An election will be held this Saturday for the next board of New Mardi Gras with 12 nominees vying for 10 positions.

The nominees, including five members of the existing board -“ Liz Dods, Jock McKeon, Nicholas Parker, Steph Sands and current co-chair Michael Woodhouse -“ were announced at a NMG meeting held Monday night.

The remaining nominees are newcomers to NMG and community members heavily involved with this year’s Mardi Gras: Scott Carn, Andrew Faith, Diane Minnis, Mark Orr, Wayne Percival, Amelia Powys and Tim Young.

More than 750 members who joined the organisation prior to 26 April are eligible to vote at the meeting and are encouraged to attend, NMG company secretary Stuart Newell told Sydney Star Observer.

One of the reasons why we wanted to have an election as soon as possible was we wanted to return the organisation to community hands, so that the members had an opportunity to vote for the directors, because currently the directors have been appointed by the four organisations [Pride, Gay And Lesbian Rights Lobby, ACON and Queer Screen], Newell told Sydney Star Observer.

A further 300 people have since applied to join the organisation, although according to the group’s constitution these members cannot be processed until after the AGM. They will not be able to vote at the meeting.

Co-chair Michael Woodhouse told the Star he was thrilled at the new organisation’s membership tally.

We’ve actually had a stronger response to membership than I expected. It was a great vote of support that so many people have actually wanted to join New Mardi Gras, Woodhouse said.

Members attending the meeting will be consulted on the issue of granting two-year terms for board members. Also on the agenda is the report from directors and consideration of the accounts and balance sheet. The appointment of an auditor will also be discussed.

Newell said accounts for the company had been prepared up until April 2003, with another meeting to be held later in the year to present updated audited reports to members.

Woodhouse told the Star NMG have only one more payment left to administrators.

We’ve got one more payment after Mardi Gras 2004, which is $70,000 plus the levy on tickets, Woodhouse said. But the way we’ve restructured the deed we’ve shared some of the risks, so if it’s a really small party then we don’t have to pay as much. That was how we tried to keep the price down and affordable.

But we have now made the payment that we needed to after Mardi Gras 2003, he said.

The meeting will be held this Saturday 10 May at 2pm at the Newtown Community Centre, on the corner of Bedford, Australia and King Streets. Proxy forms for members need to be registered prior to the meeting by forwarding forms to NMG at 26 Hutchinson Street, Surry Hills, or by fax on 9557 8259, by Friday 9 May. Copies of the proxy form need to be taken to the meeting.

For information visit the NMG website at www.mardigras.org.au.

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