28 January 2021


Tim Quilty says gender conversion therapy bill is a threat to freedom of choice

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty will oppose the Victorian Government’s controversial bill aimed at prohibiting gender conversion therapy, which he is calling “case of government overreach in an attempt to stop an unsafe practice”.

The Andrews Government’s Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill is designed to prevent members of the LGBTIQA+ community being forced into conversion therapy but, says Mr Quilty, it goes too far and ends up preventing consenting adults from making an informed choice.

The bill made its way unopposed through the Lower House before Christmas, but must now pass through the Upper House where government support is not a foregone conclusion.

“Let me be absolutely clear about this from the start: I am fiercely opposed to the practice of forcing people to endure conversion therapy with the notion that they are broken and must be fixed,” Mr Quilty said.

“I am a libertarian and at the core of my beliefs is the notion that we are all free to live our lives the way we choose – and this absolutely includes each and every member of the LGBTIQA+ community.

“Forcing conversion therapy onto people is fundamentally wrong.

“However, what it comes down to is consent.

“This bill, while it aims to affirm identities and protect the vulnerable, ends up attacking people who choose to explore their sexuality and their identity.

“Because of this, I cannot support the bill in its current form.”

Mr Quilty has engaged in extensive consultation over the past two months and has heard from groups supporting and rejecting the proposed legislation.

“I have received thousands of emails on this bill and I have undertaken broad consultation, hearing some horrific accounts of what this bill aims to prevent,” Mr Quilty said.

“But I have also heard a number stories from people who were happy with the therapy they had received, including survivors of abuse who have made free choices to change how they conduct their lives – but this would be illegal under the proposed legislation.”

Mr Quilty said the bill affects such a broad range of people that it is as much a danger as it is a defender.

“I completely support protecting the liberties of the LGBTIQA+ community, but I also support protecting the liberties of those who wish to explore where they want their lives to go,” Mr Quilty said.

“We cannot support this Bill when it tramples over several human rights laid down in the Charter, including freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief as well as freedom of expression. This legislation creates a legal grey area that threatens people with gaol or investigation for providing support to people in good faith.”

“The Andrews Government, in wishing to express its support of the LGBTIQA+ community, is also crushing the freedoms of capable individuals who are uncertain of who they are and where they want to be.

“The Liberal Democrats were the only party to vote in favour of marriage equality on every occasion and have a proud history supporting the rights of LGBTQI people. We believe governments should not interfere with any of our private choices, including choices about our sexuality and religion.

“By opposing this bill we will once again be standing up for the rights of consenting adults to make their own choices.”

For more information, contact Graham Springett | 0408 208819