The new board of New Mardi Gras was elected last Saturday with five previous board members reappointed: Liz Dods, Jock McKeon, Nicholas Parker, Steph Sands and Michael Woodhouse.

Also elected at NMG’s inaugural annual general meeting were Scott Carn, Diane Minnis, Mark Orr, Wayne Percival and Amelia Powys. Nominees Andrew Faith and Tim Young were unsuccessful.

Michael Woodhouse told Sydney Star Observer he was pleased to be back on the board, where he stood as co-chair. Woodhouse told the crowd of about 120 people he felt privileged to have led the organisation with co-chair Stevie Clayton over the past eight months.

It’s really exciting to be lining up for another year, Woodhouse later told the Star. There’s huge challenges before this organisation, in being able to sustain Mardi Gras for the future, but we’ve got a great lineup of people with the right mix of skills to do that.

Clayton, who did not stand for re-election, was kissed by ex-Mardi Gras president Murray McLachlan in what McLachlan described as a public healing and thanked by community stalwart Larry Galbraith. Galbraith also acknowledged the degree of hidden subsidy in hours of work volunteered by Clayton and the board to save Mardi Gras. Specific appointments such as chair and treasurer will be determined by the new board in the next couple of weeks.

The meeting also saw the release of interim financial results to 15 April 2003. The figures were yet to be audited, but included an estimated net profit after tax of $420,000. (A further meeting was scheduled to appoint an auditor.)

Unaudited figures presented at the meeting showed only two of five major Mardi Gras season components lost money, the parade ($75,916) and the launch ($15,876). The festival posted a profit of $9,865, the party $686,705 and fair day $44,263.

A possible boost to the future of NMG emerged in the form of a letter of support by new City of Sydney mayor Lucy Turnbull, a message read aloud by Clayton.

My best wishes to you all today, and in the spirit of the phoenix, I wish you well on behalf of the City of Sydney as you gather and, I hope, prosper afresh, the message read.

Boundary changes mean many Mardi Gras events are now located within the City of Sydney, with the message considered significant in terms of possible future funding and support for NMG.

In true Mardi Gras fashion the AGM mixed politics and partying, with Gay And Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convenors appealing for support on the age of consent issue and DJ Shikegi playing sets before the meeting.

A discussion paper was also released on the issue of increasing board terms to two years. The meeting voted for the new board to continue investigating the implications of two-year terms, to be raised with members at a future meeting.

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