Australia’s deputy Prime Minister has ‘no view one way or another’ on gay ‘cure’ therapy
The Deputy Prime Minister of Australia has said that he has “no view” on gay ‘conversion’ therapy.
Michael McCormack, who is acting leader while Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, added that he had not even “looked into” the issue.
Speaking to the National Press Club in Canberra on Thursday, the leader of the National Party was asked for his thoughts on gay ‘cure’ therapy, which is banned in Victoria but legal in the rest of the country.
“I will be perfectly honest… I have not really looked into it enough to really make a view on it one way or the other,” McCormack said.
“I certainly will, but it’s not something that I have really explored,” he added, according to The Guardian.
His remarks came after the Victorian Liberal Party was in the news for eventually rejecting a motion asking whether parents should have better access to gay and trans ‘cure’ therapy for their children.
Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory are considering enacting laws to crack down on the practice, which has been condemned by medical authorities all over the world.
More than 33,000 people have signed a petition started by a victim of gay ‘cure’ therapy which calls on Turnbull and the Minister for Health, Ken Wyatt, to “condemn conversion therapy and outlaw the practice for minors.”
But though McCormack called the issue “important for those people that it affects,” he said people in his community were “more interested in making sure there are jobs there, making sure there’s downward pressure on the cost of living.”
The deputy PM took over the role from Barnaby Joyce in February. Joyce – who opposed same-sex marriage because “every child has a right to know her or his mother and father” – resigned after cheating on his wife.
McCormack said that he had only been in his new role for “a little over six weeks” and had been looking at infrastructure issues too much to have time to learn about gay ‘cure’ therapy.
The 53-year-old has been in the House of Representatives since 2010.
In March, he said he would host a gay relative’s wedding to make up for his previous homophobic columns.
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He penned homophobic editorials while editor of the Daily Advertiser newspaper in the 1990s.
In one column, written in 1992, McCormack called gay people “sordid,” while another in 1993 argued: “A week never goes by anymore that homosexuals and their sordid behaviour don’t become further entrenched in society.”
The editorial also referenced HIV/AIDS, stating: “Unfortunately gays are here and, if the disease their unnatural acts helped spread doesn’t wipe out humanity, they’re here to stay.”
He voted for same-sex marriage in Australia’s postal vote on the issue last year, after his constituents overwhelmingly backed it.