The Australian Labor Party (ALP), currently sitting in opposition in parliament, has pledged to ban gay conversion therapy nationwide if it wins federal elections next month.
ALP leader Bill Shorten was set on Tuesday (23 April) to announce a slew of pro-LGBTI pledges, according to The Age.
These include a dedicated LGBTI commissioner, extra funding for HIV prevention and treatment, and a clampdown on laws that allow discrimination against trans and non-binary people.
Policy documents seen by The Age show a Shorten government would work with survivor groups to develop strategies to end conversion practices nationwide.
Conversion therapy attempts to change a person’s sexuality or gender identity via psychological or spiritual means. It has no basis in evidential science.
Most medical associations condemn the practice.
A conversion therapy survivors’ group, which has campaigned for a law against the practice, welcomed Labor’s announcement.
We are pleased with the announcement this morning that, if elected, the ALP is committed to working with survivors to tackle LGBT+ Conversion. 💪🏻🏳️🌈
Fed Election:Labor pledges to ban gay conversion therapy#auspol https://t.co/7MHz75ZJMf
— SOCE Survivors (@SoceSurvivors) April 22, 2019
‘A matter for the states’
Prime Minister and leader of the Australian Liberal Party, Scott Morrison, brushed off the issue on Tuesday.
He said it was a matter for the states.
‘I think we should focus on the things we have control over, like lowering taxes for Australians’ he told Sky News.
Labor to outlaw gay conversion therapy. @ScottMorrisonMP: I don’t support gay conversion therapy, but this is ultimately a matter for the states.
I think we should focus on the things we have control over, like lowering taxes for Australians.
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) April 22, 2019
Morrison came under fire in his first month as prime minister for saying conversion therapy was ’not an issue’ for him.
He also referred to teachers trained in gender identity as ‘gender whisperers’.