Doctors and psychiatrists want the Andrews Government to make changes to its plan to ban gay conversion therapy, due to concerns it will discourage some practitioners from treating vulnerable patients. Source: The Age.
The Victorian branches of the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists say the proposed legislation is too broad and the sanctions are too severe.
The bill to criminalise gay conversion practices, which will be introduced to the upper house tomorrow, includes penalties of up to 10 years in jail and maximum fines of $10,000 for anyone caught trying to suppress or change someone’s sexuality.
Kerryn Rubin, chair of the college’s Victorian branch, said he feared the bill would potentially harm some of the most vulnerable people in society, who “need more help not less”.
Dr Rubin said the role of a psychiatrist was often to challenge the ideas of their patients and explore the reasons they feel a certain way. He said the draft laws are “too much of a blanket statement” on what is a conversion practice versus exploratory therapies.
The Victorian branch of the AMA has also raised its concerns with the Government but has yet to receive a response.
This comes as faith-based organisations ramped up their opposition to the bill yesterday. More than 75 Christian protesters held a demonstration at Parliament House.
The Victorian bill goes further than a similar law to ban conversion therapy passed in Queensland last year in that it outlaws harmful practices not only in healthcare settings but also in religious settings.
Doctors fear conversion therapy ban will deny treatment to vulnerable patients (By Annika Smethurst, The Age)
Faith leaders write to Premier over concerns with the Conversion Therapy Bill (Melbourne Catholic)