The NSW government has delayed the introduction of legislation to ban harmful LGBTQ conversion practices until at least early next year.
NSW Premier Chris Minns had pledged to introduce the draft legislation before the end of the year.
But just one sitting week of state parliament remains. The government announced the delay after getting requests from survivors – as well as religious organisations – to conduct further consultation.
Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich also wrote to Premier Chris Minns asking for more time for consultation before introducing the laws.
“While reform is urgent, I share the LGBTIQA+ community’s view that it’s more important that time is taken to ensure that any legislation is done right,” he wrote.
“With just over one week left of Parliament, there is unlikely to be enough time to properly consult survivors in a way that ensures the best legislation for the state.”
Alex Greenwich, who’s gay, has introduced his own separate proposal to ban harmful LGBTQ conversion practices. The NSW government won’t support it but hasn’t explained why.
That proposal is part of Alex’s omnibus equality bill. Other changes include important reforms to benefit trans, gender-diverse and intersex folk.
The Sydney MP said he was working with the Minns government on the reforms. He said he hopes to “achieve significant progress early in 2024.”
Equality Australia disappointed by conversion ban delay
But Equality Australia is disappointed by the government’s conversion ban bill delay.
“The NSW government must deliver legislation that prevents the psychological damage and trauma that conversion practices cause, in whichever settings they occur,” legal director Ghassan Kassisieh said.
Ghassan said the state “cannot allow safe harbours for abuse to remain” in any setting, including in religious settings.
“A strong prohibition backed by a civil-response scheme that is focused on education and prevention is central to any successful reform,” he said.
He said the state government must “use this time to listen to the voices of those who have been harmed and deliver what’s needed” to end the practices.
“This could have been done quicker and simpler if the NSW Government had centred the voices of conversion survivors over the noise from those who seek to continue harmful practices that attempt to change or suppress who we are,” Ghassan said.
NSW Premier Chris Minns delays bill
Premier Chris Minns said he intends to fulfil his election commitment to ban harmful conversion practices in the state.
“It’s clear though that we need more time and more consultation and I want to get this right,” he said.
“Stakeholders have asked for more time to work through this.
“We’ll continue to engage and consult with a view to bringing a bill early next year.”
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