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Greens move amendments to strengthen conversion practices ban legislation

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Amanda Cohn
NSW Greens MP
22 March 2024

The NSW Greens have moved amendments to the conversion practices ban bill to strengthen its protections for LGBTQIA+ people from preaching that is harmful.

Greens spokesperson for LGBTQIA+ Dr Amanda Cohn moved amendments to the legislation which:

  • remove the need for a conversion practice to be a practice, treatment or sustained effort that is directed at an individual,
  • widen the scope of the laws so those acts are considered a conversion practice when directed at an individual or individuals within a group setting,
  • removes the exemptions for expressions made about a belief or principle that ought to be followed or applied,
  • add an obligation for the Anti Discrimination Board to carry out investigations after receiving reports from third parties of conversion practices taking place.

These amendments would not impact personal prayer and reflection.

Equality Australia has reported that 4 percent of LGBTQA+ Australians aged between 14 and 21 years have experienced, and up to 10 per cent are vulnerable to, conversion practices. In 2022 at least 10 organisations publicly advertised conversion practices in Australia and New Zealand.

Quotes attributable to Greens spokesperson for LGBTQIA+ Dr Amanda Cohn MLC:

“Conversion practices are founded on the incorrect belief that LGBTQIA+ people like me are broken, that we are sinners, and that there is something to be fixed.

“Conversion practices are not a thing of history. They are happening right now, often masquerading as care in the form of counseling, medical treatment or prayer for an individual.

“The Greens welcome that this bill bans the act of not only attempting to change someone’s sexuality or gender identity but also attempting to suppress those parts of themselves. It also importantly provides protections for trans and gender diverse people.

“The Greens will move amendments to strengthen protections for people against harmful language whether it’s directed at an individual or said to a room of people.

“Faith is an integral part of so many people’s lives and LGBTQIA+ people deserve to be safe from harm within their faith community.

“Victim survivors have emphasised that language used in sermon can plant the seed in a person’s mind that they are broken and must be fixed, and causes some people to seek out harmful conversion practices. This can be just as harmful as practices directed at an individual, and is a source of recurring trauma for many LGBTQIA+ people of faith.

“Victim survivors have laid the foundation for this crucial legislation with many years of brave advocacy. The Greens stand with them.”

Media contact: Josh Appleton - [email protected]

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Amanda Cohn
NSW Greens MP
22 March 2024


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