Mardi Gras forms advisory group

Mardi Gras forms advisory group

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) will establish a member and community advisory group following the backlash at a recent decision to drop ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ from the festival’s title.

The consensus of opponents and supporters at the December 17 meeting was that the organisation should have consulted more explicitly with members about their intentions before making the changes.

“It was clear from this session that some community members felt strongly about the significance of the change to the festival name and in particular the change to the parade name, believing that more consultation should have taken place,” the organisation said in a statement today.

“In light of this, the SGLMG board has come up with a solution for further consultation and involvement, and the potential opportunity for members of the community to participate in a decision on the parade and festival name.

“A Members and Community Advisory Group will be established to assist the SGLMG Board, staff and Community Engagement Committee. This group will specifically act as a member and
community representative forum to assist in the identification of engagement and consultation needs and opportunities.”

SGLMG said the advisory group’s first order of business would be to “examine the Festival and Parade name change”.

“It is envisaged that this group will meet after the 2012 season to discuss an appropriate way forward that may involve plans for consultations, workshops, and a survey on the preferred name,” the statement read.

A public forum will be held between April and June to discuss the group’s findings and determine if further member feedback is required at the 2012 AGM.

INFO: Anyone interested in nominating for a role with the advisory group should contact Mardi Gras via its website.

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5 responses to “Mardi Gras forms advisory group”

  1. I disagree with Sam about solving NMG’s woes through farming it out to a non-community organisation. NMG is having difficulty because it has become more remote from community sentiment, not throught lack of managerial skills per se (although the loss of arts sector experience from the board is an exception to that rule).

    Unlike the organisations that you mention NMG’s main event and reason for being, the Parade, is a loss maker by nature and NMG relies on the goodwill the parade generates to raise money in ways unique to the community not for profit sector. Businesses delivering a profit to owners cannot turn to sponsors for financial support or to thousands of volunteers to perform the work that would otherwise be its biggest expense. The success of the party over these years hinges in large part on the sense of occasion created by the parade, a spirit of community celebration and the goodwill it receives because it is SGLMG’s fundraiser. Perceptions about its community values are very important to its future and a Board that gets this wrong is unhealthy for the organisation’s future no matter what its business chops are.

    Sam’s idea would make NMG’s problems considerably worse. NMG doesn’t need to act more like a business but in ways that are more in line with its true identity as a not for profit community organisation. Thats where both its reason for being and its bottom line are. You won’t successfully transfer skills from the business sector if you fail to recognise the very different dynamics at work in SGLMG.

  2. Thank you all for revealing the shortcomings of the committee. I think it is about time that we looked at regional committee members that truely represent NSW if not national representation. The committee is under the illusion that everything is ok to drop the ball in the fight against intollerance. Until it is safe for gays, lesbians, trans, queers and intersex to hold hands, to marry and live as “straights” do will the fight be over. And then we can be just “Sydney Mardi Gras”. We still have a long way to go. It might be ok to hold hands in the city but not in the sububs or country areas where many of our community live. Just take a look at a family “Frock” day held recently. Over 200 rainbow families attended. We are the silent majority desperately wanting, desiring tolerance. Some 78ers still live away from the city.
    My partner and I will not attend the Mardi Gras 2012 parade. We will miss it but feel it no longer represents us.

  3. Poor old Mardi Gras. The last few years have been such a mess. First someone forgot to book the Horden, then they lost half a million dollars, then they ran an election full of lies and scandal, then they cancelled sleaze, then the next party was a bomb, then they lost another couple of hundred thousand, then they got rid of most of their long-term skilled volunteers, now this thing with the name. The only thing worse than the total incompetence at Mardi Gras is their continuing game playing around communications and consultations. Do they not understand that this makes them look even worse? I’m sure the Mardi Gras board is a well intentioned group of people but they have proved again and again that they’re just not capable of running the company or its events. Maybe something this new committee could look into for them is whether it would be viable to hand over Mardi Gras to a professional outfit who could run it properly? You just never hear of Big Day Out or New Years Eve or V Fest or the Easter Show or Parklife or Harbourlife being a total debacle. Yet every time you hear about Mardi Gras, it’s always about the latest stuff-up or scandal. The board should take a good look at themselves and accept that they don’t know what they’re doing, and give it all over to someone or some company who does – before it’s too late.

  4. And who is going to appoint people to this advisory board? More nonsense. Those behind the name change MUST resign. A protest should be organised to disrupt Mardi Gras. That will teach them. We protested in 1978 so why not now when the very Mardi Gras is trying to make gay men and lesbians invisible.

  5. This is another opportunity for the New Mardi Gras board to stack the process by which the name change is decided. How can you trust such a determined,intransigent bunch as this? The board has not gone into the announced consultation with an open mind,saying that it is the consultation and not the decision that was wrong, and is not making an effort for an open consultation (AND A NEW COMMITTEE IS NOT AN OPEN CONSULTATION PROCESS). This is not the transparency that members were promised.
    On the day he announced the name change Peter Urmson said “we have fought hard for this day”. Fought with who Peter? Fought an internal war within the New Mardi Gras Board? Certainly you made sure as few people as possible could be lined up against your determined position to remove gay and lesbian within your previous loaded ‘consultation’. Manipulation such as not letting any but a select few who were supportive and could be relied upon to keep it to themselves was what was required to bring about this conservative trojan horse of a name change because you knew full well there would be a huge backlash from New Mardi Gras’ grassroots once the news got out.
    You’re on your way to making this an organisation that no longer runs on its grass roots. Admit it Peter.