Victorian Coalition’s Zoom chat turns obnoxious as gay conversion explodes

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The Coalition supports the ban on gay conversion therapy, but shares the concerns of the Australian Medical Association and some faith, psychiatric, legal and parental groups that the legislation went beyond simply banning harmful practices and that the penalties were too severe.

Under former leader Michael O’Brien, the opposition promised many of these groups that if they won next year’s election they would bring forward amendments to the bill to give parents the right to speak with them. their children from gender and sexuality issues and protect the work of psychiatrists. committed to evidence-based practice to support the mental health of gay men and people of diverse genders.

However, after Age signaled the Coalition’s promise to introduce these amendments, Mr Newbury said they would not seek to make any changes to the law.

At one point during Tuesday’s rocky meeting, far-right liberal backbench Bernie Finn said the opposition should not give up its commitment to community groups to change laws. “What do we tell them? he said.

Shadow Attorney General Tim Smith has stepped in to challenge Finn’s interpretation of the Coalition’s position on the bill. “Read the fucking bill, Bernie,” he shouted.

Mr. Finn: “We are committed; you might not care about commitments, but a lot of us do.

Victoria Nationals leader Peter Walsh.Credit: Provided

Mr Smith: “I can read, fool. Read this fucking thing.

Mr. Finn: “You are a fucking idiot.”

According to two Zoom Appeal MPs, Mr. O’Brien asked Mr. Guy if the opposition was still committed to the principles of the amendments.

Mr Guy replied that the opposition still supported the amendments, but a spokesperson for the Leader of the Opposition said on Wednesday that “as long as Matthew Guy leads the Liberal Party, the law on gay conversion will not be changed” .

A coalition MP described Tuesday’s meeting as an “episode of Seinfeld”.

“Newbury’s bulletproof guarantees can best be compared to a soggy Scotch cookie from Brighton coffee,” they said.

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“The biggest problem at stake is about a month in [to his leadership], there are problems in Matthew Guy’s paradise: he boxed the WhatsApp group for MPs, boxed Question Time meetings, and now he has a newly appointed freestyle shadow minister with no authority .

The opposition’s change in policy on homosexual conversion has not yet been communicated to any stakeholder. The president of the Victorian branch of the Australian Medical Association, Roderick McRae, said he had not had a conversation with the opposition on the matter since Mr Guy became chief.

“We would expect there to be no change and they would stick to the commitment,” he said. “If they wanted to change it, we are open to a conversation.”

Mr Guy led the coalition to defeat in the 2018 state election after spending years pledging a tougher approach to youth crime and campaigning against sexuality and gender curricula in schools. Since returning to leadership, with crucial support from both Mr Smith and Mr Newbury, he has moved away from social issues and reduced his agenda to the economic and social impact of public health restrictions.

A MP said Mr Newbury’s decision not to guarantee any amendment to the gay conversion bill was taken with the imprimatur of Mr Guy, who wished to avoid the perception that the opposition was in trouble. comfortable with the government’s socially progressive agenda.

“Matthew was scared of the African gang stuff the last time around and he’s trying to remake himself and forget about the old agenda… He sent Newbury to overturn the old decision,” the MP said.

Mr. Walsh and Mr. Newbury declined to comment.

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