105,000-plus written submissions were made on the proposed ‘conversion therapy’ bill, and almost-3,000 submitters want to make an oral submission to the committee.
This will mean that the government’s desire to push the bill through by February at the latest is simply not feasible or fair.
The previous record was 38,000 on the euthanasia bill and oral submissions were heard over a 12-month period. There was a 16-month gap between the 1st reading and the Select committee needing to report back.
In total contrast, the Justice Committee has been given just 6 months to hear submissions and provide a report, despite there being almost three-times the number of submissions.
All organisations, families and individuals who have requested to make oral submissions on the bill should be heard by the Select Committee because of the significance and potential effects of the proposed law change.
The fact that a record number of submissions by far have been received on this bill shows just how important this issue is to so many people. It is a major threat to freedom of choice and religious freedom, and it is not acceptable for the Select Committee to pick and choose which submissions it will and won’t hear.
In a healthy democracy the people are entitled to speak, and both sides of this debate deserve to be heard in full. It should not be rushed and democracy should not be denied just because of the government’s pre-determined date which fails to recognise the weight of the issue.
The Justice Committee should hear all submitters who wish to be heard.
We must fully debate this well-intended but flawed bill which wants to ban access to personal autonomy and criminalise parents who genuinely care for their children struggling with gender dysphoria.