The Change and Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 introduced by the Andrews Labor government passed the Victorian lower house and is disturbingly now one step closer to becoming law.
The banning of harmful conversion practises has wide support. However, the scope of this bill goes much further. It has been described by the Archbishop of Melbourne, Peter Comensoli, as:
“…a dramatic over-reach of the state into the contexts of prayer, conversion, pastoral conversation, spiritual accompaniment, family life and the freedom of individuals.”
Under these laws parents may be found to be family violence offenders if they fail to affirm their child’s non biological gender. Likewise suggesting your child wait before undertaking irreversible medical treatment to change their gender would be considered an offence.
Just as concerning is the classification of prayer as a conversion practice. This is the first time any government in Australia has sought to regulate who you can pray for, or what you can pray about.
This is a serious restriction on our freedom of thought, conscience and religious expression. Martyn Iles explains the harmful effect this legislation will have in The Truth of It here.
During the parliamentary debate, some Liberal/National Opposition MPs raised specific concerns about the rights of parents and the age of legal competence to give informed consent for puberty blocker treatments. These MPs also argued for the rights for individuals to seek and access pastoral care and counselling services and the right of organisations to provide these services to individuals who seek them voluntarily.
The bill passed the lower house. In the face of LGBTQ ideology and intimidation, no member of Parliament, ALP, Liberal, Nationals, Greens or Independent voted against the bill.
Before this harmful bill can come into effect, it must pass the Legislative Council. It is currently due to be debated in early February.
For the bill to be blocked or amended in the Legislative Council, the Government, the Opposition and cross benchers will have to realise that a vote for this bill is a vote against the wishes of approx. 73% of Victorians, who are opposed to these changes. This public opposition to the bill was highlighted in the recent community survey on parental rights commissioned by the ACL.
ACL together with you will continue to fight for the protection of your right to raise your children and live in faith communities without this drastic overreach by the Victorian government.
Despite their apparent immovability, MPs must listen to their voters; those that put them there. Let’s keep making truth public