Victorian Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices legislation passed.

At 10:30pm last night the Victorian Legislative Council passed the Victorian Government’s controversial Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020.

The Bill was passed with the Government rejecting all amendments proposed by the Opposition and cross-bench MLCs and the long list of organisations that have urged the government to amend the legislation including:

  • Law Institute of Victoria,
  • Australian Medical Association,
  • Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists,
  • ­ National Association of Practising Psychiatrists,
  • Islamic Council of Victoria,
  • Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese, and
  • Victorian Women’s Guild.

A number of MPs spoke of the thousands of emails and messages they had received about the Bill, overwhelmingly raising concerns.

Prior to the detailed debate the Opposition proposed an initial general amendment that the Bill not be progressed “until further urgent consultation is undertaken with all stakeholders and the inherent significant issues with the Bill can be addressed and appropriate amendments urgently made, including express clarification of —

  1. the rights of children and their parents, particularly in relation to seeking assistance with gender identity and sexual orientation issues including gender dysphoria;
  2. the legal competence of children under 18 years of age, to provide informed consent for gender transitioning hormonal drug treatment, the puberty blocker treatment;
  3. the rights of individuals to voluntarily seek assistance for gender identity and sexual orientation issues including via pastoral care and faith organisation counselling services;
  4. the rights of faith organisations to provide such pastoral care and counselling services to individuals who voluntarily seek assistance; and
  5. the rights of health care professionals to provide assistance and care to individuals who seek help for gender identity or sexual orientation issues.”.

This proposal, reflecting the broad concerns expressed by ourselves and a range of other groups, was supported by

  • Mr Atkinson; Dr Bach; Ms Bath; Ms Crozier; Mr Davis; Mr Finn; Ms Lovell; Mrs McArthur; and Mr O’Donohue of the Opposition;
  • Mr Bourman (Shooter, Fisher and Farmers Party);
  • Dr Cumming (Independent);
  • Mr Grimley and Ms Maxwell (Derryn Hinch Justice Party);
  • Mr Hayes (Sustainable Australia Party);
  • Mr Limbrick and Mr Quilty (Liberal Democrats)

In the detailed discussion on the Bill the Opposition and a number of cross bench parties asked a range of questions regarding the impact of the Bill and secured some helpful responses.  While the campaign regarding the Bill was not successful in stopping it or ensuring amendments were made these responses, and other claims about protections by the Government will prove valuable.