Issue Guide: a law to suppress “conversion”

How a law to prevent “conversion” practices could suppress care

1. The issue in brief

According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald on 11 August 2023, the NSW Government is proposing laws that may affect the way teachers, chaplains and counsellors interact with students at school. 

We all agree that trying to force people to change their sexual orientation is just wrong. We all want to outlaw these coercive practices. Unfortunately, there are significant unintended consequences of the Government’s proposal. These proposed laws threaten to gag or intimidate teachers motivated by their faith who want to support young people who have questions about their sexual orientation or gender identity. It may also criminalise the actions of parents genuinely trying to support their children.

2. What could this mean for your sons and daughters at Christian schools?

The full roll out of the reform package could criminalise a pastoral conversation that a teacher has with a young person who is struggling with questions about their gender identity or exploring their sexual orientation. 

Once implemented, some teachers at your Christian school may feel threatened by the laws. It may mean they avoid contact with a child who simply needs support. For other staff, led by their conscience, it could mean facing a fine or even jail time. 

The law could also restrict the preaching and teaching of traditional Christian morality and values in schools and churches. Even though the majority of Christian school  parents (in one large survey with over 8,500 responses, 74%) say they parents have chosen their Christian school because of the Christian values and teaching.

3. What can you do?

If you live in NSW, contact your local member today, which you can do below.