Politics

What A Shock: Scott Morrison Has Some Pretty Cooked Thoughts On Conversion Therapy

There's only one acceptable view on conversion therapy: it should be outlawed.

Scott Morrison

Our new Prime Minister Scott Morrison took to the airwaves this morning to share his thoughts on a couple of issues, and oh man, some of those thoughts were really not ideal. Specifically, Morrison let us know that while “of course” he loves gay people, he’s really not all that concerned about conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy is the attempt — totally unsupported by any actual science or medical advice — to stop a person from identifying as LGBTI+. The United Nations has described the practice as torture, and the issue has been described by LGBTI+ Australians have identified as their top policy priority right now.

That’s the kind of conversion therapy Morrison described today as “just not an issue for me”.

Specifically, 3AW’s Neil Mitchell asked Morrison if he reckons gay conversion therapy works — a pretty cooked question, given that the research by actual experts is pretty clear on the fact that (a) it doesn’t and (b) it’s extraordinarily harmful to even attempt. “I’ve never really thought about it,” was Morrison’s immediate response.

Mitchell then pointed out that 43,000 Australians (and counting) have signed a Change.org petition calling on Morrison specifically to outlaw conversion therapy.

“Ah, well, people should abide by the law,” Morrison said. “If people aren’t breaking the law then that’s a matter for them”. He had to be reminded by Mitchell that actually, gay conversion therapy is not currently illegal, and that the petition is calling on Morrison to change that given the immense health risks associated with it.

“Mate, I respect people of all sexualities, I respect people of all religions, all faiths. I love all Australians, and what I sometimes get frustrated by is when people say they love Australia but they don’t seem to love Australians very much,” was Morrison’s baffling response to that.

“Well you love all Australians, but you didn’t like gay marriage?” Mitchell pointed out.

“Well what’s that got to do with me not loving all Australians?” Morrison snapped, apparently unaware that actively attempting to deny the human rights of an entire chunk of Australia is not exactly loving.

“I think people should make their own choices about their own lives,” was his final point on the issue. “That’s always been my view. I’ve never been involved in anything like that, I’ve never supported anything like that. So mate, it’s just not an issue for me, and I’m not planning to get engaged in the issue.”

Morrison said all this just a few minutes after he declared that his Prime Ministerial mantra would be “a fair go for those who have a go”, except for LGBTIQ+ people apparently (and refugees, Indigenous Australians, and a growing list of people Morrison has already fucked over). ScoMo, more like ScoMophobe tbh.

The topic of conversation came up following the launch of the Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) Survivor Statement yesterday, which featured a coalition of survivors of conversion therapy programs calling on the Australian Government to take steps to end conversion therapy in this country once and for all.

The statement made a number of recommendations, asking that the government set up an inquiry into the extent and prevalence of conversion therapy in Australia, introduce greater regulatory enforcement, a public health and awareness campaign, and better mechanisms to report organisations and individuals promoting conversion therapy. Those recommendations have already been backed by a range of high-profile LGBTIQ+ and human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, PFLAG, ACON and Rainbow Families Victoria.

If you’d like to learn more about or add your support to the SOCE statement, you can find it here. If you’d like to suffer through the entire interview with Scott Morrison, you can find that here.