Equality Tasmania fears the State Government is backsliding on its commitment to ban conversion practices.
Today in Budget Estimates, Premier Jeremy Rockliff said he wants conversion legislation to protect rights such as “freedom of speech” and “prayer” adding that legislation will be introduced in this term of Government (which ends in June 2025).
Equality Tasmania spokesperson, Dr Lucy Mercer-Mapstone, said perpetrators of conversion practices should not be able to hide behind “freedom of speech” or “freedom to pray”.
“Tasmanian conversion survivors have talked publicly about the trauma inflicted by groups of people praying over them in order to change their sexuality.”
“They have also spoken about the open promotion of conversion practices based on false and misleading claims.”
“These harmful practices must not be allowed to continue under the pretext of freedom of speech or religion.”
“Conversion bans in Victoria and the ACT have not led to any infringements of free speech or religious freedom so the Tasmanian ban does not require any special caveats.”
“The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute’s recommendations about the best way to prevent conversion practices were very clear and we are concerned the Government is seeking to backslide from those recommendations.”
Dr Mercer-Mapstone went on to urge the Government to act quickly.
“Conversion practices continue to be inflicted on LGBTIQA+ Tasmanians, causing lifelong trauma, so a ban is required as soon as possible.”
“It has already been a year since the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute recommended this reform and vulnerable LGBTIQA+ Tasmanians should not have to wait any longer.”
“The Government has interstate precedents, clear guidelines from the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute, research showing the deep harm caused by conversion practices and the compelling testimony of Tasmanian survivors, so there is no excuse for any further equivocation.”
Tomorrow, June 6th, is the first anniversary of the Premier’s commitment to ban conversion practices based on the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute’s recommendations.
The Premier was responding to questions from Tasmanian Greens leader, Cassy O’Connor.
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information contact Lucy Mercer-Mapstone on 0458 173 629.