Queensland becomes the first Australian state to ban ‘conversion therapy’

However, survivors of the discredited practice fear that the bill doesn’t go far enough. Speaking to SBS, Chris Csabs, of the LGBTQ+ advocacy group SOGICE Survivors, said: “The vast majority of survivors currently come from conversion practices that are done in informal spaces, like in religious groups or pastoral care.

“The Queensland legislation focuses on the health stuff rather than anything else, so it’s actually missing the vast majority of survivors and it’s not actually very protective at all.”

A Green MP, Michael Berkman, who voted for the bill, echoed similar worries, saying: “The bill focuses solely on health practitioners, failing to address the fact the bulk of conversion therapy is most likely occurring in informal and religious settings.

“The ban on this type of therapy should be extended to religious institutions. Funding for specialised support for survivors should also be prioritised.”

The bill was opposed by the opposition party, the Liberal National Party, whose Shadow Health and Ambulance Services Minister, Ros Bates, said it “would turn doctors into criminals.”

Queensland’s ban came weeks after opposition parties in South Australia announced that they were planning to introduce legislation to ban the discredited practice “as soon as possible.”

The proposed bill would amend the Criminal Law Consolidation Act and the Health and Community Services Complaints Act, and be enforced by the South Australian police force and Health Complaints Commissioner.

The punishments would be similar to laws that ban recklessly causing harm, which carry a maximum sentence of eight years in prison. More serious penalties would be given to people attempting the practice on children and vulnerable adults, although gender transition services for trans people would be exempted.

The proposed legislation already has the support of the Australian Green Party, and the state’s Attorney General and Deputy Premier, Vickie Chapman, has considered how the ban would work as a criminal offence.

Related: Mexico City approves bill to criminalise ‘conversion therapy’

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