The Australian Capital Territory government is trying to use the coronavirus pandemic as cover for a sham consultation that closes on Monday, the Australian Christian Lobby said this afternoon.
“We learned indirectly that the government is conducting a clandestine review into alleged concerns about ‘conversion practices’ that purportedly target LGBT people,” ACL spokesman Dan Flynn said. “The types of actions other governments are proposing in the ‘conversion’ area target people of faith, so naturally faith-based groups like ourselves take a strong interest."
“Yet the documents supporting this review assert that the government did not go to public consultation due to COVID-19 related concerns. No pandemic concerns arise from emailing organisations, advertising in newspapers, on radio, online or via social media."
“The Australian Christian Lobby condemns coercive or abusive practices and is not aware that they are occurring in Australia, or that any group, religious or otherwise, is advancing them.
“The faith-based community in the ACT is however concerned that a ban on 'LGBT conversion practices' will have implications for the teaching of scripture in churches and religious schools.
“It is a wider community concern that such a ban would restrict best practice care for young people with gender dysphoria and reduce the counselling options available to adults.
“The ACT review claims that there are ‘10 organisations across Australia and New Zealand’ offering LGBT conversion ‘therapies’. This claim is not substantiated by the ACT government.
“The ACT government has a lot of explaining to do because it is being sneaky and making false assertions in a very risky area of public policy. We understand this ‘consultation’ has run for a paltry 16 working days. The ACL calls on the government to extend its deadline and run a genuine, reasonable-length public consultation process."