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  • Rikki Lambert

No try - NSW upper house candidate concern over conversion convergence

Family First's lead NSW candidate was critical of the Sydney airport rainbow welcome mat last February

A candidate for the Legislative Council at the 25 March state election says a bill proposed by a potential key crossbench lower house MP addresses a concern that doesn't exist.

Alex Greenwich could be a king-maker in the Legislative Assembly, where Coalition premier Dominic Perrottet's government is presently in minority.

On Friday, the premier confirmed the Coalition would back Greenwich's proposed ban on so-called conversion therapy during the next term of parliament, telling reporters:

"There is no room for any harmful practices in NSW, particularly if they affect our young and vulnerable."

On Saturday 11 February, Mr Greenwich proposed his bill to remove a variety of barriers for LGBTQI communities would stop the practice of changing or suppressing sexual orientation and gender identity.

Mr Greenwich said support for the laws, which were based on the Victorian model, would be critical for him in any deal to support a minority government.

Labor said it would establishing a working group with NSW Health and the Department of Justice to produce workable laws to ban conversion therapy.

Christian Schools Australia said even though it was supportive of legislation to end the practice it wanted Labor to guarantee "that parents can continue to talk to their children about issues of gender and sexuality without fear of jail". The CSA lambasted the Victorian model as impacting Christian families, schools and churches adding that NSW Labor's working group was not enough to assure "faith communities".

The conservative Christian party Family First is running a candidate group as independents in the state election after failing to secure party registration before the March poll. Their lead candidate and national organiser Lyle Shelton told Flow:

"Well, it depends what you mean by conversion practises. If it means giving people electric shocks to make them turn heterosexual or whatever, or coercive practises, of course that should be banned. But the reality is none of those things happen anymore if they ever did happen. 
"And there's no examples of contemporary examples of this practice occurring. So they're trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist. But the devil's in the detail. and (Sydney independent MP) Alex Ggreenwich has said his legislation is modelled on the Victorian and Queensland and ACT legislation.
"In Victoria, a parent can be jailed for having a discussion with their child about gender fluid ideology, trying to encourage their child not to go to a child gender clinic and have puberty blockers, cross sex hormones or even worse, surgery. That's irreversible to try and change their gender.
"Now, this is outrageous, this is the status in Victoria and Alex Greenwich wants to bring that smuggled in under the cover of so called conversion therapy, a bill which will jail parents and other people who seek to help a child from harming themselves." 

Hear the full interview with Lyle Shelton, Family First upper house candidate, on the Flow podcast player below:

For those in distress, please call Lifeline 13 11 14.


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