Gay conversion therapy would be banned if Labor wins the federal election but Prime Minister Scott Morrison argues it's up to state governments to stamp out the discredited practice.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will on Tuesday announce a commitment to outlaw conversion therapy if he wins the May 18 poll.
Mr Morrison opposes the controversial therapy, which has been widely condemned by psychiatrists around the world.
"I don't support gay conversion therapy, don't recommend it, never have but it's ultimately a matter for the states," the prime minister told Sky News on Tuesday.
"I think we should focus on the things we actually have control over and that's taxes. I'm looking to lower taxes."
Labor has pledged to work with survivors and advocates on a range of strategies to end the practice, including a nationwide ban.
"There is no place in modern Australia for this practice," shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said in a statement.
"Labor believes that no one should be subjected to painful, unnecessary and harmful pseudoscientific practices."
National LGBTIQ+ advocacy group Equality Australia has welcomed Mr Shorten's pledge to take action at a national level.
"It's fantastic to see federal Labor commit to playing a leadership role in tackling the lasting harm caused by these insidious practices in faith communities across the nation," chief executive Anna Brown said in a statement.
"There is a role for both the federal and state governments to play in developing legislation, policies and programs to end the harm caused by anti-LGBT conversion therapy."
In February, Victoria became the first state to commit to banning gay conversion therapy.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard on Tuesday said he held concerns about gay conversion therapy and was watching closely the work being done in Victoria to ban it.
He added that he believed the issue should be considered at the next COAG Health Council "to ensure a nationally consistent approach".
Australian Associated Press