Former federal Ballarat candidate Dianne Colbert has had her mental health first aid accreditation suspended after a series of anti-LGBTI Facebook posts which included videos about “healing from homosexuality”.
Mental Health First Aid Australia received a complaint about Ms Colbert from former Ballarat Greens council candidate Tony Goodfellow earlier this week who said her practices were “dangerous and un-scientific”.
Ms Colbert’s professional Facebook page says she has been conducting mental health first aid since 2006 and youth focused services since 2007.
Last week the Youtube channel for Ms Colbert’s business Healthy Hearts Healthy Minds posted a video with former gay activist James Parker, who claims to have overcome homosexuality through finding Jesus Christ.
A Facebook post said Ms Colbert would be bringing Mr Parker to Ballarat in February for a workshop on ‘adult recovery of child sexual abuse’.
In a statement Mental Health First Aid Australia chief executive Nataly Bovopoulos said “the instructor's accreditation to deliver MHFA courses has temporarily been suspended, pending the outcome of the investigation”. Replying to Mr Goodfellow, Ms Bovopoulos described the complaint as “very concerning” and said “MHFA Australia does not support non-evidence based views about, nor stigmatising attitudes towards, LGBTIQ+ individuals”.
“All instructors sign a commitment and responsibilities document which states that they will refrain from imposing personal agendas and values where they do not coincide with those of the training or where they bring the reputation of the MHFA Program into disrepute,” the response said.
Ms Colbert, who ran against Catherine King for the Australian Christians at the 2016 federal election, was also a candidate at the 2016 Ballarat City Council elections. Her MHFA profile which stated she had completed “over 100 mental health first aid courses to date” has been removed.
Ballarat LGBTI activist Koby Bunney said encouraging LGBTI people to attempt to become heterosexual was an “abuse of our human rights”.
Ms Colbert said the claims which were being made against her were “fraudulent”. She confirmed Facebook posts were part of the investigation but declined to answer further questions.
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