CONVERSION BAN ELECTION COMMITMENT SOUGHT

Equality Tasmania will seek commitments from all parties and independents to an effective ban on conversion practices in the lead up to the state election on March 23rd.

The commitment is one of many being sought in an LGBTIQA+ community survey sent to parties and independents.

Spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,

“Conversion practices continue to cause deep harm to LGBTIQA+ Tasmania two years after the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute called for them to be banned.”

“Local and national research shows that almost 5% of LGBTIQA+ young people have been through conversion practices in the last two years and that conversion survivors are three to four times more likely than other LGBTIQA+ people to have PTSD and attempt suicide.”

“Prohibiting conversion practices will save lives.”

“We will be seeking commitments from all parties and independents for an urgent and comprehensive ban on conversion practices that goes further than the weak and counterproductive bill put forward by the Government in December.”

Mr Croome said the group will also seek commitments to a range of other reforms and initiatives including
– a ban on medically unnecessary surgeries on children with variations of sex characteristics
– better hate crime protections for LGBTIQA+ people
– a dedicated LGBTIQA+ mental health service
– better health care for trans and gender diverse people
– financial redress for those convicted under the state’s former anti-LGBTIQA+ laws
– protection of Tasmania’s landmark anti-discrimination and gender recognition laws
– funding for the State Government’s LGBTIQA+ Action Plan and Framework
– an LGBTIQA+ Inclusion Act and the appointment of an LGBTIQA+ Commissioner

“We will publish the results of our election survey to better inform the LGBTIQA+ community and our friends and allies about where the parties and independents stand on our issues.”
 
More on conversion practices in Tasmania here:

https://equalitytasmania.org.au/home/endconversion/

Conversion practices still occurring in Tasmania:

https://www.examiner.com.au/story/7406885/launceston-church-makes-no-apologies-for-using-conversion-therapy/

Survivors tell their stories:
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-17/conversion-therapy-in-australia-calls-for-ban/101041368

For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

NEW CAMPAIGN CALLS FOR TASMANIAN CONVERSION BILL TO BE SCRAPPED

Equality Tasmania has launched a new campaign calling on the State Government to scrap its conversion practices bill and draft a new version.

The campaign will dispel myths about a ban on conversion practices and encourage Tasmanians to sign an Open Letter to the Government.

Equality Tasmania spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,

“The Government’s bill has so many exemptions it will actually encourage conversion practices rather than stop them.”

“Our campaign will reach tens of thousands of Tasmanians with the message that the Government’s bill is worse than useless, needs to be scrapped and a new one written.”

“Given the Government isn’t listening to survivors it’s time to take our message to the people.”

“I encourage everyone who opposes conversion practices to sign the Open Letter and share the videos on our campaign page.”

Survivors of Tasmanian conversion practices, Bronwyn Larkins, said,

“The bill offers more protection to conversion practitioners than to those of us who suffered at their hands.”

“It mocks the great emotional effort we expended telling our personal stories.”

“Tens of thousands of Tasmanians will now have access to my story and the stories of other survivors, which I hope will educate the community about the need for legislation that will actually work.”

Equality Tasmania’s campaign will promote a range of videos on social media in which survivors, doctors, researchers and people of faith explain why conversion practices must be comprehensively banned, not given a green light.

Facts explained by the videos include:

– conversion practices still occur in Tasmania and cause deep harm

– consent cannot be given to conversion practices

– treatment for young trans and gender diverse people will not be affected by effective conversion legislation 

– the State Government has not, as promised, implemented the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute’s recommendations for conversion legislation

The Government’s consultation on its draft bill ends on February 16th.

Campaign page: https://equalitytasmania.org.au/home/endconversion/

Open Letter: https://equalitytasmania.org.au/sign-the-open-letter/

See below for a list of problems with the Government bill.

For this statement on the web, click here

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668 or Bronwyn Larkins on 0011 64 (0)27 214 3209.

Extract from the Open Letter listing problems with the Government bill

  • Adopts a narrow, inaccurate definition of conversion practices that doesn’t address the role of the false, misleading and pseudo-scientific claims that underpin such practices.
  • Defines conversion practices as “a health service”, and says not all are harmful.
  • Exempts conversion practices by anyone who calls themselves a “health care provider”.
  • Exempts “beliefs”, “guidance”, “assistance” and “support” that could include conversion practices. 
  • Exempts conversion practices where there has been “consent”, even though informed consent is not possible due to the fraudulent nature of conversion practices and the life-long conditioning that most people who undergo conversion practices experience.
  • Exempts conversion practices that insist on celibacy for LGBTIQA+ people.
  • Allows the majority of conversion practices to go unchallenged by including all these exemptions.
  • Doesn’t make provision for pro-active investigation or education – the two most important tools for addressing conversion practices.
  • Relies on conversion survivors to make complaints and prove harm rather than government officials
  • Sets the bar for prosecution so high it’s unlikely anyone will ever be held to account.

Christian Schools Wrong on Conversion Law


Equality Tasmania says Christian Schools Australia and Australian Association of Christian Schools are wrong to say conversion legislation is “a solution in search of a problem”.

Spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,

“National and local research, including research commissioned by the Tasmanian Government, shows that 5% of LGBTIQA+ have been through formal conversion practices.”

“Half of young LGBTIQA+ people who have experienced conversion practices have experienced them in the last twelve months.”

“This should come as no surprise given Tasmanian clergy like Pastor Wes Bredenhof of the Free Reform Church in Launceston have stated publicly they undertake conversion practices.”

Mr Croome also said Christian Schools Australia and Australian Association of Christian Schools are wrong to suggest conversion legislation will constrain or change clinical treatment of young transgender and gender diverse people.

“The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute recommended that conversion legislation not alter existing clinical guidelines for the treatment of young trans and gender diverse people.”

“We support that recommendation.”

Equality Tasmania has panned the Tasmanian Government bill saying that the definition of conversion practices is too narrow, the exemptions are too wide and the penalties almost unenforceable.

“The Government’s draft is worse than useless because it will give a green light to some of the most common and most harmful conversion practices,” Mr Croome said.

For a copy of the Christian Schools’ statement: https://journalists.medianet.com.au/Release/998097/4549969

For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
 

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

TAS GOV CONVERSION BILL PANNED 

“It is really disappointing that after so much heart-felt advocacy by survivors, so much ground-breaking research and so many well-developed recommendations from the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute, the Government has come up with such useless legislation.” – Rodney Croome

Equality Tasmania has again slammed a State Government bill unveiled yesterday that purports to ban conversion practices.

Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,

“After in-depth consideration of the bill and discussions with survivor advocates, it’s clear this bill is irredeemable and should be scrapped.”

“The bill is full of loopholes that allow conversion practices and they harm they inflict to continue.”

For more information on some of these loopholeshttp://tinyurl.com/ddhzfse6

“This is the kind of bill an anti-LGBTIQA+ group like the Australian Christian Lobby would draft.”

“This bill is a far cry from the promise Premier Jeremy Rockliff made to implement the gold-standard recommendations of the Tasmanian Law Reform Institue.”

“It is really disappointing that after so much heart-felt advocacy by survivors, so much ground-breaking research and so many well-developed recommendations from the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute, the Government has come up with such useless legislation.”

“We will use the current consultation period to urge the Government to scrap this bill, listen to the experts and the survivors, and draft something that will do the job.”

For a copy of this statement on the web, click here

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

CONCERN CONVERSION BILL WILL ALLOW PRACTICES TO CONTINUE

“This is the kind of bill you would draft if you wanted to appear to ban conversion practices without actually banning them.”

– Rodney Croome

Equality Tasmania says a bill against conversion practices, released today by the Tasmanian Government, will allow such practices to continue.

The Government’s bill took eighteen months to draft following the release of a Tasmanian Law Reform Institute report recommending reform in May last year.

Equality Tasmania spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,

“We are concerned that the bill doesn’t go far enough and doesn’t meet the standards recommended by the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute.”

“The bill will allow conversion practices to continue, both in health and religious settings, under the guise of ill-defined terms like ‘support’, ‘assistance’, ‘care’ and ‘guidance’.”

“It will also allow conversion practices if there is ‘consent’, despite the fact that it is impossible to consent to a ‘treatment’ that doesn’t work for a ‘condition’ that doesn’t exist”.

“Another problem is that in the other states most conversion practices are caught under civil law, not criminal, but in this bill there are no civil penalties so it is less likely conversion practitioners will be held to account.”

“These are the holes conversion practitioners will crawl through so they can continue to inflict their cruel and discredited ‘therapies’.”

“We are also disappointed this won’t be a stand-alone act with a preamble against conversion practices like in the other states where legislation has sent a stronger message.”

“Another big concern is that there’s no mention of the kind of education programs undertaken in other states that are necessary to ensure the legislation actually works on the ground.”

“This is the kind of bill that you would draft if you wanted to appear to ban conversion practices without actually banning them.”

The Government has launched a consultation on the bill that will close on February 16th.

Mr Croome said he will encourage Tasmanian survivors to write to the Government to highlight how the new law would may not have provided them with the protection they required when they were vulnerable to conversion practices.

For a copy of this statement on the web, click here

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

ROCKLIFF’S CONVERSION BAN COMMITMENT WELCOMED

Equality Tasmania has welcomed a commitment from Premier Jeremy Rockliff to unveil a ban on conversion practices in the next few days.

Mr Rockliff made the commitment while speaking to journalists this morning.

Equality Tasmania spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,

“A ban on conversion practices is urgent because we know these cruel and damaging practices are still occurring in Tasmania.”

“We are pleased the Government’s legislation is imminent and that there will be an opportunity for conversion survivors to comment on it over the Summer break.”

The Government has repeatedly promised to unveil a ban on conversion practices by year’s end.

Mr Croome also welcomed a motion from Labor Justice spokesperson, Ella Haddad, calling on the Government to release its draft legislation immediately.

The motion was tabled in Parliament today and emphasises the on-going harm inflicted by conversion practices in Tasmania.

For a copy of this statement on the web, click here

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

ADVOCATES THANK TAS SENATORS WHO VOTED DOWN ANTI-TRANS BILL

Equality Tasmania has thanked those Tasmanian senators who today voted down a bill banning affirming health care for young trans people, and has said it will seek to meet those in favour of giving the bill further consideration.

Tasmanian Labor and Green senators, plus Lambie Network senators Jacqui Lambie and Tammy Tyrrell, voted against the bill being sent to an inquiry given the damage to trans and gender diverse people debate on the bill will cause. Tasmanian Liberal senators, Wendy Askew, Jonathon Duniam and Claire Chandler voted to keep the bill alive.

The motion to not send the bill to an inquiry was moved by Tasmanian Greens’ senator, Nick McKim.

Equality Tasmania spokesperson, Rose Boccalatte, said,

“Life’s already tough enough for young trans and gender diverse people without this extreme bill banning life-saving health care.”

“The bill would have put young lives at risk, as well as taken away the right of parents to decide what is best for their children.”

“Further debate on this bill would have stirred up antagonism and discrimination towards trans and gender people.”

“I thank all those Tasmanian senators who consigned this bill to oblivion.”

“Equality Tasmania will seek meetings with those senators who voted for the bill to be further debated so we can explain what deep damage it would have caused.”

The motion and vote are included below.

For a copy of this statement on the web, click here

For more information contact Rose Boccalatte on 0433 144 836.

***

Motion moved by Senator Antic (Liberal):

  • At the end of the motion add: “and, in respect of the Childhood Gender Transition Prohibition Bill 2023, the bill be referred immediately to the Community Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 31 May 2024”

Motion moved by Senator McKim (Australian Greens):

  • At the end of the motion, add: “and the Childhood Gender Transition Prohibition Bill 2023 not be referred to a committee”

Senate divided to vote on Greens Motion – AYES: 32, Nos 23
AYES 32: Allman Payne, Bilyk, Chisholm, Ciccone, Cox, Faruqui Green, Grogan, Hanson-Young, Lambie, Lines, McAllister, McKim, O’Neill, Payman, Pocock B, Pocok D, Polley, Pratt, Rice, Sheldon, Shoebridge, Smith M, Steele-John, Sterle, Stewart, Tyrell, Urquhart, Walsh, Waters, Watt, Whish-Wilson

NOS 23: Antic, Askew, Babet, Brockman, Cadell, Canavan Cash, Chandler, Duniam, Fawcett, Hanson, Henderson, Hughes, McGrath, McKenzie, McLachlan, Nampujinpa Price, O’Sullivan, Paterson, Rennick, Roberts, Ruston, Scarr

DISAPPOINTMENT OVER TAS GOV’T FAILURE TO TABLE CONVERSION BAN

Equality Tasmania is deeply disappointed the State Government has failed to fulfill its promise to table a ban on conversion practices before the end of the parliamentary year. 

Speaking to Parliament’s Gender and Equality Committee on October 12th, Attorney-General, Guy Barnett, committed to tabling legislation by the end of the year. However, he confirmed yesterday that will not happen.

Equality Tasmania spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said, 

“We know there are young LGBTIQA+ Tasmanians who are suffering conversion practices right now.” 

“Tasmanian research shows LGBTIQA+ people who are subject to conversion practices are three to four times more likely to have PTSD and attempt suicide than other LGBTIQA+ people.”

“The longer the Government delays a ban on these cruel practices the more harm will be inflicted.” 

“We will be seeking meetings with the Premier and Attorney-General so conversion survivors can press the case for legislation to be made public before the end of the year.” 

Premier Jeremy Rockliff gave a commitment to banning conversion practices following the release of a Tasmanian Law Reform Institute report recommending such a ban. 

Victoria, Queensland and the ACT have banned conversion practices while the NSW, South Australian, West Australian and Northern Territory governments have committed to doing the same.

 Mr Croome said, 

“If Tasmania continues to drag its feet on this reform we risk becoming a haven for conversion practitioners who have been thrown out of the other states.” 

For a copy of this statement on the web, click here

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

CALL ON TAS GOV TO UNVEIL CONVERSION BAN AS PARL SET TO RISE

Equality Tasmania has called on the State Government to introduce its proposed conversion practices ban before State Parliament rises at the end of this week. 

The Government promised to unveil its legislation before the end of the year. 

Spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said, “Conversion practices cause deep harm and are being perpetrated right now in Tasmania. We need legislation as soon as possible to bring such practices to an end.” 

“Three mainland states and territories already have conversion bans, and the others are committed to reform, so Tasmania is at risk of becoming a haven for conversion practices if we don’t act quickly.” 

“We call on the Government to introduce its legislation this week so there is adequate time for community consultation before Parliament returns next year.” 

The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute recommended a ban on conversion practices in May 2022. 

Research commissioned by the Tasmanian Government and conducted by the University of Tasmania found that 1 in 20 LGBTIQA+ Tasmanians have been through formal conversion practices. 

National research has shown conversion survivors are three to four times more likely to have PTSD and attempt suicide than other LGBTIQA+ people. 

For a copy of this statement on the web, click here

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

TAS GOV’T REFUSES FINANCIAL REDRESS FOR VICTIMS OF FMR ANTI-GAY & ANTI-TRANS LAWS

CALL ON LABOR, GREENS AND INDEPENDENTS TO ENSURE JUSTICE IS DONE 

Equality Tasmania has called on Labor, the Greens and independents to support financial redress for victims of the state’s former laws against homosexuality and cross-dressing after the State Government refused.

Attorney-General, Guy Barnett, has introduced updates to legislation that allows victims of the former laws to have their criminal records erased.

These updates, recommended, by an independent review, include an expansion of the legislation to cover associated crimes such as resisting arrest.

But the Government has stopped short of providing financial redress as recommended by the review.

Equality Tasmania spokesperson, Rodney Croome, welcomed the Government’s proposal to include related offences, but said financial redress must be included.

“When gay and transgender people were charged or convicted under our former laws they faced gaol, fines, court-ordered aversion practices, involuntary outing, loss of jobs, loss of family, loss of relationships and exile from the state.”

“For decades after their conviction, having a criminal record made it much harder for those targeted under our old laws to find employment and housing.”

“The Government was directly responsible for these profound injustices and now it must repair the damage, not only by erasing old records but by providing financial redress.”

“We call on Labor, the Greens and independents to amend the Government’s bill so there is justice for Tasmanians who were victims of our old laws.” 

Mr Croome dismissed the Government’s argument that those who successfully erase their record can apply for an ex gratia payment from the Treasurer and that no other state provides compensation.

“Those who have already gone through the trauma of applying to erase their criminal record should not have to go through another application process for a discretionary Government ‘gift’ they may or may not receive.”

“The fact Tasmania was the last state to repeal its former laws, and that those laws were the most draconian in the western world, leaves a legacy that is deeper and more recent than elsewhere and means Tasmania has a moral responsibility to blaze the path forward.”

In 1997 Tasmania became the last state to decriminalise sex between men. Until then, all sex between men, including private, consenting sex between men in relationships, carried a maximum penalty of 21 years in prison. Tasmania was the only state that penalised males wearing female clothing. That law was used to intimidate and persecute transgender women until its repeal in 2000. 

Groups that support financial redress include Tasmania’s Community Legal Services, the Tasmanian Council of Social Services and the Tasmanian Women’s Legal Service.

For a copy of this statement on the web, click here

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.