Canberra Liberals will push to protect parents and teachers from the ACT Government’s proposed ban on gay conversion therapy. Source: The Canberra Times.
Leader Alistair Coe claims the proposed law risked “criminalising ordinary Canberrans”.
The Opposition is drafting amendments to the contentious bill, which is scheduled to be debated in the ACT Legislative Assembly today, the final sitting day of this parliamentary term.
In an email seen by The Canberra Times, Mr Coe reiterated that the Liberals were opposed to “harmful conversion practices”.
But Mr Coe said the definition of conversion practice as it was drafted in the Government’s proposed legislation was so broad and unclear that it risked criminalising ordinary Canberrans.
Similar concerns have been expressed by religious groups and the ACT Law Society, which has argued the legislation does not make it crystal clear under what circumstances someone might be breaking the law.
Under the proposed legislation, people would face fines of up to $24,000 and 12 months’ imprisonment for performing a “sexuality or gender identity conversion therapy” on a child or individual with an impaired decision-making ability.
Religious groups believe the definition of conversion practice is too broad, fearing it could lead to people responsible for the care of a child being charged with a criminal offence.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said Labor would put forward minor amendments during today’s debate, but stressed the changes would not amount to a “watering down” of the legislation.
In a statement on Catholic Voice website, Canberra-Goulburn Archbishop Christopher Prowse said the Labor amendment was “minimal and unclear”.
“The amendment is general and does not address the concerns that the bill potentially criminalises the actions of parents, carers, teachers and those in the medical profession who advise a child who expresses gender dysphoria to ‘watch and wait’.”
Liberals say gay conversion therapy ban risks ‘criminalising ordinary Canberrans’ (By Dan Jervis-Bardy, Canberra Times)
The Devil is in the detail in Government Bill (Catholic Voice)