for a natural person; for a body corporate, the penalty is $198,264.[footnote 120] Advertising a change or suppression practice attracts a fine of up to $9,913 for a natural person, or $49,566 for a body corporate.[footnote 121]

Additionally, refusing, without reasonable excuse, to produce documents relating to an advertising offence when requested also attracts a fine of up to $9,913 for a natural person, or $49,566 for a body corporate.[footnote 122]

The criminal offences proposed by the Bill are targeted at conduct that results in physical or mental injury. The Attorney-General explained that the criminal offences were expected to play an educative role about the seriousness of change or suppression practices and to have a deterrent effect.[footnote 123]

Proposed amendments to the Equal Opportunity Act 2010

The Bill seeks to amend several definitions in the Equal Opportunity Act 2010. This includes the definition of 'gender identity', which would be changed to mean:

a person's gender-related identity, which may or may not correspond with their designated sex at birth, and includes the personal sense of the body (whether this involves medical intervention or not) and other expressions of gender, including dress, speech, mannerisms, names and personal references.[footnote 124]

The definition of 'sexual orientation' would also be changed, to mean 'a person's emotional, affectional and sexual attraction to, or intimate or sexual relations with, persons of a different gender or the same gender or more than one gender'.[footnote 125]

The Bill also seeks to insert a definition for 'sex characteristics' in the Equal Opportunity Act, which is given as:

a person's physical features relating to sex, including—

a) genitalia and other sexual and reproductive parts of the person's anatomy; and

b) the person's chromosomes, genes, hormones, and secondary physical features that emerge as a result of puberty.[footnote 126]

It also seeks to add 'sex characteristics' as a protected attribute under the Act,[footnote 127] which the Attorney-General explained in her second reading speech is intended to 'better protect intersex Victorians from discrimination'.[footnote 128] The Attorney-General argued that this move was necessary as the Equal Opportunity Act currently offers no express protection for intersex persons, and instead conflates intersex status with gender identity; she also clarified that intersex change or suppression practices are outside the scope of this Bill, and that the issue is being considered separately by the Department of Health and Human Services.[footnote 129]

Amendments relating to family violence and personal safety

The Bill also seeks to amend the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 and the Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010 to make it clear that, in some circumstances, change or suppressions practices can be considered a form of family violence or harassment.[footnote 130] This means that, under the proposed reforms, survivors could make use of family violence safety notices/ intervention orders, and personal safety intervention orders, respectively. It is a criminal offence to breach these orders.[footnote 131]

Review of the Act

Under the proposed reforms, the Bill makes provision for an independent review of the operation and effectiveness of the Act, which the Attorney-General must ensure is undertaken two years after the ban on change or suppression practices commences.[footnote 132] The review must be led by an independent expert and must consider the functioning of the criminal offences and the civil scheme; it must also determine if any broader investigation or enforcement powers are required, and whether a redress scheme should be developed.[footnote 133]

Bill passes Legislative Assembly

The Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 passed the Legislative Assembly on 10 December 2020 and was introduced and second-read in the Legislative Council on that day.[footnote 134]

 

Responses to the Bill

This section contains a brief overview of some examples of responses to the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission

Commissioner Kristen Hilton said that the Commission welcomed the Bill's introduction and that it represented 'an important step towards preventing and responding to harm still being inflicted on LGBTQ Victorians'.[footnote 135] The Commissioner also stated that the proposed amendments relating to definitions of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as the inclusion of sex characteristics as a new protected attribute, would strengthen the operation of the Equal Opportunity Act.[footnote 136]

Survivors

The conversion practices survivor support and advocacy groups, SOGICE Survivors and Brave Network, have expressed support for the Bill, arguing that it is not 'anti-prayer' or an attack on religious freedom. Rather, they say, it is 'a common-sense law designed purely to prevent people in positions of influence making misleading claims about LGBTQA+ attraction and identity, delivering indefensible practices, and causing life-long harm and trauma'.[footnote 137]

Advocacy groups

Thorne Harbour Health (formerly the Victorian AIDS Council), an advocacy and health promotion organisation seeking to serve the health needs of LGBTI communities, announced its support for the proposed legislation.[footnote 138] The organisation's CEO, Simon Ruth, stated that the Bill was of 'an incredibly high standard' and was superior to similar legislation developed in Australia so far, arguing that, by enacting the proposed laws, 'Victoria has a chance to lead the way globally in protecting the human rights of our sexually and gender diverse communities from incredibly harmful practices based on false and misleading claims'.[footnote 139]

The Victorian Pride Lobby, a community-based advocacy group working to advance human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and same-sex attracted Victorians, also welcomed the Bill's introduction. The Lobby's Co-Convenor, Nevena Spirovska, said that '[footnote e]veryone should be able to access health services, practice their religion, and go about their day-to-day lives without being exposed to harmful conversion practices'.[footnote 140] The Lobby was supportive of the decision to have the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission oversee the proposed civil response scheme. However, it expressed disappointment that the Bill did not seek to include conversion practices as reportable conduct under child safety laws, nor to prohibit conversion practices in the health services code of conduct.[footnote 141]

Equality Australia, a national advocacy organisation for LGBTIQ+ people in the country, called the legislation 'world-leading',[footnote 142] and the organisation's CEO, Anna Brown, has described the Bill as 'a common-sense law that prevents people from causing injury to others'.[footnote 143]

Religious organisations

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has condemned the Bill, claiming that it is 'built on lies'.[footnote 144] ACL Managing Director, Martyn Iles, stated that coercion and abuse practices are not happening in Australia, and that the Bill 'digs up relics of the past as an excuse to ban innocent practices like the teaching of Scripture, friends praying for each other, and parents affirming their kids' biology'.[footnote 145] Mr Iles added that the Bill was 'an insult to the notions of tolerance and diversity' and that it represented 'the worst and most flagrant attack on basic freedom this country has ever seen'.[footnote 146] In January 2021, the ACL published a double-page advertisement in the Herald Sun newspaper with the text, 'Dear Premier, we are not criminals'.[footnote 147] The advertisement included a letter to Premier Daniel Andrews, undersigned by multifaith religious leaders, stating that under the Bill, 'all people of faith will be stripped of their freedom to practice and share their faith'.[footnote 148] It called for the Bill to be retracted 'to respect religious freedom and cultural rights', and for the Premier to meet with the signatories for a roundtable discussion.[footnote 149]

The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne has also expressed concerns about the Bill. Archbishop Peter Comensoli issued an official statement to say that the Bill 'targets prayer, and appears to impose silence on people of faith from sharing their beliefs in an open, honest and faithful way'.[footnote 150]Archbishop Comensoli stated that faith groups were 'afforded little consultation' and that they were not shown a draft of the Bill before its introduction.[footnote 151] The Archbishop said that the Bill seemed to pose 'a dramatic over-reach of the state into family life, private matters, pastoral contexts of conversion, prayer and spiritual accompaniment', and argued that the result of this Bill 'may not actually be to protect anyone who is vulnerable, but to silence people of faith from expressing a view'.[footnote 152] The statement included a number of questions from the Catholic Archdiocese in regards to the Bill, touching upon issues of free speech, religious identity and sexuality.[footnote 153]

The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV), the peak body of Victorian Jewry, has expressed its support for a ban on conversion practices. In a joint position paper with Jewish Care Victoria that was submitted to the Victorian Government's consultation process, the JCCV 'emphatically denounced' LGBTQ+ conversion practices, arguing that these 'harmful' practices are 'a contravention of a person's fundamental human rights and diminish, devalue, and attempt to erase the presence of LGBTQ+ people in society'.[footnote 154] JCCV President, Jennifer Huppert, stated that 'the practice or treatment to seek change, modify, suppress, or eliminate expression of LGBTQ+ sexuality or gender identity is, in our view, unethical and abhorrent'.[footnote 155] The joint submission argued that conversion practices under the umbrella of religion should not be viewed as any different to those being practised outside of that context.[footnote 156]

Following the Bill's introduction, Jewish Care—an aged care and community services provider for Jewish people throughout Victoria—issued a statement welcoming the latest development, expressing that the Bill:

sends a strong message to all Victorians that conversion practices are not therapeutic, are known to cause significant long-term psychological and emotional harm, and that a person's sexuality or gender identity is real and valid and not a mental disorder to be cured. The real danger to LGBTI+ people and their mental health and wellbeing is societal ignorance, prejudice and the pressure to conform to entrenched heteronormative societal values.[footnote 157]

In December 2020, various multi-faith, multicultural LGBTQ+ and allied voices published an open letter to Members of the Victorian Parliament, expressing their support for the Bill. Signatories came from a diversity of cultures and a range of faiths, including Christianity, Islam and Buddhism, among others.[footnote 158]

Political parties

The Victorian Opposition has called for a delay to voting on the Bill, and state Opposition Leader, the Hon. Michael O'Brien, has said that there are 'legitimate concerns' about some aspects of the Bill.[footnote 159] Following resumption of the second reading debate, the Opposition moved a reasoned amendment requesting that further consultation be undertaken with stakeholders and that clarification be provided on specific concerns—including the rights of children and their parents, the rights of individuals to voluntarily seek assistance for gender identity and sexual orientation issues, as well as the rights of faith organisations and healthcare professionals.[footnote 160] The amendment was unsuccessful.[footnote 161]

Conversely, the Victorian Greens have welcomed the Bill. In a statement, the party's LGBTIQA+ spokesperson, Sam Hibbins, said: 'We're pleased that the state government has listened to the calls of survivors over the years and introduced strong legislation that will help stamp out conversion practices wherever they occur'.[footnote 162]

Health services providers

The Australian Psychological Society welcomed the Bill, and congratulated the Victorian Government for 'acting decisively' on the recommendations made by the Health Complaints Commissioner.[footnote 163] The APS restated its strong opposition to any mental health practice treating homosexuality as a disorder or seeking to change a person's sexual orientation, and reaffirmed its call for a ban to be implemented Australia-wide.[footnote 164]

The Australian Association of Social Workers has previously expressed its support for the Victorian Government's pledge to ban conversion practices, and has called for other states to follow suit.[footnote 165] As mentioned earlier, the Australian Medical Association has previously stated that it 'unequivocally condemns' conversion practices.[footnote 166]

Research and academia

The Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) has called for the legislation to be passed. LIV President, Sam Pandya, said that '[footnote p]rohibiting these practices, and introducing penalties, is important in ensuring LGBT Victorians are safe within our community'.[footnote 167] LIV welcomed the proposed functions and powers of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, and urged the Victorian Government to ensure that the Commission would be resourced appropriately. LIV also expressed its support for the anti-discrimination protections offered through amendment of the Equal Opportunity Act, including added protections for intersex Victorians.[footnote 168]

Dr Timothy W. Jones, a senior lecturer in history at La Trobe University and one of the authors of the Preventing Harm, Promoting Justice report, has also welcomed the Bill. Dr Jones stated that it 'carefully weighs the protection of religious freedom against the protection of the rights of LGBTQ+ people and is the product of significant consultation', and that the fears expressed by some religious communities are ultimately 'unfounded'.[footnote 169] Similarly, Elenie Poulos, an ordained minister in the Uniting Church and a doctoral researcher who studies the politics of religious freedom in Australia, stated that the Bill 'is not an attack on prayer; it's an attack on a harmful, religiously-based practice'.[footnote 170]

Dr Holly Lawford-Smith, an Associate Professor in political philosophy at the University of Melbourne, has expressed support for the Bill's attempts to ban conversion practices seeking to change a person's sexual orientation, yet argues that including gender identity in the Bill is unwarranted.[footnote 171] Alongside Kath Deves, the co-founder and spokesperson of Save Women's Sport Australasia, Dr Lawford-Smith gives the example of 'watchful waiting', a current approach to gender dysphoria which could be considered a conversion practice and subject to criminal sanctions under the proposed reforms.[footnote 172] Lawford-Smith and Deves conclude that 'anyone who believes that a liberal society should reserve the right to question new ideologies and protect children from a lifetime of medical dependence should oppose this legislation'.[footnote 173]

Barney Zwartz, a senior fellow at the Centre for Public Christianity, accepts that 'the intentions behind the legislation are good', but is concerned about the Bill's 'massive overreach', fearing that it may lead to broad and unintended consequences for freedom of religion, belief and speech.[footnote 174] Dr Kevin Donnelly, a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University, has called the Bill 'the most draconian of any introduced across Australia', arguing that it denies freedom of conscience and freedom of religion;[footnote 175] while Associate Professor Neil Foster, a legal academic specialising in religion, has said that the Bill to ban conversion practices is 'as bad as they say it is' and that it 'makes the presentation of some aspects of Biblical teaching unlawful if the aim of that teaching is to encourage someone to follow that teaching in their own life'.[footnote 176]

Elsewhere, Nick Cater, the executive director of the Menzies Research Centre (MRC), has labelled the Bill 'an attack on freedom of religion and parental rights by activists who regard the very existence of categories of sex and sexuality to be oppressive'.[footnote 177] The MRC has recently released the results of a survey of 500 adult Victorians, which found that six out of ten people supported the right for a person to change their gender. One in four people were supportive when asked if 'saying a prayer for a person struggling with gender identity should be a criminal offence'.[footnote 178] Mr Cater added that, although Australians are 'broadly accepting of individual choices' when it comes to gender or matters of faith, 'the proposal to make it illegal to pray for someone is a step way too far for most people'.[footnote 179]

Mark Sneddon, the executive director of the Melbourne-based Institute for Civil Society has asserted that the Bill would create 'the broadest and harshest ban in the world'.[footnote 180] Similarly, Peter Kurti, a director at the Centre for Independent Studies, argues that what sets the Victorian Bill apart from other laws is that it expands the meaning of conversion practices to include prayer—a decision that he labels 'an extraordinary act of authoritarian over-reach'.[footnote 181]

Additionally, scholars from RMIT University have argued that, while state-based reforms to ban conversion practices represent progress, it is actually a national approach that is needed 'to adequately protect LGBTIQ Australians from the devastating impact of conversion therapy'.[footnote 182]

 

Jurisdictional comparison

Below is a brief summary of relevant legislation in selected Australian jurisdictions.

Jurisdiction

Legislation

Notes

QLD

Health Legislation Amendment Act 2020

Queensland was the first Australian jurisdiction to legislate a ban on conversion practices.[footnote 183]

The Health Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 was introduced into the Queensland Parliament in November 2019.[footnote 184] At the time of the Bill's introduction, then-Minister for Health, Dr Steven Miles, stated that he 'strongly oppose[footnote d] any suggestion that being LGBTIQ is a disorder that requires medical treatment'.[footnote 185] As such, Dr Miles stated that conversion practices were 'not a legitimate health therapy' and that they represented 'an appalling practice that has no place in modern society, let alone Queensland's health system'.[footnote 186] The Bill passed the Legislative Assembly and was assented to on 20 August 2020.[footnote 187]

The Health Legislation Amendment Act 2020 inserts a new section into the state's Public Health Act 2005 to define conversion practices. Unlike the Victorian Bill, this legislation includes the term 'conversion therapy', which is described as 'a practice that attempts to change or suppress a person's sexual orientation or gender identity'.[footnote 188] The Act also introduces a prohibition on conversion therapy and creates a criminal offence to that end.

In contrast to the legislation introduced in the ACT (see below) and the proposed law in Victoria, the criminal offence in Queensland's legislation applies only to health services providers.[footnote 189] In practice, this means that informal approaches—for example, unregulated or secular counselling services, pastoral care or counselling, and mentoring programs—are not captured by the legislation.[footnote 190]

The maximum penalty for a health service provider who performs conversion therapy on another person is up to 12 months' imprisonment, or a fine of up to $13,345; if the practice is performed on a vulnerable person (meaning a child or a person who has impaired capacity), the penalty is higher—up to 18 months' imprisonment or a fine of up to $20,017.[footnote 191] It is a misdemeanour offence, triable before a magistrate.[footnote 192]

The provisions came into effect on the day the Act was assented to and are currently in operation.

ACT

Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Act 2020

The Australian Capital Territory became the second jurisdiction to ban conversion practices.

The Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Bill 2020 was introduced in the ACT Assembly on 13 August 2020. Upon the Bill's introduction, the Minister for Justice, Shane Rattenbury, stated that the ACT Government wanted to 'send a clear message' that conversion practices would not be tolerated, and that they were 'abhorrent, dangerous and outdated'.[footnote 193]

Before being passed, the Bill was amended by the ACT Government due to concerns raised by several groups—including the ACT Law Society, the Association of Christian Schools and the Opposition—that its definition of a conversion practice was 'too broad and vague' and could lead to the criminalisation of teachers and parents.[footnote 194] The Government amendment affords a person 'the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion' under section 14 of the Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT) and clarifies that it is 'not intended that a mere expression of a religious tenet or belief would constitute a sexuality or gender identity conversion practice'.[footnote 195]

The Bill passed the Legislative Assembly later that month and comes into operation on 4 March 2021.[footnote 196]

The Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Act 2020 affirms that all people have characteristics of sexuality and gender identity, and that no combination of those characteristics 'constitutes a disorder, disease, illness, deficiency, disability or shortcoming'.[footnote 197] The Act also aims to recognise and prevent the harm caused by conversion practices.[footnote 198]

Under the Act, a sexuality or gender identity conversion practice is defined as 'a treatment or other practice the purpose, or purported purpose, of which is to change a person's sexuality or gender identity'.[footnote 199]

It is an offence to perform a conversion practice on a protected person (a child or a person with impaired decision-making ability), whether or not that person or their parent/guardian consents to that practice.[footnote 200] The maximum penalty is up to 12 months' imprisonment, a fine of up to $24,000, or both.[footnote 201] Similar to the proposed reforms in Victoria, it is also an offence to remove a protected person from the ACT for the purposes of a conversion practice (and attracts the same maximum penalty as performing a conversion practice).[footnote 202]

In contrast to the Queensland legislation, the criminal offences in the ACT legislation are not limited to health services providers.[footnote 203] The Act also empowers the territory's Human Rights Commission to deal with complaints relating to conversion practices and to refer complaints to the ACT Civil & Administrative Tribunal, which in turn can make orders it considers appropriate.[footnote 204]

The Minister for Justice clarified that the Act does not intend to infringe upon a person's religion, nor to impose criminal sanctions on medical professionals who provide 'legitimate services which relate to the free development and/or affirmation of one's sexuality or gender identity'.[footnote 205]

CTH

N/A

The Australian Government does not currently have legislation in place to ban conversion practices.

In the lead-up to the 2019 federal election, the Australian Labor Party pledged to introduce a nation-wide ban on conversion practices, which it termed 'dangerous and discredited'.[footnote 206] When Prime Minister Scott Morrison was asked at that time about the Labor Opposition's policy, he stated, 'I don't support gay conversion therapy, don't recommend it, never have but it's ultimately a matter for the states'.[footnote 207]

Shortly afterwards, and in response to an election survey conducted by Equality Australia, the Morrison Government clarified its position in relation to conversion practices:

The Morrison Government remains committed to addressing the mental health of all Australians, including the LGBTI community, and this also relates to opposition to gay conversion therapy. The Government will work with the states, which have legal responsibility in this area, to ensure such practices are not supported or occurring.[footnote 208]

The Australian Greens support a ban on conversion practices.[footnote 209]

NSW

N/A

New South Wales does not currently have legislation in place to ban conversion practices.

In 2018, the Member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich, put a number of questions to the NSW Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard, enquiring as to what action the Government had taken, or was planning to take, in relation to conversion practices.[footnote 210] In response, the Minister for Health stated that the NSW Ministry of Health supports the APS Position Statement on the use of psychological practices that attempt to change a person's sexual orientation and that the Government 'strongly opposes any form of mental health practice that treats homosexuality as a disorder'.[footnote 211]

Mr Hazzard has stated previously that the NSW Government is 'on the same page' as the Andrews Government in terms of the desire to 'protect the rights and also the mental health of all members of the community'.[footnote 212] However, in February 2020, the Health Minister stated that, while he agreed conversion practices should be abolished, he believed it was more appropriate for the issue to be addressed at a national level—arguing that conversion practices affect 'communities right across Australia'.[footnote 213]

SA

N/A

South Australia does not currently have legislation in place to ban conversion practices.

In July 2020, the state's Shadow Minister for Human Services, Nat Cook, indicated that she was drafting legislation to outlaw conversion practices.[footnote 214] Under the proposed legislation, those trying to suppress or change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity could face up to eight years' imprisonment, with the higher penalties reserved for those who performed a conversion practice on a child or vulnerable adult.[footnote 215]

Initially, Ms. Cook indicated that the Health Complaints Commissioner and the SA Police would be tasked with enforcing the ban through changes to the Health and Community Services Complaints Act and the Criminal Law Consolidation Act, but has since clarified that this was not the only possible avenue for implementing a ban.[footnote 216] Ms Cook indicated that she was observing how legislation was being implemented in other jurisdictions, and that experiences of survivors were expected to play a central role in drafting the Bill.[footnote 217]

The State's Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman, indicated that she had been considering how a ban could operate as a criminal offence, while the Greens offered in-principle support for a Bill.[footnote 218]

TAS

N/A

Tasmania does not currently have legislation in place to ban conversion practices.

In November 2020, the Tasmania Law Reform Institute announced that it was seeking feedback on potential reforms to state law relating to sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) conversion practices.[footnote 219]

The Institute released an Issues Paper for public consultation, to serve as the basis for a discussion in Tasmania about whether and how the law should be reformed in response to contemporary evidence about the harm caused by SOGI conversion practices, and in light of recent changes to the law in other Australian jurisdictions.[footnote 220]

The Issues Paper contended that conversion practices were likely to be occurring in Tasmania, and that the existing laws in the state appeared to be 'incomplete and limited' in their ability to apply to them.[footnote 221] The questions put to the community included: what legal definitions could be possible; whether law reform was necessary (and what that might look like); as well as whether other measures may be needed to respond to conversion practices.[footnote 222]

Submissions to the public consultation closed on 28 January 2021. Responses will be used to inform a Final Report and recommendations, which will be provided to the Tasmanian government.[footnote 223]

WA

N/A

Western Australia does not currently have specific legislation in place to ban conversion practices.

In 2018, the WA Minister for Health, Roger Cook, responded to a letter from Amnesty International activists indicating his strong opposition to conversion practices. Mr Cook committed to reviewing the state's legislation to determine whether reform was needed.[footnote 224]

In September 2020, Greens MLC, Alison Xamon, put questions on conversion practices to the parliamentary secretary representing the Minister for Mental Health. These included whether any work had been done by the WA Government to determine the extent of conversion practices in the state, and if the government would commit to banning conversion practices more broadly.[footnote 225]

In its response, the WA Government indicated that it was opposed to conversion practices, but did not commit to legislating a ban outright. Instead, it acknowledged that numerous medical associations, including the AMA, were against psychological practices attempting to change a person's sexual orientation, and that practitioners engaging in that type of conduct could be breaching their professional codes.[footnote 226] The Government also voiced its support for the national code of conduct for unregulated healthcare workers that was being drafted at that time, and argued that, once implemented, the code would 'protect the public by setting minimum standards of conduct and practice for public and private healthcare workers'.[footnote 227]

Additionally, the Government acknowledged that feedback received during Victoria's inquiry into conversion practices had shown the benefit in providing counselling services for survivors, together with legislation to prohibit conversion practices. It indicated that separate legislation similar to Victoria's, which at that time had not yet been introduced, 'could be considered in the future if the national code of conduct was not effective in preventing gay conversion therapy'.[footnote 228]

Ms Xamon subsequently criticised the government's response, for what she saw as its 'failure' to commit to banning conversion practices, including in religious and informal settings.[footnote 229]

NT

N/A

The Northern Territory does not currently have legislation in place to ban conversion practices. There appear to have been no announcements by the NT Government on its intentions concerning conversion practices to date.

Conversion practices have been banned in a number of countries around the world, including Brazil, Malta and Germany, as well as in parts of Spain and the United States.[footnote 230] Canada is discussing a national ban, while a ban has been pledged by leaders in the United Kingdom and in New Zealand.[footnote 231] The United Nations has also called for an end to conversion practices around the world, stating that the practice may amount to torture.[footnote 232]

 

References

Legislation

§ Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 (Vic)

§ Equal Opportunity Act 2010(Vic)

§ Family Violence Protection Act 2008(Vic)

§ Health Complaints Act 2016(Vic)

§ Health Legislation Amendment Act 2020(Qld)

§ Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Victoria) Act 2009(Vic)

§ Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009(Qld)

§ Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010(Vic)

§ Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Act 2020(ACT)

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Willett, G. (2005) 'Psyched in: Psychology, psychiatry and homosexuality in Australia', Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review, 1(2), pp. 53–57.

Willingham, R. (2020) 'Victorian Opposition demands more consultation on gay conversion ban bill', ABC News, 8 December.

Woolfe, M. (2020) 'South Australian ban on conversion therapy to be shaped by survivors', Star Observer, 19 August.

Xamon, M. (2020) Greens appalled at WA Labor Government failure to commit to banning LGBTIQ conversion practices, media release, 11 September.

Zwartz, B. (2020) 'Conversion bill: churches fear state overreach on religion', The Age, 14 December.

 

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Some hyperlinks may only be accessible on the Parliament of Victoria's intranet. All links are current and available as at the time of publication.

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[footnote 1] Other uses of this initialism include LGBTI, LGBTIQ, and LGBTIQA+, which encompass the plurality of identities including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender diverse, intersex, queer, asexual and questioning. This paper uses 'LGBT', as consistent with references made by the Victorian Government in the Bill's second reading speech and statement of compatibility.

[footnote 2] Australian Human Rights Commission (date unknown) 'Terminology', AHRC website.

[footnote 3] Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic), s 4.

[footnote 4] Australian Institute of Family Studies (2019) 'LGBTIQA+ communities: Glossary of common terms', AIFS website.

[footnote 5] ibid.

[footnote 6] ibid.

[footnote 7] Australian Human Rights Commission (date unknown) op. cit.

[footnote 8] Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic), s 4.

[footnote 9] Australian Human Rights Commission (date unknown) op. cit.

[footnote 10] L. Sandy, A. Powell &amp; R. Hiscock (2020) 'Why Australia needs a national ban on conversion therapy', The Conversation, 8 September.

[footnote 11] ibid. 'Cisgender' refers to people who identify their gender with that which was assigned to them at birth—for example, someone who identifies as a woman and was assigned female at birth. See: Australian Human Rights Commission (date unknown) op. cit.

[footnote 12] L. Sandy, A. Powell &amp; R. Hiscock (2020) op. cit.

[footnote 13] V. Madrigal-Borloz (2020) Report on conversion therapy, Geneva, UN Human Rights Council.

[footnote 14] L. Sandy, A. Powell &amp; R. Hiscock (2020) op. cit.; F. Tomazin (2018) ''I am profoundly unsettled': inside the hidden world of gay conversion therapy', The Age, 9 March.

[footnote 15] L. Sandy, A. Powell &amp; R. Hiscock (2020) op. cit.

[footnote 16] V. Madrigal-Borloz (2020) op. cit.

[footnote 17] R. Thoreson (2020) 'Why banning anti-LGBT 'Conversion Therapy' isn't enough', Human Rights Watch website; L. Sandy, A. Powell &amp; R. Hiscock (2020) op. cit.

[footnote 18] J. Hennessy, Attorney-General (2020) 'Second reading speech: Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020', Debates, Victoria, Legislative Assembly, 26 November, p. 3723.

[footnote 19] ibid.

[footnote 20] Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 (Vic), cl 5(1).

[footnote 21] J. Hennessy, Attorney-General (2020) 'Statement of Compatibility: Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020', Debates, Victoria, Legislative Assembly, 26 November, p. 3721.

[footnote 22] ibid., pp. 3721–3722.

[footnote 23] Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Act 2020 (ACT), s 7(1).

[footnote 24] Health Legislation Amendment Act 2020 (Qld), s 28.

[footnote 25] Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 (Vic), cl 5(2).

[footnote 26] Amnesty International Australia (2020) 'What are conversion practices?', AIA website.

[footnote 27] ibid.

[footnote 28] M. Johnson &amp; J. Bennett (2018) ''Treatments' as torture: gay conversion therapy's deep roots in Australia', The Conversation, 3 May; T. W. Jones et al. (2018) Preventing harm, promoting justice: Responding to LGBT conversion therapy in Australia, Melbourne, La Trobe University &amp; Human Rights Law Centre, p. 19.

[footnote 29] G. Carbery (2014) Towards Homosexual Equality in Australian Criminal Law – A Brief History, Parkville, Australian Lesbian &amp; Gay Archives, pp. 3, 13.

[footnote 30] See: T. W. Jones et al. (2018) op. cit., Appendix, p. 72.

[footnote 31] ibid., p. 13.

[footnote 32] G. Willett (2005) 'Psyched in: Psychology, psychiatry and homosexuality in Australia', Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review, 1(2), pp. 53–57.

[footnote 33] T. W. Jones et al. (2018) op. cit., p. 13.

[footnote 34] ibid.

[footnote 35] ibid., p. 13.

[footnote 36] ibid.

[footnote 37] ibid., p. 14.

[footnote 38] ibid., pp. 2, 14.

[footnote 39] ibid., p. 15.

[footnote 40] ibid.

[footnote 41] ibid.

[footnote 42] L. Sandy, A. Powell &amp; R. Hiscock (2020) op. cit.

[footnote 43] T. W. Jones et al. (2018) op. cit., p. 3.

[footnote 44] ibid., p. 11.

[footnote 45] ibid., p. 13.

[footnote 46] ibid., p. 15.

[footnote 47] ibid., p. 16.

[footnote 48] ibid., pp. 58–61.

[footnote 49] ibid.

[footnote 50] ibid., p 16.

[footnote 51] T. W. Jones et al. (2018) op. cit., p. 53.

[footnote 52] In Victoria, the relevant Act is the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Victoria) Act 2009.

[footnote 53] Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 (Qld), Sch, Part 1, s 3(2).

[footnote 54] T. W. Jones et al. (2018) op. cit., p. 53.

[footnote 55] Health Complaints Act 2016 (Vic), s 1.

[footnote 56] ibid., Sch 2, ss 1–2, 4, 9.

[footnote 57] T. W. Jones et al. (2018) op. cit., p. 55.

[footnote 58] ibid., p. 44.

[footnote 59] Australian Medical Association (2002) AMA Position Statement: Sexual Diversity and Gender Identity, Barton, AMA, p. 4.

[footnote 60] Australian Medical Association (2020) 'AMA President Dr Tony Bartone on SKY News - Conversion therapy - 4 Sep 2018', AMA website.

[footnote 61] Australian Psychological Society (2018) The APS does not support gay conversion therapy, media release, 17 October.

[footnote 62] Australian Psychological Society (2015) APS Position Statement on Psychological Practices that attempt to change Sexual Orientation, Melbourne, APS, p. 1.

[footnote 63] ibid.

[footnote 64] Australian Psychological Society (2019) APS calls for Australia-wide ban on gay conversion therapy, media release, 4 February.

[footnote 65] T. W. Jones et al. (2018) op. cit., p. 53.

[footnote 66] ibid., p. 66.

[footnote 67] ibid., p. 67.

[footnote 68] Victorian Government (2020) 'Report on the inquiry into conversion therapy - Executive summary', Health.vic website.

[footnote 69] Health Complaints Commissioner (date unknown) Inquiry into Conversion Therapy/Practices in Victoria: Terms of Reference, Melbourne, Health Complaints Commissioner, p. 2.

[footnote 70] Health Complaints Commissioner (2019) Health Complaints Commissioner welcomes new laws to denounce and prohibit LGBTI conversion practices following HCC inquiry, media release, 3 February.

[footnote 71] Health Complaints Commissioner (2018) Health Complaints Commissioner progresses conversion therapy inquiry, media release, 4 September.

[footnote 72] Health Complaints Commissioner (2019) Report on the Inquiry into Conversion Therapy: Executive Summary, Melbourne, Health Complaints Commissioner, p. 2.

[footnote 73] ibid.

[footnote 74] ibid., p. 3.

[footnote 75] D. Andrews, Premier of Victoria (2019) Labor Government to make conversion 'therapy' against the law, media release, 3 February.

[footnote 76] Health Complaints Commissioner (2019) Health Complaints Commissioner welcomes new laws to denounce and prohibit LGBTI conversion practices following HCC inquiry, op. cit.

[footnote 77] ibid.

[footnote 78] J. Hennessy, Attorney-General (2019) Consultation begins on LGBTIQ conversion therapy ban, media release, 14 October.

[footnote 79] Victorian Government (2019) Discussion Paper: Legislative options to implement a ban of conversion practices, Melbourne, Victorian Government.

[footnote 80] ibid., pp. 3–9.

[footnote 81] Victorian Government (date unknown) Legislative options to implement a ban on conversion practices: Consultation outcomes report, Melbourne, Victorian Government, p. 5.

[footnote 82] Department of Justice and Community Safety (date unknown) 'Change or Suppression Practices - Legislative Ban', Engage Victoria website.

[footnote 83] Victorian Government (date unknown) Legislative options to implement a ban on conversion practices: Consultation outcomes report, op. cit., p. 3.

[footnote 84] ibid.

[footnote 85] ibid.

[footnote 86] ibid.

[footnote 87] ibid., p. 4.

[footnote 88] ibid.

[footnote 89] ibid.

[footnote 90] ibid.

[footnote 91] (date unknown) 'Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020', Victorian Legislation website.

[footnote 92] J. Hennessy, Attorney-General (2020) Banning cruel conversion practices for good, media release, 25 November.

[footnote 93] ibid.

[footnote 94] J. Hennessy, Attorney-General (2020) 'Second reading speech: Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020', op. cit., p. 3723.

[footnote 95] ibid., p. 3722.

[footnote 96] ibid.

[footnote 97] ibid.

[footnote 98] ibid., p. 3723.

[footnote 99] Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 (Vic), cl 5(3)–(4).

[footnote 100] J. Hennessy, Attorney-General (2020) 'Second reading speech: Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020', op. cit., p. 3723.

[footnote 101] Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 (Vic), cl 9.

[footnote 102] J. Hennessy, Attorney-General (2020) 'Statement of Compatibility: Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020', op. cit., p. 3719.

[footnote 103] Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 (Vic), cl 8.

[footnote 104] J. Hennessy, Attorney-General (2020) 'Second reading speech: Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020', op. cit., p. 3725.

[footnote 105] Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 (Vic), cl 17.

[footnote 106] ibid., cl 18.

[footnote 107] ibid., cl 19.

[footnote 108] ibid., cl 21.

[footnote 109] ibid., cl 24.

[footnote 110] ibid., cl 27.

[footnote 111] ibid., cl 28.

[footnote 112] ibid., cl 29–30.

[footnote 113] ibid., cl 35–37.

[footnote 114] ibid., cl 43–46.

[footnote 115] J. Hennessy, Attorney-General (2020) 'Second reading speech: Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020', op. cit., p. 3725.

[footnote 116] ibid.

[footnote 117] J. Hennessy, Attorney-General (2020) 'Second reading speech: Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020', op. cit., p. 3726.

[footnote 118] ibid.

[footnote 119] Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 (Vic), cl 10–11. The current value of a penalty unit in Victoria for FY 20/21 is $165.22. See: Department of Justice and Community Safety (2020) 'Penalties and values', DJCS website.

[footnote 120] Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 (Vic), cl 12.

[footnote 121] ibid., cl 13.

[footnote 122] ibid., cl 14.

[footnote 123] J. Hennessy, Attorney-General (2020) 'Second reading speech: Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020', op. cit., p. 3726.

[footnote 124] Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 (Vic), cl. 59(1).

[footnote 125] ibid., cl 59(3).

[footnote 126] ibid., cl 59(2).

[footnote 127] ibid., cl 60.

[footnote 128] J. Hennessy, Attorney-General (2020) 'Second reading speech: Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020', op. cit., p. 3724.

[footnote 129] ibid.

[footnote 130] Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 (Vic), cl 64–65.

[footnote 131] J. Hennessy, Attorney-General (2020) 'Second reading speech: Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020', op. cit., p. 3724.

[footnote 132] Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 (Vic), cl 57.

[footnote 133] ibid., cl 57(2)–(3).

[footnote 134] (date unknown) 'Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020', Victorian Legislation website.

[footnote 135] Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (2020) Commission welcomes introduction of the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020, media release, 25 November.

[footnote 136] ibid.

[footnote 137] N. Despott &amp; C. Csabs (2020) 'Victoria's conversion bill is world-leading legislation', The Age, 8 December.

[footnote 138] Thorne Harbour Health (2020) Supporting Victoria's Bill to Ban Conversion Practices, media release, 25 November.

[footnote 139] ibid.

[footnote 140] Victorian Pride Lobby (date unknown) Conversion practices bill welcomed by LGBT+ advocates, media release.

[footnote 141] ibid.

[footnote 142] Equality Australia (2020) World-leading LGBTQ+ conversion legislation introduced in Victoria, media release, 25 November.

[footnote 143] Cited in F. Tomazin (2020) 'Gay conversion legislation puts Andrews on a collision course with churches', The Age, 5 December.

[footnote 144] Australian Christian Lobby (2020) Daniel Andrews' Anti-Conversion Bill Built on Lies, media release, 30 November.

[footnote 145] ibid.

[footnote 146] ibid.

[footnote 147] Australian Christian Lobby (2021) 'Advertisement', Herald Sun, 30 January.

[footnote 148] ibid.

[footnote 149] ibid.

[footnote 150] Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne (2020) Statement re Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020, media release, 8 December.

[footnote 151] ibid.

[footnote 152] ibid.

[footnote 153] ibid.

[footnote 154] Jewish Community Council of Victoria &amp; Jewish Care Victoria (2019) Jewish Care Victoria and JCCV partner to support ban of LGBTQ+ conversion therapy, media release, 12 December.

[footnote 155] ibid.

[footnote 156] ibid.

[footnote 157] Jewish Care Victoria (2020) Jewish Care Victoria welcomes legislative ban on harmful LGBTI+ conversion practices, media release, 30 November.

[footnote 158] Equality Australia (2020) Multicultural voices in support of the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020, media release, 9 December.

[footnote 159] R. Willingham (2020) 'Victorian Opposition demands more consultation on gay conversion ban bill', ABC News, 8 December.

[footnote 160] (date unknown) 'Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020', Victorian Legislation website (see 'Southwick – reasoned amendment').

[footnote 161] ibid.

[footnote 162] Victorian Greens (2020) Victorian ban on 'dangerous' conversion practices long overdue, media release, 25 November.

[footnote 163] (2020) 'APS welcomes Victoria's ban on gay conversion practices', Mirage News, 26 November.

[footnote 164] ibid. See also: Australian Psychological Society (2019) APS calls for Australia-wide ban on gay conversion therapy, op. cit.

[footnote 165] Australian Association of Social Workers (2019) Australian Social Workers Call For States To Ban 'Gay Conversion Therapy', media release, 8 February.

[footnote 166] Australian Medical Association (2020) 'AMA President Dr Tony Bartone on SKY News - Conversion therapy - 4 Sep 2018', op. cit.

[footnote 167] Law Institute of Victoria (2020) Legislation to ban conversion therapy welcomed by LIV, media release, 9 December.

[footnote 168] ibid.

[footnote 169] T. Jones (2020) 'Churches' fears for conversion bill are unfounded', The Age, 15 December.

[footnote 170] Cited in F. Tomazin (2020) op. cit.

[footnote 171] H. Lawford-Smith (2020) 'Real problem with Victoria's proposed new conversion therapy laws', Herald Sun, 8 December.

[footnote 172] K. Deves &amp; H. Lawford-Smith (2020) 'What is Victoria's ban on 'conversion therapy' actually trying to achieve?', Crikey, 22 December.

[footnote 173] ibid.

[footnote 174] B. Zwartz (2020) 'Conversion bill: churches fear state overreach on religion', The Age, 14 December.

[footnote 175] K. Donnelly (2020) 'Gender law has no balance', Herald Sun, 8 December.

[footnote 176] N. Foster (2021) 'Victoria's Conversion Practices Bill is as bad as they say it is', Freedom for Faith, 18 January.

[footnote 177] N. Cater (2021) 'Daniel Andrews courts the militant politics of gender revolution', The Australian, 26 January.

[footnote 178] K. Rooney (2021) 'New concern over Victoria's gay conversion laws', Sunday Herald Sun, 17 January.

[footnote 179] Cited in ibid.

[footnote 180] M. Sneddon (2021) 'Victoria's 'conversion therapy' bill is too broad and too harsh', Mercatornet, 25 January.

[footnote 181] P. Kurti (2021) 'Victoria's anti-belief law will face many obstacles', Canberra Times, 17 January.

[footnote 182] L. Sandy, A. Powell &amp; R. Hiscock (2020) op. cit.

[footnote 183] (2020) 'Queensland has become the first Australian state to ban gay conversion therapy', SBS News, 13 August.

[footnote 184] Queensland Government (2020) 'Health Legislation Amendment Bill 2019', Queensland Legislation website.

[footnote 185] Cited in (2019) 'Queensland to outlaw 'appalling' gay conversion therapy', SBS News, 28 November.

[footnote 186] ibid.

[footnote 187] Queensland Government (2021) 'Health Legislation Amendment Act 2020', Queensland Legislation website.

[footnote 188] Health Legislation Amendment Act 2020 (Qld), s 28—proposed Chapter 5B, s 213F.

[footnote 189] ibid., s 213H(1).

[footnote 190] B. Symons (2020) 'Gay conversion practices to be outlawed by the Victorian Government', ABC News, 8 November.

[footnote 191] Health Legislation Amendment Act 2020 (Qld), s 28—proposed Chapter 5B, s 213H(1)–(3). The current value of a penalty unit in Queensland is $133.45; see: Queensland Government (2020) 'Value of a penalty unit', Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs website.

[footnote 192] Tasmania Law Reform Institute (2020) Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conversion Practices, Issues Paper No 31, Hobart, University of Tasmania, p. 30.

[footnote 193] S. Rattenbury, Minister for Justice (2020) Protecting Canberrans from harmful sexuality and gender identity conversion practices, media release, 18 August.

[footnote 194] P. Doherty &amp; T. Roy (2020) 'LGBTQ conversion therapy banned in Canberra as Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Bill passes', ABC News, 27 August.

[footnote 195] ibid. See also: Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Act 2020 (ACT), s 7.

[footnote 196] Australian Capital Territory Government (2021) 'Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Act 2020', ACT Legislation Register website.

[footnote 197] Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Act 2020 (ACT), s 6.

[footnote 198] ibid.

[footnote 199] ibid., s 7.

[footnote 200] ibid, ss 3, 8.

[footnote 201] ibid., s 8. The current value of a penalty unit in the ACT is $160; see: Legislation Act 2001 (ACT), s 133.

[footnote 202] ibid., s 9.

[footnote 203] ibid., s 8.

[footnote 204] ibid., sch 1.

[footnote 205] S. Rattenbury, Minister for Justice (2020) op. cit.

[footnote 206] Cited in F. Tomazin (2019) ''Dangerous and discredited': Labor pledges to ban gay conversion therapy', Sydney Morning Herald, 22 April.

[footnote 207] Cited in P. Karp (2019) 'Coalition takes tougher line on gay conversion therapy after Labor promises ban', The Guardian, 24 April.

[footnote 208] A. Hirst, Federal Director, Liberal Party of Australia (2019) Morrison Government response to Equality Australia, Barton, Liberal Party of Australia, p. 3.

[footnote 209] P. Karp (2019) op. cit.

[footnote 210] New South Wales, Legislative Assembly (2018) <href="#page=79">Question 8684: Reparative Therapy, 27 July, p. 7969.

[footnote 211] ibid.

[footnote 212] Cited in J. Noyes (2019) '<href="#comments">NSW government 'on the same page' as Victoria on gay conversion therapy', Sydney Morning Herald, 24 February.

[footnote 213] Cited in F. Jane (2020) 'Prime Minister &amp; NSW Health Minister at odds over conversion therapy', Star Observer, 9 September.

[footnote 214] S. Richards &amp; A. Skujins (2020) 'SA move to outlaw conversion therapy', InDaily, 16 July.

[footnote 215] ibid.

[footnote 216] M. Woolfe (2020) 'South Australian ban on conversion therapy to be shaped by survivors', Star Observer, 19 August.

[footnote 217] ibid.

[footnote 218] S. Richards &amp; A. Skujins (2020) op. cit.

[footnote 219] University of Tasmania (2020) Conversion Practices: Public Consultation, media release, 27 November.

[footnote 220] ibid.

[footnote 221] Tasmania Law Reform Institute (2020) Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conversion Practices, op. cit., p. v.

[footnote 222] ibid.

[footnote 223] Tasmania Law Reform Institute (2021) 'Conversion Practices: Law Reform Options for Tasmania', University of Tasmania website.

[footnote 224] Amnesty International Australia (2018) 'Queensland and Western Australia one step closer to outlawing LGBT+ 'conversion therapy'', AIA website.

[footnote 225] Western Australia, Legislative Council (2020) Question Without Notice No. 893: Conversion Practices, 10 September.

[footnote 226] ibid.

[footnote 227] ibid.

[footnote 228] ibid.

[footnote 229] M. Xamon (2020) Greens appalled at WA Labor Government failure to commit to banning LGBTIQ conversion practices, media release, 11 September.

[footnote 230] L. Sandy, A. Powell &amp; R. Hiscock (2020) op. cit.

[footnote 231] ibid.; (2020) 'Jacinda Ardern pledges gay conversion therapy ban if re-elected', SBS News, 5 October.

[footnote 232] T. Fitzsimons (2020) 'U.N. calls for global end to conversion therapy, says it 'may amount to torture'', NBC News, 14 June.