Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is expecting to get bank approval today for their $250,000 overdraft, thus saving the organisation from going into voluntary administration.
Seven organisations and individuals responded to Mardi Gras’ call for guarantors, while five of them went on to act as a consortium for the overdraft guarantee. Pride and ACON were among the groups accepted as part of the consortium, both agreeing to effectively underwrite Mardi Gras to the tune of $50,000 each.
While Mardi Gras board members are preparing to breathe a sigh of relief over this, speculation has intensified over who will lead the association after the August annual general meeting.
At a crisis meeting held to discuss Mardi Gras’ financial situation last Saturday (attended by over 200 members of the organisation), three existing board members announced their intention to re-stand for election. They are Jacqui Jones, Andy Quan and Mark Barraket.
However, the Star can also report that a loose grouping of ex-Mardi Gras presidents and Hall of Fame members is intending to organise a ticket (which they themselves may not be part of) for the upcoming elections. It is understood that this amorphous group includes Sydney 2002 co-chair Bev Lange, barrister Richard Cobden, solicitor Peter Grogan and marketing specialist Robyn Lav-erack. However, of these four, only Lange would go on record with the Star yesterday.
Lange said that while she would not be part of a rescue team, she was part of a group who are keen to help Mardi Gras get through what is a very difficult time.
At Saturday’s meeting, Lange suggested that the board members who would not be re-standing should resign immediately.
However, current board members disagreed with this approach. Jones said it would destabilise an already fragile organisation. Regan said her personal integrity required her to serve out her term as association president.
Speaking to the Star yesterday, Lange said a change of leadership might not be feasible before the August meeting, but her reasons for wanting the current board to step down remained.
In the next six weeks, the [current] board will commit to expenditure and creative around Sleaze Ball. I don’t believe that’s appropriate, she said.
Although Saturday’s meeting demonstrated a number of pockets of discontent with the current leadership of Mardi Gras, it was a less fiery meeting than expected, leaving some to believe a viable opposition to the current board has not had time to coalesce.
Lange said she believed the meeting showed that there is not much support for the current membership of the board and that there was not a great deal of personal support for Regan.
Jones contradicted this, however, saying she, Quan and Barraket were heartened by the level of support for the current board shown at the meeting.
Quan said he, Jones and Barraket had decided to re-stand because they were interested in providing continuity for the board, but that he was personally not interested in the president’s position.
While noting that he was not in favour of a divisive election process, Quan confirmed that he, Jones and Barraket were interested in forming a ticket.
We’re actively looking for people to join us, and in discussions, he said. We’re dealing in an open and honest manner.