While the new legislation has been passed, it’s worth noting that it is now going to the Victorian governor for royal assent. When it comes into effect 12 months from now, the bill will hold those found to have perpetrated conversion therapy that results in serious injury to account. Penalties include up to 10 years of jail time and up to $10,000 in fines.
During the debate, two Liberal MPs, Bev McArthur and Bernie Finn broke with party ranks to vote against the bill. Labor’s Harriet Shing called out the “cognitive dissonance” and “doublespeak” of MPs who were opposing the bill, despite the fact they did actually support a ban on conversion practices.
The crossbenchers Jeff Bourman, Clifford Hayes, Stuart Grimley, Tania Maxwell, David Limbrick, Tim Quilty and Catherine Cumming also all voted against the bill.
“It is not acceptable that in a debate like this victims and survivors and our communities—my communities—are denied the opportunity to have our equality, our pain and hurt and trauma, on a footing which is of the utmost importance,” said Shing.
Others also stressed the religious hand wringing and concerns around medical implications of passing such a bill were misdirectional. “This bill does not outlaw prayer,” attorney general Jaclyn Symes said. “It does not prevent health professionals from doing their job. It does not stop parents from talking to their kids about their views about sexuality or gender. To suggest anything to the contrary is rubbish.”
Labor member Martin Foley also celebrated the passing of the bill, saying: "This means we are another step closer to a more equal Victoria where everyone can live safely and with pride."
"To the survivors of these practices who have been instrumental in bringing about this landmark reform—thank you—we are all inspired by your incredible advocacy and strength."
Lead image via Getty Images.