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Government minister Eric Abetz will address a group that supports gay conversion therapy.

The Senator, from Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s party, has previously been the subject of criticism for suggesting legalising same-sex marriage could open a “Pandora’s box” of legalising other unions, including polyamory.

A Christian group known as Salt Shakers will hold a farewell dinner on October 15 with Senator Eric Abetz as a guest speaker, and officially close December 31.

By supporting the event, Abetz is tacitly endorsing the politics of hate and division and is showing blatant disrespect for diversity and difference.

The Melbourne-based group is one of the few conservative Christian organisations that have continued to advocate for gay conversion therapy. They have long been opposed to LGBTI causes and issues and actively speak out against the Mardi Gras Parade, Safe Schools, marriage equality and same-sex adoption.

Buzzfeed reported that Rodney Croome, of Australian Marriage Equality, said: “The fact he has not been censured is a worrying sign about the extent to which gay hate speech will be tolerated during a plebiscite.”

Abetz was accused of undermining gay tolerance back in 2005 by addressing the Salt Shakers inaugural annual dinner.

Eric Abetz’s office has been contacted for comment.

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