SCANNERS
With Mardi Gras fast approaching there will be a spike in anti-gay violence.
I recently went back to my home town, Perth, and was surprised to see they have introduced scanners at all their venues in Murray St, the main nightclub area.
To get in on Friday, Saturday, Sunday nights you need photo ID which is scanned as you enter. It records your name, address and photo. If you cause trouble you may be banned. Once banned you go into a database accessed by all venues and police if required.
I suggest venues consider this the next level to be considered for our venues in Oxford St. If it means one in a group of thugs turns to the others and says, “No, can’t go to Oxford St. I’ve been banned. Let’s go somewhere else”, then good.
— Andrew
SEXY GROUPIE
As a long-time devoted groupie of Sexy Galexy (Australia’s premier drag king) I was overjoyed to hear that she is returning to his old haunt of the Sly Fox on February 24 for Mardi Gras week.
Australia’s drag scene was devastated when Sexy left for the UK.
— John
FISCAL RISK
It is difficult not to conclude the 2010 split of parade and party will impact New Mardi Gras financially.
Were the party attendance to drop to 12,000 and fixed costs increase by 10 percent on last year, and each new event were not to generate a profit at all, a butcher’s paper estimate could reasonably assume the generation of a maximum of a $1.4 million loss.
That, on top of approximately $1.9 million in cash and receivables as at March 2009, would make it apparent to most that the present board would have the barest of buffers against KordaMentha ever hoping to sponsor a 2011 season.
That is not to suggest that this season particularly, there is not significant fiscal risk. The consequence of a split parade and party format on international, interstate and intrastate visitors, coupled with the global financial crisis is anyone’s guess. With a community as large, diverse and as fabulously fickle as our own, trying to guesstimate party numbers would be more difficult than teaching cats synchronised swimming.
The board’s commitment to a standard four-venue party space on assumptions of 18,000 attendees this year could be described as valiant. Its decision to offer a free parade after-party is undoubtedly bold. The Spencer Tunick photo-op is nothing if not daring.
More than ever, support for the Mardi Gras organisation and events by our community firstly, and the mitigation of risk by the NMG board secondly, will be the primary determinants of a hopefully stronger 2011 Mardi Gras season.
What NMG members and the wider community must do to ensure the financial health and viability of our headline events is relatively simple. This season, particularly, make your first party choice the Mardi Gras party and your second, Harbour ’10. I hope to see you at both.
— Michael
SPEECHLESS
Ministers Penny Wong and Penny Sharpe, along with Randwick Mayor Bruce Notley-Smith, have largely been silent on issues surrounding the queer community. Or could it be the achievement of public office by second-class citizens is simply an action that speaks louder than words?
— Stuart
Editor’s note: Penny Sharpe MLC does not hold a ministerial portfolio.
GLBT BiGOTRY
When I left Sydney in 1999 to live in a small rural village to care for animals a number of GLBT friends expressed concern about the possibility of me — an openly gay vegan man — facing prejudice.
I had never experienced anything of this nature up until this week. When I did, it was not a ‘redneck ignorant country-dweller’ who discriminated against me but my own so-called GLBT community.
According to the GLBT police (aka the organisers of the Sydney Mardi Gras) you can’t identify as a G, an L, a B or a T and care for animals.
I learnt that the float I was participating in for this year’s parade — Animal Liberation — had been cut from the parade because we aren’t ‘queer-orientated’. This is despite having participated in the past three parades and being part of Mardi Gras Fair Day for a number of years.
Who needs Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott when bigotry is alive and well in our own ‘community’?
— Bede
MALLARD’S CLAIMS
The Minister for Local Government has investigated claims [Shayne] Mallard acted dishonestly in receiving $10,000 cash while voting on a developer’s DAs at Sydney Council (SSO Letters 1007).
However, the Minister did not find Mallard was honest.
Cr Mallard’s claims he has been absolutely cleared of allegations he breached the council code of conduct and is squeaky, but this shows a loose inventiveness with the facts.
The Minister decided in his decision of January 7, 2010 that Mallard’s behaviour was, in fact, wrong because “the minutes disclosed he did not make the explanation required” indicating the nature of declared interests in the DAs.
The Minister decided, however, “this matter does not warrant further action”.
In other words, even if there was a breach of misbehaviour rules, it may have been minor or the developer received no material benefit or Mallard apologised (which he did).
Any suggestion Mallard was always acting in the public interest is asinine.
And in any event, the Minister did not investigate breaches of the ICAC Act.  The public deserves the full facts of this case.
— Andrew Woodhouse, President, Potts Point and King Cross Heritage Conservation Society

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