NSW Government introduces laws to ban harmful LGBTQ+ conversion practices
March 13, 2024

The NSW Government will today introduce a bill to parliament to ban LGBTQ+ conversion practices, fulfilling a key election commitment.

Conversion practices, which can include so-called “conversion therapy” and suppression practices, are formal or informal practices based on the false ideology that LGBTQ+ people have a ‘disorder’ or require treatment. Evidence shows that conversion practices are dangerous and damaging.

The legislative reform has been carefully considered and developed to protect LGBTQ+ people, while acknowledging and respecting longstanding religious and cultural beliefs and practices.

The Department of Communities and Justice and NSW Ministry of Health were tasked with jointly leading a working group who consulted extensively with a range of stakeholders.

These stakeholders included members of the health, education, legal and government sectors, faith and multicultural organisations, LGBTQ+ community advocates and victim-survivors, academics, and researchers, as well as others nominated by these stakeholders as having relevant views or expertise.

The Government has also considered legislation in other jurisdictions where conversion practices are outlawed, including in Victoria, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, New Zealand and Canada.

The proposed reform integrates feedback received through this process, while also reflecting the government’s continued commitment to supporting religious freedom.

Expressing a belief through sermon, taking offence at religious teachings, and seeking guidance through prayer will not be included in the ban.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said:

“Every person in NSW deserves to be respected for who they are and that’s exactly what these new laws will do.

“It is intolerable that we have a situation in NSW where children can be told something is wrong with them and that they need to be fixed.

“I’ve personally met with survivors of conversion practices and know how important it is that we put an end to this.”

Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council Penny Sharpe said:

“LGBTQ+ people are fine just the way they are.

“There is no place in NSW for harmful conversion and suppression practices.

“Thank you to advocates from the LGBTQ+ community, in particular victim survivors who have told their stories so that others will no longer be harmed.”

Minister for Health Ryan Park said:

“Conversion practices are incredibly harmful and have severely damaging health impacts. I am proud to be part of a government that is delivering on its commitment to stop them.

“These landmark reforms are the result of diligent and extensive work and consultation across a wide range of stakeholders to ensure the model is tailored to NSW. We want them to function effectively and as we intend.

“We have worked closely with a wide range of health experts to ensure that this Bill is fit for purpose and provides clarity around obligations for practitioners.”

Attorney General Michael Daley said:

“Conversion practices are known to cause significant ongoing trauma because they try to force LGBTQ+ people to change or suppress their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“We have carefully considered this legislation, developing it thoughtfully following extensive consultation to ensure that it strikes the right balance between protecting vulnerable communities as well as legitimate religious and cultural practices.

“The Government does not intend to ban the teachings of a religious leader or expression of a religious belief through sermon.

“We have been guided by a core principle - that all people across NSW should be able to live free of practices that cause harm and be protected by evidence-based protections which the community expect, deserve and can rely upon.”