A leaked party room recording has revealed the Victorian Coalition’s division over proposed laws to criminalise anti-LGBTQ ‘conversion’ practices.
The State Government last year introduced a bill seeking to protect adults and children from harmful and discredited practices attempting to change sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
After major internal debate, the Coalition voted for the bill and promised to make amendments to it if it wins office next year.
New Opposition leader Matthew Guy has since ruled that the party will not change the laws.
In a meeting this week, the Opposition aggressively disagreed over a decision to rule out repealing the bill without properly consulting the shadow cabinet and party room, according to ABC News.
“From a Nationals point of view, we will not be supporting [Shadow Minister for Equality and Liberal MP] James [Newbury] on this position, and he can go and get fucked, simple as that,” said Nationals Leader Peter Walsh.
Some party members have pushed for amendments to the law to give parents and doctors greater protection to speak to children about sexuality.
Backbencher Bernie Finn called Shadow Attorney-General Tim Smith “a fucking idiot” during the argument over the bill.
The Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition bill passed in February, despite concerns from some Opposition members and medical professionals about “unintended consequences”.
Survivors of conversion practices have called for stricter bans on conversion as more states introduce such laws.
Activist Nathan Despott said that the Victorian bill was “precise and nuanced”.
“It targets harm where it occurs; it does not stop conversations,” he said.
Conversion survivor groups wrote earlier this year to state ministers to outline ten key policy objectives that they want to see included in future legislation.
These include strongly affirming that LGBTQA+ people are not ‘disordered’, banning formal and informal practices, and providing counselling and redress for survivors.
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