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Attorney-General and Justice – Conversion Practices

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Monday, 5 June 2023

Tags: LGBTI, State Budget

Dr WOODRUFF - Attorney-General, on 17 May last year, the TLRI recommended a ban on LGBTIQA conversion practices. The Premier committed on 5 June 2022 to implement that recommendation. Why has it taken over a year to bring this draft legislation forward?

Ms ARCHER - I am just turning up this, but the Premier and I are very committed to this process. It is something that we have tasked each of our departments, being my Department of Justice and the Premier's Department of Health, in his Health portfolio, but also leading it as the Premier of the state. We have certainly made steps in doing the preliminary investigations and we are waiting on our departments to report back. We are certainly committed to drafting and introducing that legislation this year, which will be consulted on. There will need to be public consultation, as with any law reform or any draft bill that we put through.

Dr WOODRUFF - Attorney-General, you met with the Australian Christian Lobby. Your diary shows that you met with them on 3 March. Why would you need to meet with that organisation? What was that about? You would understand that conversion practices are incredibly harmful. Every day that goes by there is the possibility that these harmful practices are causing trauma to people. You seem to be going incredibly slowly. What influence has the ACL had over this process?

Ms ARCHER - Look, I have met and tried to meet with people with a range of views. In relation to that meeting, I am not going to go into specifics, but I recall that the Australian Christian Lobby had a media campaign and I felt that it was incorrect. I basically was meeting them in relation to that campaign and encouraging them to see that what they were putting out was actually incorrect in relation to parents. That meeting, I think, was quite fruitful. The meeting is not what you are alleging. The diary should show, if it goes back, that I met with the bishop and the archbishop, together, to ensure I heard their views and their views that conversion practices are harmful.

This is something that I think we need to get the balance right and to ensure that I listen to all views, as does the Premier, so that we can ensure that these practices are eradicated in this state, but at the same time, that there is fairness and that we do not overreach into our criminal justice system as well. I am very committed to getting the balance right in relation to this issue, as is the Premier. It is a far more complex issue than members are probably appreciating. As with any law reform, it does have to go through a fairly robust process. We cannot just do things on the fly and overnight. Even recently, with our Nazi bill, I reflected on that and needed to make changes before I introduced that and that was an urgent bill, of course.

There are always things that we really need to do properly. They do take a bit of time. OPC, the Office of Parliamentary Counsel, is very busy with drafting, so we need to think of their schedule as well.

Dr WOODRUFF - They have hardly had a heavy legislative load from your Government. We would be lagging behind the other states. It is hardly rocket science, is it? We have the ACT, Queensland, Victoria - they have all placed bans. There is legislation in place around the country. Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales are all drafting legislation at the moment. Will you commit to having this legislation before parliament by the end of this year and draft legislation out early?

Ms ARCHER - I just said earlier that we are in the process of considering it. We will draft and introduce that this year. That is certainly our intention. The only thing that would prevent that would be the workload of the Office of Parliamentary Counsel. I dispute that our Government has not been busy. By the end of the year there will be, I expect, a lot in my legislative space. It is actually a record year for me. I have not yet introduced a lot of what is being drafted. What is being drafted is quite significant reform in some areas.

Dr WOODRUFF - Draft and introduce - is that what you are intending at the moment?

Ms ARCHER - I am certainly intending to do that, yes. That has been the commitment all along.