‘In-fighting’ throws Australian LGBTI Awards into doubt


australian lgbti awards
Photo: Australian LGBTI Awards

The company behind the annual Australian LGBTI Awards is in liquidation amid a financial dispute between its owners.

Twin Media Group was the company that operated the glitzy awards ceremony, first held in 2017. Two directors headed the company, Sydney-based Silke Bader and UK-based Linda Riley.

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Riley created the original LGBTI Awards in the UK with her ex-wife. She and Bader, publisher of Lesbians on the Loose (LOTL) magazine, later brought the awards to Australia in 2017.

The most recent Australian LGBTI Awards event was held in Sydney in March this year.

But in June, the Federal Court appointed a liquidator to wind-up Twin Media Group.

In a preliminary report, liquidator Jamieson Louttit blamed “poor strategic management” and “infighting between the two directors in charge of the company” for its failure, ABC News reported.

Riley and Bader have had a falling-out, with Riley reportedly appealing the winding-up order. The order was “obtained by deceit” and without her “knowledge and consent”, she claimed in an affidavit.

Riley also describes “increasingly contradictory” financial reports from Bader. She alleges Bader paid large amounts of money from the Twin Media Group account to her own companies.

But speaking to the ABC, Bader denied the claims made by her former business partner.

She said she wanted to continue holding the Australian event, but it had an uncertain future in its current form.

“I’m handcuffed — I would like to, but at this stage I can’t announce anything,” she said.

Riley said she did not intend to continue her involvement with the Australian LGBTI Awards.

In March, Bader registered several similar names – including Australian LGBTQI Awards and The Asia Pacific LGBTQI Awards – under a separate company called Iris Media and Events.

Australian LGBTI Awards were first held in 2017

Riley and Bader first held the Australian LGBTI Awards in 2017. The award categories are open to a public vote, with many attracting corporate sponsorship.

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Earlier this year, over 2,000 people received nominations across 18 categories including International and Local Icon of the year, Sports Personality, Ally, Brand and Marketing Campaign, Community Initiative/Charity and Inspirational Role Model.

The introduction of the New Zealand LGBTI Awards last year by Silke Bader and local Suran Dickson was met with controversy.

In June 2018, nine New Zealand LGBTIQ groups wrote a joint letter expressing concern over a perceived lack of transparency and consultation about how the awards operated, Kiwi publication The Spinoff reported.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.