We’re not just going to transpose the Victorian legislation and implement it into New South Wales.... Taking offence at the teachings of a religious leader will not be banned. Expressing a religious belief through sermon will not be banned. And an individual, at their own consent, seeking guidance through prayer will not be banned either.
Parents, pastors, teachers, counsellors, chaplains, youth leaders could face criminal charges under the proposed law.
Under Victorian laws, a person cannot consent to a “conversion practice”, so even if someone requests prayer, that prayer time could still be considered criminal activity under the NSW Government’s proposed changes to the law.
In the second reading speech in support of the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Act 2021 (VIC) the Victorian Government specifically cites an example of a religious leader providing counsel and prayer that encourages someone to live according to religious teaching as an example of an outlawed “conversion practice.”
The Victorian laws directly interfere with the life and religious character of churches, mosques, synagogue and other religious organisations and groups.
Not only do the laws prohibit religious organisations from setting membership standards according to normal religious doctrine, but they also frustrate the ability of religious groups to ensure that their leaders ‘walk the talk’ and live lives according to religious teaching sexuality and human identity.
If the NSW Conversion Practices laws are anything like the Victorian laws with respect to access to sex-affirming care and counselling, an adult will not be able to consent to this kind of care.
In parliamentary debates concerning the Victorian laws, the Victorian Attorney General at the time said that the government was banning specifically banning the ability to consent to medical care and counselling that is captured by the broad definition of a “conversion practice”.
The Victorian change and suppression laws directly interfere in the relationship between parent and child.
The Victorian laws created criminal offences under which parents can be prosecuted for simply supporting a child who struggles with gender confusion by encouraging them to seek body affirming counselling, or to seek comfort and guidance from religious or moral teaching on the issue that does anything other than radically prescribed ‘gender affirmation’.