The Victorian Liberal Opposition quietly promised the Australian Christian Lobby and others it would amend the state’s ban on LGBT “conversion therapy” if it won the next state election.
Then-opposition leader Michael O’Brien (pictured above left) committed to change parts of the laws if he won the November 2022 election, The Age reported.
Two weeks ago, Matthew Guy replaced Michael O’Brien as Victorian Liberal leader.
Guy recently told queer radio station JOY 94.9 he wished to consult the LGBTIQ community on issues affecting them.
“What’s important? What matters? What’s impacting you?” he asked.
“I don’t want you to think that there’s only one side that listens to you, that there’s only one side of politics that’s interested in issues.
“We’re all Victorians, it doesn’t matter what our sexuality, what our gender is.”
However Liberal Party sources told The Age of the previous, quiet election commitment to faith groups to amend Victoria’s ban on so-called “conversion therapy”.
The Labor government passed the bill in February to outlaw the harmful “conversion” practices in healthcare and religious settings.
The laws target anyone found trying to suppress or change another person’s sexuality or gender identity.
They face up to 10 years prison or fines of almost $10,000 if a court finds “serious injury”.
Conversion therapy survivors lauded the passage of the “world-leading” legislation, but it was opposed by many faith groups.
During the debate on the Bill, the Opposition condemned “barbaric, antiquated conversion practices” but also expressed concerns about religious freedom.
It’s not clear how the Victorian Liberal Opposition planned to change the legislation.
Australian Christian Lobby touted Liberal Party’s commitment
Australian Christian Lobby director Martyn Iles (above right) told an event in Tasmania on September 4 that the party gave him a “written statement” with the pledge.
Iles claimed if elected in November 2022, the Victorian Liberals would “roll back” the legislation, an attendee said.
New Liberal leader Matthew Guy refused to tell The Age which position he would take on the legislation.
He said he hadn’t had enough time in the job to consider his predecessor’s decision.
The Victorian Pride Lobby said the reported election promise was “very disappointing to hear.”
“In the lead up to the 2022 election, we’ll be encouraging all parties to strengthen support and protections for LGBTIQA+ communities, instead of winding them back,” the Lobby tweeted.
The Victorian branch of Rainbow Labor accused the Opposition of “secret deals” to undermine the existing Victorian laws.
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