Decision Maker Response

Roger Cook’s response

Jul 2, 2018 — I am strongly opposed to and do not support the use of sexual orientation change efforts of any kind. The Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians
are strongly against psychological practices that attempt to change sexual orientation, as is the Australian Psychological Society and Australian Psychological Association.

Any public or private psychiatrist or psychologist practicing psychological practices that attempt to change sexual orientation may be in breach of their professional code of conduct and code of ethics and I strongly encourage the reporting of these breaches.

Western Australians can report breaches to the Health and Disability Complaints Office (HaDSCO) at https://www.hadsco.wa.gov.au or by contacting the complaints and enquiries line: (08) 6551 7600. Alternatively, individuals can make a notification to the
Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency (AHPRA). AHPRA is responsible for the regulation and accreditation of psychologists and doctors in Australia. For instructions on how to make a notification please visit the AHPRA website at https://www.ahpra.gov.au or call AHPRA on 1300 419 495.

The counselling sectors are currently unregulated in Western Australia and counsellors are not required to be registered with an agency such as AHPRA to practice. This means reporting and identifying individuals and organisations practicing psychological practices that attempt to change sexual orientation is difficult.

HaDSCO, Western Australia s Health and Disability Complaints Office is currently considering the adoption of the National Code of Conduct for health care workers. The National Code of Conduct sets minimum standards of conduct and practice for all unregistered health care workers. Psychological practices that attempt to change sexual orientation would likely be a breach of the National Code of Conduct and I will be raising this issue with HaDSCO.

I am aware that the State of Victoria has passed the Health Complaints Act 2016 and established a Health Complaints Commissioner to handle complaints about both registered and non-registered general health service providers. I intend to examine the outcomes of the Victorian Health Complaints Commissioner and determine if similar legislation is required in Western Australia.

The health and wellbeing of the Western Australian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community is important to me and practices that attempt to change sexual orientation are abhorrent and negatively impact the mental health of LGBTI persons.

I have committed funding for the development of an LGBTI health strategy, which aims to raise awareness of the specific health and mental health challenges experienced by LGBTI people.

Here is the link on the announcement on the development of the strategy: www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/McGowan/2017/11/Funding-boost-for-LGBTIcommunity.aspx

Thank you for bringing this important matter to my attention.