WA Government must immediately ban gay conversion therapy, regulate counselling sector: Greens

Greens spokesperson for Mental Health Hon Alison Xamon MLC has called on the Government to ban gay conversion therapy in Western Australia immediately, following the announcement that the harmful practice will be banned in Victoria.

Ms Xamon said attempting to change or interfere with a person’s identity was an abuse of human rights.

She said evidence had shown the practice inflicted serious long-term harm on those who received it and was rightly opposed by the Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

“Gay conversion therapy is an appalling practice that attempts to change the fundamental truth of a person’s identity by methods that are questionable at best; and outright abusive at worst,” Ms Xamon said.

“We know that the ‘therapy’ often takes place informally, often in a religious context, and most often by unlicensed and unregulated therapists and psychologists.

“Attempting to change a person’s sexuality is counter to community expectations for the treatment of Western Australians who identify as gay or lesbian, particularly children and young people.

“It is wrong – and always has been wrong – and certainty has no place in modern day Western Australian mental health standards.”

Ms Xamon said, as well as immediately banning the practice, the WA Government must act urgently to regulate the counselling sector more broadly.

She said it was crucial all counsellors and psychotherapists be registered with a body such as Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency (AHPRA) before being allowed to practice in WA.

“We know that the Australian community want less discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people, not more, and banning gay conversion immediately sends a clear message that the WA Government is prepared to defend the human rights of some of the most vulnerable among.

"The Government must demonstrate that it is determined to employ the best mental health practices.”