MEMBERS STATEMENT | CONVERSION THERAPY

Mr Melhem (Western Metropolitan)- I rise to congratulate the Andrews Labor government on its move to make the practise of conversion therapy against the law. Conversion therapy is any practice or treatment that seeks to change, suppress or eliminate an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This is a cruel practice that perpetuates a dangerous ideal—that somehow LGBTI people are sick and need to be cured. This ban will end a practice that has caused so much hurt and trauma to too many Victorians. Evidence shows that individuals subject to conversion therapy experience long-term physiological ramifications and serious mental health issues. With this knowledge, I am glad the government has also given in-principle support to funding counselling and support services for survivors, tailored to their specific needs. This is just one of many steps this government has taken to support the LGBTI community in Victoria, including a $15 million investment toward Australia’s first Pride Centre. This government also delivered long-awaited adoption equality legislation and made a historic apology to Victorians convicted for homosexual acts. Victorians should be able to celebrate who they are with pride. We should never allow any type of bigotry or discrimination against members of our society. I praise the Andrews Labor government on its unwavering socially progressive agenda and its support for Victoria’s LGBTI communities.