South Australia’s Labor opposition is working on a bill that would outlaw harmful LGBTIQ “conversion therapy” in the state.
Debunked “conversion” therapy practices involve attempting to change, alter or suppress sexual orientation or gender identity using psychological or spiritual means.
South Australia’s Shadow Human Services Minister Nat Cook (pictured) is drafting legislation to outlaw the archaic and dangerous practice of so-called conversion therapy.
Cook, a former healthcare worker, said she had spoken to dozens of LGBTIQ survivors of the therapies. They told her of the “terrible, damaging long-term consequences” they still experienced, she said.
“I think this is a situation where people would be blissfully unaware that this was actually an issue,” she told InDaily.
“Clearly in a society where we expect and insist on equality and inclusion there should be no notion that this type of therapy is even considered.
“To think that there are people out there wilfully and deliberately harming people purely on the basis of their sexuality and gender is something which I find completely unacceptable.
“I don’t think it passes any type of test in this community.”
Cook is proposing SA Police and the Health Complaints Commissioner enforce the ban.
She said penalties would be similar to existing criminal offences such as recklessly causing harm. That crime carries a maximum sentence eight years imprisonment.
Cook said SA Labor would decide next week whether the legislation would be subject to a conscience or party vote. She hopes the party can introduce the bill “as soon as possible” later in the year.
South Australian government seeking advice on ban
South Australian Attorney-General Vickie Chapman told InDaily she is also considering how a ban could operate as a criminal offence.
Chapman said she had sought advice to determine how a conversion therapy ban could work in South Australia.
“This practice has not yet been identified as operating in South Australia but change will still be considered,” she said.
“Conversion therapy is an outdated, ineffective and inappropriate practice.”
Conversion therapy is also outlawed in five countries – Germany, Malta, Ecuador, Brazil, and Taiwan – and 20 states in the USA.
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