The Australian Labor Party has announced a plan to ban gay conversion therapy across Australia, calling it a “discredited and dangerous” practice.
Australia’s shadow health minister Catherine King announced the plan to federally ban the highly damaging practice on Saturday.
In an interview with The Age, King said that banning the practice nationwide would be her “personal priority” if the Labor Party was elected next year.
“Gay conversion therapy is discredited and dangerous,” she said.
“As the federal shadow health minister, I urge all jurisdictions to follow Victoria’s lead and ban gay conversion therapy.
“If this issue isn’t resolved before the next election, and I’m lucky enough to serve as health minister afterwards, it’ll be a personal priority for me.”
The highly disputed practice of ‘curing’ someone of their gender identity or sexual orientation is currently banned in the state of Victoria but legal in the rest of the country.
In March of this year, a man launched a petition to end the practice in Australia, saying: “praying the gay away nearly killed me.”
The announcement from the Labor Party is a contrast to a recent statement from deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, who said on April 19 that he had ‘no view one way or another’ regarding gay conversion therapy.
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.
“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.
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.
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McCormack’s 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.
Federal Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman told Fairfax Media at the time that the motion was the type of policy “you would expect to find in the dark recesses of the 19th century or in the forums of the Australian Conservatives party – not in the modern Liberal Party.”
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.
During the debate of the motion, many politicians were asked for their views on the practice.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has recently been criticised for an interview where after he was asked whether he supported gay conversion therapy.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Hunt said that he did not support the practice on a state or federal level, but then began to discuss free speech.
Hunt expressed his concern over “this constant view that nobody, anywhere, is allowed to have a different view,” before addressing his interviewer, Patricia Karvelas.
“As a journalist, I would hope that you believe in freedom of speech,” he said.