Strong protest vote at Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras AGM

mardi gras agm

The majority of members in attendance at today’s virtual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras AGM voted against banning police and corrective service officers from the 2021 parade. However, the 327 member votes for keeping the floats as opposed for 261 against showed a strong and increasingly influential protest vote.

Pride in Protest member Keith Quayle proposed the motion.

“As a gay Aboriginal man who has been in prison, I know firsthand that prisons and police do not keep anyone safe. They put trans people in solitary confinement, put them in the wrong gender prisons, and brutalise Queer and Indigenous people without any accountability. They do not deserve to be in our Pride parade.”

The Pride in Protest Collective describe themselves as campaigning for “Mardi Gras’ return to grassroots protest and political action.”

Pride in Protest also failed to attract sufficient votes for a motion to ban corporate sponsors from the parade. The collective made particular mention of Qantas, ANZ and Star Casino.

Their criticisms included:

  • The role of Qantas in the deportation of asylum seekers.
  • ANZ’s continued investment in fossil fuels.
  • Star Casino paying its executives $1.4 million in bonuses this year while claiming $9.6 million in JobKeeper payments. The motion also referenced the negative impacts of gambling.

Another unsuccessful motion requested that the board disinvite PM Scott Morrison and Premier Gladys Berejiklian from the parade.

Mardi Gras stated ahead on the AGM that they stood “openly in support and solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement”.

They also acknowledged “the historic difficulties between the NSW Police, the LGBTIQ+ community and First Nations people.

“We also acknowledge the significant work the LGBTIQ+ community, the NSW Police and [Mardi Gras] have undertaken to develop stronger relationships with our community.”

Mardi Gras AGM held on Zoom

Due to COVID-19, this year’s Mardi Gras AGM was held on Zoom.

Four Pride in Protest members also nominated for positions on the eight-person Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Board. Results of that vote are expected to be released early next week.

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