AAP FactCheck dispel ‘criminalise parents’ claim from ACL in Tasmania

AAP FactCheck has branded claims from the Australian Christian Lobby concerning the rights of parents in Tasmania as false.

AAP FactCheck yesterday said the ACL’s claim that the Tasmanian Government “plan to criminalise parents who question their children’s wish to change gender” doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

The ACL claim that “parents who urge caution to children who are questioning their gender or sexuality will be deemed to have conducted conversion therapy” has been made repeatedly on social media and in full page ads in Tasmania’s three daily newspapers.

AAP FactCheck noted that the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute’s (TLRI) report on conversion practices issued in May this year “specifically puts in place protections for parental care and guidance.”

Brendan Gogarty, associate law professor at Monash University and report co-author, told AAP FactCheck the claim is false.

“There is nothing in the report which suggests that ‘urging caution’ to children is to be proscribed. Quite the opposite. The TLRI recommended clear and wide-ranging protections for care and counselling,” Dr Gogarty told AAP.

While “urging caution” would not be deemed to be conversion therapy, Dr Gogarty said the report makes clear the law does not currently, and should not in the future, provide absolute protection for parents.

However, he said there was a “very high threshold” that “goes well beyond the concept of guidance and opinion”.

Equality Tasmania has urged the public to ignore the claims from the ACL.

Equality Tasmania President, Rodney Croome, said The Australian Christian Lobby cannot be trusted to provide the public with reliable information.

“We urge all Tasmanians, including members of parliament, to ignore the claims made by the ACL and instead listen to what experts and survivors are saying about the harm caused by conversion practices and the need to bring them to an end.”

Equality Tasmania board member, Rose Boccalatte, adds that as a Tasmanian trans woman, she is pleased to see the ACL’s false and fear-based claims about trans people exposed.

“The ACL’s false claims have caused immense distress to trans and gender diverse Tasmanians and hopefully now we will see a more mature, respectful and fact-based debate about banning conversion practices.”

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