Sometimes I read things that I really don’t know what to do about. Things that, to me at least, are so significant that, even if the reaction to me repeating them is anger, I feel I have to at least inform others of.
It is one of the strengths of free speech. Free speech allows us to raise concerns so other people can consider those concerns.
In Dr John Whitehall’s Quadrant article of July 2018, he drew my attention to the draft platform prepared by the Australian Labor Party for its National Conference later this year which includes, for the first time, in Chapter 10 (“Strong democracy and effective government”) a specific provision regarding gay conversion therapy.
Paragraph 83 says: “Labor opposes the practice of so-called conversion and reparative therapies on LGBTIQ people and seek [sic] to criminalise these practices.”
Whitehall notes: “The ALP’s federal health spokesperson, Catherine King, has been reported to have declared that ‘stamping out gay conversion therapy would be a “personal priority” if Labor wins the next election’.”
Whitehall notes that there is no age limit for conversion therapy and, therefore, these new laws would “ensure child protection authorities acknowledge attempts to ‘cure’ gender questioning children and young people as serious psychological abuse, and would acknowledge these harms, when suffered within the family, as domestic violence against the child”.
Merely waiting expectantly for the orientating effects of puberty may be considered a sin of omission, deserving punishment by federal law.
The use of language politically can often be loaded and some terminology with which we are unfamiliar can be misleading. Whitehall explains that “conversion therapy” is double-speak for any attempt to reduce gender dysphoria by helping the child become comfortable with its natal identity, and not ushering the child onto the pathway of affirmation.
Merely waiting expectantly for the orientating effects of puberty may be considered a sin of omission, deserving punishment by federal law. In the future, it may become very dangerous for a child to express confusion of gender: no one will be able legally to protect it from the protocols of the state.
My response to Whitehall’s article is really a two-fold concern.
The first is simply my concern for children. If the Royal Commission into Institutional Abuse has taught us anything it is that every effort needs to be made for the protection of children.
There is no doubt that childhood and adolescence can be a time of significant confusion when it comes to one’s identity. It is hardly helpful to legislate for a time of such confusion against counsel that is age-sensitive.
It is also irresponsible to ignore the changes that come with puberty.
If the legislation as suggested by the Labor party proceeds, it may well enshrine in law further institutional abuse of our nation’s children. The redress that may well be needed in years to come as a result will be drawn from the pocket of the taxpayer and not the political elite responsible.
The second of my concerns is the suggested intrusion of the state into family life.
Sadly, we will always experience extremes when it comes to dysfunctional families, but it is one of the blessings of living in our nation that the significantly larger proportion of Australian families are pretty good.
The idea that a parent’s responses to their children’s identity questions could be considered as domestic violence against a child is, from my perspective, political power over-stepping. Any attempt by the state to govern the home life of Australians is an insult to parents of such homes.
One might wonder what next… political parties demanding that we teach our children to vote for them and prosecuting parents for their failure to do so?
If I have misread the situation, or been misinformed, I apologise but when I am confronted by information so concerning then I think we all need to be better informed.
It was Jesus Christ who shone light into the darkness and from whom we learn that only the truth will set us free.
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