893. Hon ALISON XAMON to the parliamentary secretary representing the
Minister for Mental Health:
I refer to dangerous conversion
practices, which attempt to change a person's sexuality or gender
identity, and which, according to a 2018 La Trobe University report, are
practised throughout Australia.
(1) Has the WA
government undertaken any work to determine the extent of conversion practices
in Western Australia?
(2) If yes to (1), please table this
(3) If no to (1), why not?
(4) If no to (2), why not?
(5) Will the
government commit to banning conversion practices more broadly, including those
that occur in religious and informal settings?
(6) If no to (5),
government is opposed to and does not support the use of gay conversion
therapy. The Australian Medical Association, the Royal College of Australian
and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and the Royal Australasian College of
Physicians all oppose psychological practices that attempt to change sexual orientation. Psychiatrists or psychologists who
engage in practices that attempt to change sexual orientation may be in
breach of their professional code of conduct and ethics, and individuals who
have experienced this should consider reporting them to either the Health and
Disability Services Complaints Office or the Australian Health Practitioner
is acknowledged that counselling sectors are currently unregulated in WA. The
WA government supports the introduction of the national code of conduct
for unregulated healthcare workers. This legislation is being drafted and once
implemented will protect the public by setting minimum standards of conduct and
practice for public and private healthcare
workers. Practices that attempt to change sexual orientation may be in breach of the national code. Once
implemented the national code will provide the director of HADSCO with
powers to issue prohibition orders to healthcare workers when their continued
practice presents a risk to public health and safety.
The Mental Health Commission's
feedback on the Victorian report on the inquiry into gay conversion therapy
indicates that there is benefit in providing counselling services for survivors
of gay conversion therapy, together with legislation to prohibit such
practices. The Victorian government committed to prohibiting gay conversion
therapy as standalone legislation in February 2019, but these laws are not yet
in place. Separate legislation, similar to Victoria's, could be
considered in the future if the national code of conduct was not effective in
preventing gay conversion therapy. With respect to support services, the Mental
Health Commission currently funds a range of services that support the LGBTI
community, totalling $2 108 792.