Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras will vote on controversial motions at their AGM on disinviting Prime Minister Scott Morrison and banning police floats in 2020.
Mardi Gras’ several hundreds members will gather in Sydney for the AGM on November 30. Members will vote on a range of motions and elect Mardi Gras’ board of directors.
Among will be motions from the Pride in Protest collective, including one to “formally disinvite” Prime Minister Scott Morrison next year.
The group emerged last year with a goal of “bringing back the proud protest roots of Mardi Gras and fight against systems and structures that maintain injustice.”
Pride in Protest member Charlie Murphy, who is running for the board, said the Morrison government has shown “continual harm and oppression” towards queer people.
“All we are asking is that Mardi Gras follows through on its commitment to social justice, and support the needs of our community,” Murphy told QNews.com.au.
Fellow Pride in Protest candidate Evan Gray said, “Scott Morrison has shown time and time again that he is an enemy of our community.
“At the AGM, we will be making clear that Scott Morrison is not welcome at Mardi Gras.”
In response, a Mardi Gras spokesperson said the board has a responsibility to consider all motions from its members.
“This year’s AGM will consider motions on everything from the pricing of membership to political issues,” the spokesperson said.
“These motions and the surrounding debate are displays of the strength and diversity of Mardi Gras and our community.
“It is a diversity that we are proud to nurture and celebrate.”
Scott Morrison did not attend this year’s parade. Morrison’s predecessor Malcolm Turnbull regularly appeared.
Pride in Protest also call for police float ban
Another Pride in Protest motion calls for the NSW and federal police force floats to be banned from next year’s parade.
While police have apologised for “some of their most visible anti-queer violence”, the group said, violence continues against “trans people, sex workers, Indigenous Australians, people experiencing homelessness” and others.
“At the AGM, we’re proposing that the police not be given a float,” candidate Bridget Harilaou said.
“We cannot abide by the continual and shameful police brutality affecting First Nations people.
“The police have a lot to answer for before they can march in our Parade.”
The Pride in Protest collective emerged last year. The group brought a series of similar motions to last year’s AGM. All were ultimately defeated.
Mardi Gras members voice disagreement with Pride in Protest
Pride in Protest also want a review into Mardi Gras’ corporate sponsors on human rights grounds.
For instance, the group objects to Qantas for its role in transporting refugees deported by the federal government.
“We are asking for a review process that is transparent and overseen by members with serious concerns about how these sponsors conduct their business,” Charlie Murphy said.
Qantas has previously said “government and courts are best placed” to make immigration decisions.
Ahead of last year’s AGM, some 70 Mardi Gras members circulated a letter pushing back against the Pride in Protest group.
“Mardi Gras is being hijacked by a group that wants to use the organisation to advance their own political agenda and not for the good of the LGBTQI community,” the letter read.
“Not everyone likes the police marching in the parade. But a large number are gay and lesbian liaison officers who help and support our community.
“Not everyone likes political parties marching in the parade, in this instance the Liberal party.
“But these are members of our community and who are we to discriminate against others?”
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