Chris Minns’ Commitment


February 27, 2023

Q. (Monica Doumit)

My next question comes in relation to the conversion therapy bill. It was announced that Labor would, if elected put forward a bill to ban conversion therapy. The Premier (Perrottet) gave us an assurance last week that any ban on so called conversion therapy would not limit prayer or preaching. Can you give us that same assurance?

Also, sorry, the second part of this, a study just released earlier this month by senior physicians at Westmead Childrens Hospital’s gender clinic raised serious concerns about placing children on a gender affirming pathway, puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones without proper enquiry as to whether it is appropriate for the individual child. The doctors in that clinic projected that an unquestioned gender-affirming approach will result in more than one in five kids being exposed to inappropriate medical treatment, future regret and potential harm.

Laws passed by Labor Governments in other states prevent parents from doing anything except seeking gender-affirmative care for children experiencing gender dysphoria. Can you commit that a Labor Bill will not silence or punish doctors or parents for resisting gender affirmation if they do not believe it is what is in the best interest of their child?

A. (Chris Minns)

In relation to conversion therapy, we’re concerned about the impact of young people in particular who are told there is something wrong with them. And at a young age being told there is something wrong with you, and that you have to change, particularly if you can’t change, isn’t healthy. And it may be very damaging.

I’ve said that we are going to pursue our own bill in relation to this. We are not just going to transpose Victorian legislation and implement it into NSW. We will work with the Attorney General’s Department and the Department of Health via a working group.

And the reason for that is, we’ve heard, I guess, a critique of the Victorian legislation from the AMA who believe the definition was too broad. And that medical professionals who are professionally accredited through their Association, who are in good standing, need to be able to have a seat at the table in relation to their application of their profession through their professional body.

Now I am not committing to that. But that’s the landing zone in which Western Australia ended up committing to. And its an example of the complexity that’s inherent in the bill.

The ban or the conversion ban has to be directed at an individual’s sexuality with the correct purpose of suppression.

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 of their own consent seeking guidance through prayer will not be banned either.

It’s a very complicated piece of legislation. We know that this working group is important in making sure we understand the complexities in the law and the application of it. And we believe we can thread the needle if you like, to make sure that young people who are in that position are not damaged as a result.

But I’m not standing here, sitting here in front of you all suggesting that it is an easy law to land. We’ve seen the complexity in other States and it needs to be handled carefully.

In relation to medical professionals at that senior level, I mean I’d have to see the specific of it. If you could send me the particular report. I think you referenced Westmead was it?  Of course, we will provide a detailed response to this organisation and yourself of course. But given the complexity of it, given medical professional advice as it relates to this particular area, I’d need to see and understand the context in which the comments were made.