New South Wales becomes fourth state in Australia to ban conversion therapy with historic vote

New South Wales joins the forefront of LGBTQ+ rights in Australia, criminalising harmful conversion therapy practices with landmark vote.

This article is about a conversion therapy ban in New South Wales, Australia. In the photo, a hand holding up a sign that reads
Image: Via Shutterstock - Howard Cheng

New South Wales has become the latest state in Australia to ban so-called “conversion therapy” practices. The NSW Upper House passed the bill today, March 22, with 22 votes in favour and four against after debating the issue in an overnight marathon session. 

The legislation will criminalise all conversion therapy practices within the state. It will also make it illegal for people to be taken out of New South Wales to undergo such practices and additionally provides redress to survivors through a civil pathway. 

The Environment Minister and leader of the Legislative Council, Penny Sharpe, welcomed the ban on conversion therapy, stating that it showed that “harmful practices have no place” in New South Wales.

“What New South Wales has done today is to say to our LGBTQ community that you are fine just the way you are and that we will look after you and that we will protect you,” she said.

The Minister added, “New South Wales is better today with the passing of this legislation.”

The Greens’ upper house MP Cate Faehrmann reflected on how this bill represents another step towards equality.” 

“The archaic and cruel practice of conversion therapy will now be banned in NSW,” she said. “It was worth one hell of a late night to be one step closer to full equality.”

Sydney MP Alex Greenwich also expressed satisfaction with the new legislation, stating: “The sun rises today on a state that is safer for LGBTQ people.” 

He emphasized, “LGBTQ people are loved and beautiful, and futile attempts to change or suppress who we are will now be illegal in NSW.”


Attorney-General Michael Daley applauded the decision to criminalize conversion therapy practices, stating: “Conversion therapy proceeds on the basis that people in the LGBTQ+ community are broken, they need fixing. But we like them just the way they are.”

The ban on conversion therapy practices fulfilled one of Labor’s election promises, receiving praise from several equality groups.

Anna Brown, head of advocacy group Equality Australia, described the move as a “historic step,” adding: “It is a landmark moment for our state, where the trailblazing 78ers first bravely stepped out of the bars and into the streets in protest.” 

She emphasized, “This law will save countless people from a lifetime of pain and in some cases save lives. It sends a powerful message that we are whole and valid, just as we are.”

Legislation outlawing conversion therapy has already been enacted in other states in Australia such as Victoria, the ACT, and New Zealand, while Tasmania and South Australia are still contemplating reforms.

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