Member for Western Victoria Bev McArthur has opposed the state government's legislation to ban gay conversion therapy in Victoria despite labelling conversion practices as barbaric.
The Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition bill aims to criminalise gay conversion practices and includes penalties of up to 10 years in jail and maximum fines of $10,000 for anyone caught trying to suppress or change someone's sexuality.
Ms McArthur urged the crossbench to vote in favour of her Liberal Party's amendments which aim to protect the rights of medical patients, families and faith communities.
"Individuals going through transitioning deserve to be provided with honest and open advice," she said. "All parents should have the right to counsel their children, especially those at an age before or during puberty.
"My first real reservation regarding this legislation pertains to the right of individuals to seek psychiatric help without medical professionals being afraid of directions based on ideology and significant fines or even jail.
"This bill will clearly limit all levels of that support and advice by only allowing them to hear one angle.
"So I cannot in good conscience vote for this bill in the form in which it has come before this parliament."
The bill passed the lower house on December 10 last year.
Ms McArthur said she'd had thousands of constituents contact her about the bill and her conclusion from the discussions was that more definitions were needed about what counted as conversion therapy.
"I will of course wholeheartedly support the opposition's amendments that request further consultation with stakeholders," she said. "(This includes) the referral of the bill to a parliamentary committee enshrining parental rights over their children and those suggestions proposed by the Australian Medical Association.
"The consultation conducted by the opposition has shown the deep flaws in this bill, and proposed a number of solutions which retain the stated purpose of, but cuts out the assault on personal and religious liberty."
Ms McArthur refuted claims her opposition to the bill signalled inherent homophobic views, but insisted more details were needed about the bill before it became legislation.
The bill will be voted on in the coming days.
On Wednesday South West Coast MP Roma Britnell said there was no place for gay conversion therapy in Victoria.
"There is absolutely no place for conversion practices in Victoria," she said. "No one should be told they are broken and need to be fixed for being who they are and I of course support laws that stop that from happening."
Brophy Family and Youth Services SAFE in the South West Coordinator Lyn Eales said it was imperative the bill passed. "It will protect many people from enduring practices which seek to suppress or change peoples sexuality or gender identity," she said.
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