The state government will attempt to crack down on so-called gay conversion therapy through a new public watchdog with the power to investigate people purporting to "cure" or suppress homosexuality. The move comes amid growing concerns that such practices remain prevalent in Australia – including alarming claims of shock treatment or aversion tactics being used in recent years in a bid to thwart same-sex attraction.
Legislation will be introduced into parliament later this year to establish a new watchdog – the Health Complaints Commissioner – with the power to investigate and sanction anyone claiming they can treat homosexuality.
While registered practitioners can already be investigated by authorities, the legislation will close a loophole that currently exists regarding unregistered practitioners making unproven claims that they can convert gay people. "If they are found to be making false claims and to be acting in a manner that puts people's physical, mental or psychological health, safety or welfare at risk, the Commissioner will be able to ban them from providing such services," said Health Minister Jill Hennessy. Read more via The Age