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The Conversion Therapy Bill Threatens Not Only Journalists and a Free Media but Also the Very Foundation of Democracy

Communism is the new black, and it’s finding its latest iteration in the West through the leftist agenda of sexual identity politics. But as with every other form of socialism, it is already manifesting the underlying totalitarian tendencies.
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A few years ago, a friend posted on Facebook a meme comprised of a picture with a Soviet-Russian bear and the words, “My favourite gender-neutral pronoun is comrade”. At first, I thought they were joking, but then I quickly realised that they were completely serious.

Communism is the new black, and it’s finding its latest iteration in the West through the leftist agenda of sexual identity politics. But as with every other form of socialism, it is already manifesting the underlying totalitarian tendencies.

It used to be considered fearmongering to warn of ‘reds under the bed’, but what has now become clear is that they are now literally in the bed with us. The Leftist LBGTIQ+ strategy has been to politicise—and then through legal sanction, weaponise—the whole area of human sexuality.

For instance, Patrick J Byrne—National President of the National Civic Council—and the leading Australian paediatrician, Professor Dr John Whitehall, have produced a paper on how the Daniel Andrew’s conversion therapy bill threatens not only journalists and a free media but also the very foundation of Australia’s democracy. What follows is a ten-point summary of their most salient points:

First, it is a totalitarian threat to journalism and every media organization’s freedom of speech. Byrne and Whitehall describe the Victorian legislation as being “far worse and far more draconian than section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.” As such, the Bill is a threat to freedom of speech as well as freedom of the press, both of which are essential to any tolerant democracy.

What this means in practice is that when the Bill takes effect in twelve months’ time, it will be a criminal offence to produce a book that questions transgenderism. Banned works would include Byrne and Whitehall’s Transgender: One Shade of Grey: the legal consequences for man & woman, schools, sports, politics, democracy (Wilkerson, 2018) and Abigail Shrier’s, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing our Daughters (Regency, 2020).

Second, the Victorian legislation will also make it a criminal act to even ‘counsel’ a person against changing his or her sex or gender identity. Note that according to transgender theory, a person’s gender identity can mean “being at a point on a spectrum between 100 percent male and 100 per cent female” or even as “identifying as genderless, i.e. having no sex or gender”. Thus, if someone took offence at being exhorted to see themselves as being simply either male or female then the person counselling them could be prosecuted.

Third, the definition of what constitutes “injury” is very broad and subjective. Under Victoria’s Crimes Acts 1958, injury can be anything from ‘physical injury’ or ‘harm to mental health’. As a result, a person can claim to have been ‘injured’ simply by having a health practitioner sign a form saying that they have suffered stress, anxiety or become depressed simply because of someone else’s words or actions. This could include even something as innocuous as negative media commentary.

Fourth, the fines and prison terms being proposed are substantial. Byrne and Whitehall explain that:

Under the Bill, a journalist or commentator could then face up to five years in prison or a maximum fine of $99,132, or both. But if the media corporate organisation employing the journalist was considered to be campaigning on the issue, and thereby causing injury, it could be fined $495,660.

What’s more, Byrne and Whitehall go on to state:

Should the person claiming injury say that the media commentary has caused them to have suicide ideation, then this would be grounds for finding the journalist guilty of “serious injury”, meaning “endangering life” under the Crimes Act. In which case, the journalist or commentator could face up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $198,264. If the media corporate was found to be supporting the journalist and campaigning on the issue, it could be fined $991,320.

Fifth, advertisers and publishers will hence also be prosecuted. Following on from the previous point, the Bill makes it a criminal offence whenever someone “publishes or displays, or authorises, the publication or display of, an advertisement or notice” of a practice that could reasonably be understood as indicating, that the person or any other person intends to engage in one or more chance or suppression practices.”

This means that any publisher, printer, journalist, blogger, commentator, media outlet, physical bookstore or online bookstore (such as Amazon) could be prosecuted for advertising a change or suppression practice. The penalties for an individual are up to $9,913 and a body corporate, $49,566.

Sixth, the prosecution of body corporates. The legislation will not only affect journalists, authors and publishers but also individuals and body corporates. Indeed, it will implicate anyone who is “guilty of having in any way caused a person to suppress their gender identity.” The results of this are far-reaching for all sections of society. Byrne and Whitehall give the following potential example:

Could charges be brought against a council in NSW or Queensland or Victoria that publicly refused to allow biological males, young or old, who identify as female to use the female showers, change rooms and toilets? Would publicity over their policy be deemed to cause injury to a male-to-female person, or a group of such persons in Victoria, and make even an interstate corporate body subject to Victoria’s draconian conversion therapy laws?

Seventh, the prosecution of people from other states. Byrnes and Whitehall state that is someone “were to complain publicly, regardless of what state they were in, then under the Daniel Andrews legislation they would be at risk of being convicted and fined for practising conversion therapy if their complaints were to stop a Victorian male-to-female transgender from identifying as female. What’s more, they ask the secondary question:

If a sporting club in Queensland or WA were to stop such male-to-females playing in female competitions and cause ‘injury’ to a trans-male-to-female in Victoria who was ‘induced’ to suppress their gender identity by not seeking to play in a women’s sporting competition, would the club be hauled before a Victorian tribunal or court and found guilty of corporate criminality?

Eighth, the prosecution of parents. Of probably the greatest community concern, is the criminalising of parents who oppose their child transitioning to another gender.

Parents who seek treatment/counselling outside Victoria for their child, other than affirmation of the child’s gender transition, could be found guilty of such an offence and imprisoned or fined. The Bill would make it an offence, punishable by up to 2 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to nearly $38,653 to take a person out of Victoria to access what in Victoria would amount to a “change or suppression practice”. In the case of a body corporate, the fine would be up to $199,464.

Ninth, the legislation opens Pandora’s box in regards to single-sex schools. What if children want to identify as a different gender half way through their education? Will the school be compelled to accommodate them or be prosecuted and fined if they do not?

What’s more, Byrne and Whitehall rightly state: “At a time when child-on-child sex abuse is rife, and when a biological boy only has to self-identify as female to be granted the same sex-based rights as females, this development is particularly concerning”. Further, the authors rightly ask:

What will happen to biology teachers, whether secular or religious, when their classes cover both animal and human sexuality? Will teaching that in all species, beings are either biologically male or female according to their chromosomes, hormones and reproductive potential be regarded as a form of conversion therapy practice?

Tenth, the end of women’s rights and science. Ultimately, the Bill puts to death the rights of women. No longer can there be—not that one must necessarily agree with this—affirmative action jobs for Victorian women, female-only gyms or even lesbian organisations. This is because all of these things are based on the truth that there is such a thing as a biological woman as distinct to a man.

What’s more, with the implementation of this legislation, the empirical reality of scientific research is made null and void. It affects everything from the use of language (is it ‘they’, ‘she’ or something else?), the stifling of medical research and the outlawing of a biological worldview. Ultimately though, the legislation is inherently contradictory. As Byrne and Whitehall point out:

Despite the Bill insisting on the absolute legal recognition of a person’s gender identity, when it comes to medical treatments the Bill reverts to natal sex-based medicine. It allows for a health service provider to provide a “practice or conduct…that is…necessary to provide a health service.

This allows for a pregnant female-to-male to be treated for a female pregnancy, or for breast or cervical cancer.

It allows for a male-to-female transgender to be treated as a male for prostate issues or testicular cancer.

It seems that despite draconian punishments, fines and imprisonment for any actions deemed to suppress a person’s gender identity, the Bill recognises the need to treat a person for sex-based medical conditions according to their natal sex!

Once again, we will not feel the full force of this draconian legislation until it takes effect in twelve months’ time.  However, Byrne and Whitehall have published a prescient warning of what is to come. Indeed, they make the comparison that it is “like 18C on steroids”. In the current context though, I wonder if ‘steroids’ should be substituted with ‘Viagra’?


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