Questions for NMG

I have been a volunteer for Mardi Gras and New Mardi Gras for the past 10 years, I have been an Area

Coordinator for the parade for the past six or seven years and I have been a member of NMG for the past two years.

At no time was I contacted, surveyed or consulted in any of the above capacities regarding the changes to next year’s festival. I find it suprising that you [David Imrie] told SSO you got the opinions of 1500 volunteers and 46 organisers. I would like to know who these people are. As I have been around for a long time, I know people throughout the volunteer base and none of the people I know were contacted.

As I have previously stated directly to you, the parade does not belong to you. It does not belong to the board. The parade belongs to NMG members and the gay community. You and the board are there to run the organisation in the gay community’s best interests.

Why make changes that potentially could see 2010 being the last year of Mardi Gras without even consulting the members?

If these changes fail miserably, will you come to the rescue of NMG and bail it out of financial ruin, or will you simply go -˜Oops, that was a mistake sorry about that’?

Why haven’t the results of these alleged surveys been publicised?

Why, after the first email sent to members advising of these changes, was a second email sent retracting the statements that members were consulted, only for you to then go to SSO and state you surveyed volunteers and organisers?

What are you trying to cover up?

I have lost all faith in the NMG board. This organisation is one I am struggling to find a reason to support any more.

The only thing I want to see come from this is your resignation as chair of NMG. This is something I am as passionate about as my black armbands you detested this year.

-” Rod Pickering, AC Start South

MARDI GRAS #1

Last year we missed Mardi Gras party due to me thinking it was the last weekend in February. We had booked to go to Bali.
Not to make the same mistake this time I called NMG office and asked what date the party was in 2010.
I was told only a month before receiving the email about the parade/party split that the party would be on February 27.
With this information we booked two flights to Bali on March 3.
I was surprised then to get an email from NMG saying they had decided to make the party on Sat 6 March.
I think it a good idea to try this. But they should have given more notice. A full year would have been better.
How many other people like us have made plans in advance for both parade and party that cannot be changed now?
Good luck with Mardi Gras 2010. We will be in Bali on the beach.
See you in 2011. That’s if everybody gets the dates right.
-” Henry

MARDI GRAS #2

I’m of the understanding that the reasons behind the split are very simple. Someone failed to book the venue for the party.

By the time this oversight had been realised and frantic enquiries made to the agents responsible for taking booking at the preferred party venue it had already been booked on the relevant weekend by the Antiques Roadshow.

The Antiques Roadshow have pulled off the move of the century and slotted themselves into the gay calendar with all the grace of a bull in a china shop. This may not have been on purpose but having a huge group of cashed-up pooftas running around the city at the same time they happen to be in town with all those shiny antiques… I can see the stampede already.

All this tripe about making things more diverse, or prolonging the excitement or any other bullshit that NMG is now in the process of trying desperately to sell us. Truth is all we require.

An oversight is one thing, lying to the public is clearly something else altogether.
Come clean before you dig yourself a hole from which you cannot escape. If it is revealed at a later date that the facts are as above then there will be no hope of redemption for a single member of the NMG board.
Egg can be easily wiped from your face. Bullshit will leave a stain.

-” Jay

CONCESSION SCHEME

I would love to have the option of donating towards a concession Mardi Gras event ticket to a person who relies totally on the DSP due to HIV [SSO Letters 972].

A scheme available at the time of my event ticket purchase could be implemented by introducing a new grade of ticket prices where the difference between a full and concession price is donated by me.
If ticket prices are $15 full and $10 concession, then offer me three ticket prices: $15 full, $10 conc. and $20 including donation. The $20 purchase would fund my full ticket price and the extra $5 I pay is deducted from a separate full ticket price to make a concession ticket available to an eligible person.

No doubt a lot of logistical issues to consider but surely not insurmountable.

Why shouldn’t such a scheme be introduced nationwide to cover all public ticket events, not just MG, to help people with similar financial constraints in other communities? Sometimes concession tickets are not available. In a scheme like this the extra concession tickets are funded totally by the public and the event organisers don’t lose any money. Let’s lead the way and show Sydney what can be done.

-” Paul

IMPERIAL IMPORTANCE

In his personal letter to the Lord Mayor and Sydney City councillors, Ally Balour, co-chair of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission based in New York City, said he could not emphasise enough what an important role the Imperial Hotel plays in the LGBT cultural identity.

He points out that the significance of this establishment of course was forever memorialised in the motion picture Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. He cites the Imperial Hotel in the top few LGBT culturally important places in the world and symbolic of the history of LGBT struggle for recognition and equality. He reckons the currently proposed stiletto shoe at the front façade will readily identify the Imperial Hotel’s significant role in the motion picture Priscilla.

I believe it is important that an up-to-date and forward-thinking NSW Land and Environment Court

Commissioner allows the proposed 2.4m high stiletto as a public art statement on the Imperial’s rooftop. This will be a formal acknowledgement of the Imperial Hotel as mainstream Australia’s first and only fully publicly recognised LGBT culturally significant architecture.

LGBT intellectual ownership of our Impy will be permanently secured in the broader Australian mindset like mainstream Australia’s many culturally important public buildings, streets, parks and beaches, like the Opera House, Bondi Beach and so on.

-” Craig

DEBATE WELCOME

James (SSO 971) raises some great points and CAAH welcomes the debate.

Same-sex marriage for us is a vital campaign to win, and having input from as many community members as possible is important.

James is right in that Centrelink changes have made many same-sex couples lives worse. While we at CAAH recognise it is a progressive move that a government department has finally recognised same-sex couples live in de facto arrangements, we also recognise it’s essentially cost-cutting measures dressed up as a step towards a fairer society.

Also, for the government to recognise us at a de facto level, at the same time refusing to recognise same-sex marriage is hypocritical.

Wouldn’t raising all Centrelink payments to a liveable wage be a better way of heralding a new dawn of full equality than forcing same-sex couples to take a drop in pay? Our hats off to the community groups that led the fight for a grandfathering clause, which this Government heartlessly refused to concede.

CAAH welcomes all people to this campaign and would love to hear from community members in polyamorous relationships.

Don’t want to get married? You don’t have to. But CAAH thinks we should support full equality for LGBTI couples. And that means, same-sex marriage rights, civil unions and de facto rights.

CAAH does not want to exclude our trans community members. They were at the forefront of the same-sex marriage campaign in 2004. They understood how detrimental it was for Labor and Liberal to change the constitution and further entrench the gender binary into marriage laws into the constitution.
The government of 2004 pushed for, and succeeded in a change that limits marriage to only between a man and a woman -” this move was clearly homophobic.
The NSW GLRL has done some fantastic work with the 58’08 campaign and they held some important statewide community consultations.
With more joint work between CAAH, GLRL and transgender and intersex organisations, we can win the campaign for same-sex marriage, and civil unions.

-” Maurice Farrell and Rachel Evans, Community Action Against Homophobia.
Editor’s note: The constitution has not been changed. This would require a referendum, with a majority of voters nationwide and a majority of voters in a majority of states voting to change the constitution. The Howard Government altered the Marriage Act in 2004.

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