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Banning conversion therapy an issue for Tasmanian election

Unfulfilled commitments to ban conversion therapy practices is emerging as an important issue in the Tasmania election with local advocacy group Equality Tasmania calling on all political parties to make a commitment to bring in effective legislation to tackle the practice.

Tasmanian will head to the polls on 23rd March, after Premier Jeremy Rockliff called an early election. His government had previously announced legislation to ban conversion therapy but it was widely criticised by LGBTIQA+ rights advocates as being weak and ineffective legislation that had been watered down to appease conservative groups.

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Rockliff will be hoping to secure a fourth term for the Liberals, while Rebecca White will be campaigning for Labor to be the people’s choice. Tasmania is the only Liberal government in Australia with the federal and all other state and territory government’s currently held by Labor.

With the election campaign underway Equality Tasmania will seek commitments from all parties and independents to an effective ban on conversion practices in the state. Spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said a report from the state’s Law Reform Institute had made it clear effective legislation was needed. “Conversion practices continue to cause deep harm to LGBTIQA+ Tasmania two years after the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute called for them to be banned.”“Local and national research shows that almost 5% of LGBTIQA+ young people have been through conversion practices in the last two years and that conversion survivors are three to four times more likely than other LGBTIQA+ people to have PTSD and attempt suicide.”“Prohibiting conversion practices will save lives.”“We will be seeking commitments from all parties and independents for an urgent and comprehensive ban on conversion practices that goes further than the weak and counterproductive bill put forward by the Government in December.” Coome said. Croome said the group will also seek commitments to a range of other reforms and initiatives including a ban on medically unnecessary surgeries on children with variations of sex characteristics and better hate crime protections for LGBTIQA+ people.

Equality Tasmania would also like to see the establishment of a dedicated LGBTIQA+ mental health service alongside  better health care for trans and gender diverse people.

While Tasmania’s government have made a public apology for those convicted under the state’s former anti-LGBTIQA+ laws, there are calls for a financial redress scheme for victims of the previous legislation. Tasmania was the last Australian state to remove laws that made homosexual practices illegal, decades after some mainland states removed similar laws.

Rights advocates would also like to see a commitment from political parties for protection of Tasmania’s landmark anti-discrimination and gender recognition laws and funding for the State Government’s LGBTIQA+ Action Plan and Framework.

They have also called for an LGBTIQA+ Inclusion Act and the appointment of an LGBTIQA+ Commissioner.“We will publish the results of our election survey to better inform the LGBTIQA+ community and our friends and allies about where the parties and independents stand on our issues.” Croome said.

OIP Staff


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