A survey was sent to all NMG members after sleazeball,it comes as no surprise. Both on the night and in the days that
followed the party a major focus of the feedback we received was about
the policing of the event, the presence of sniffer dogs on the dance
floors and what many of you felt were quite arbitrary searches of our
Over and over you told us that you felt the police presence was an
“invasion of privacy”, “intimidating”, “intrusive” and “over the top”.
Your comments make clear that many of you are angry, not only as
attendees of our parties, but also as Australian citizens who feel
their rights are being eroded and as taxpayers who feel they are
witnessing a misallocation of police resources.
You raised particular concerns about the Police conducting searches in
very public areas, conducting searches without a reasonable level of
suspicion and violating the privacy of the medical area. Such behaviour
does not accord with the protocols agreed between New Mardi Gras and
More broadly it is clear that the Police’s increased presence both
outside and inside the party is having a major impact on our audience’s
enjoyment of this and other events. We make every effort at our parties
to create a fantasy world, a place for people to relax and have fun. To
have sombre-faced officers in reflective clothing roaming around the
dance floor with sniffer dogs clearly makes our task much more
This is a major issue for New Mardi Gras. Sleaze Ball – like Mardi Gras
Party and the Mardi Gras harbour party – are fundraising events for the
Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. Any impact on ticket sales to
these events has a very direct impact on our ability to sustain the
Parade, the Mardi Gras Season and organisation as a whole.
Over-zealous policing has the potential to undermine one of the key
events in the NSW calendar and one that brings in an estimated $30
million new dollars into the state through overseas and interstate
visitation each and every year.
Because of this we intend to initiate a number of initiatives to seek
more proportionate policing in the future, whilst reaffirming our zero
tolerance to intoxication, substance use or other illegal activities.
We will be raising our concerns in a number of quarters, with our
senior police contacts, with the Office of the Lord Mayor, with Events
NSW and the Premiers Department representatives we liaise with as a NSW
Hallmark event. We will also ask our members and patrons to share their
views and experiences with those bodies and their members of parliament.
We have already commenced discussions with community health, legal and
rights bodies and we will work with them closely to form a united
community front on this issue and instigate additional programs to
assure the highest levels of safety and protection for our community at
We will establish a program to ensure our rights are well understood
and respected, and we will endeavour to provide volunteers with legal
expertise at our events to ensure that members and guests are fully
aware of their rights if confronted with intimidating or over-zealous
handling by police.
We will also raise the bigger question about the cost and benefit of
operations like this. Was the commitment of taxpayer dollars to
enforcement at Sleaze Ball worth the 18 minor personal possession
offences reportedly recorded?
The Police themselves came out last week to say that Sleaze Ball “was
probably the highlight of the night, where behaviour was concerned.” We
will be asking the Police to match this behaviour with less intrusive
police operations based on the presumption of innocence of our patrons
and a respect for our rights and for published protocols.
Over the weekend Sydney held it's annual Sleaze Ball the theme this year was "Game On" and by all accounts it was awesome, a major improvement on last years party. My partner and I chose not to attend after last years disappointment.
Thousands packed into the two venue's, Horden Pavilion and the Dome at Sydney's Entertainment Quarter (Fox Studios). It may have been raining cats and dogs outside but it was raining men inside.
Rumour has it that French house auteur David Guetta is to be one of the headlining DJs at Mardi Gras Party 2010.
You could say (with a sense of the understatement) that Guetta is getting his fair share of attention at the moment, having massive crossover success with his new album One Love and his smash hit When Love Takes Over with ex-Destiny’s Child Kelly Rowland.
During recent interviews on commercial radio Guetta let it slip that he’ll be fronting up for headline duties at next year’s Future Music Festival tour. Earlier this year Mardi Gras shared Paul Oakenfold with Future Music Festival, will Guetta be shared across the two events next year? And will he be bringing Kelly Rowland with him?
“I can neither confirm or deny that,” said Damien Eames, Head of Marketing at New Mardi Gras.
On Saturday, more than 8000 people across the country took part in the National Day of Action for same-sex marriage, with over 250 couples taking part in illegal gay weddings.
In Sydney the 1500 strong crowd gathered at Town Hall for speeches from Lord Mayor Clover Moore, actor Matt Young and journalist and author Katrina Fox. There was a real buzz on arrival, plenty of media, music from Technotronic and Aretha Franklin blaring from speakers, and a diverse crowd, some dressed in wedding dresses and veils, others in matching suits and ties.
The crowd then walked from Town Hall to Darling Harbour, where Labor’s National Conference was being held, chanting “Gay straight black white, marriage is a civil right” and “What do we want? same sex marriage! When do we want it? Now!” There was a speech from Greens MP Lee Rhiannon before Reverend Karl Hand from the Metropolitan Community Church presided over the group wedding ceremony.
While in Melbourne: The Age reports that there were roses, wedding veils and even a three-tiered cake. 65 people took part in the mass wedding ceremony and almost 4000 gathered in Federation Square in central Melbourne for the Equal Love march. There were performances from pop singer Katie Underwood and vocal quartet The Nymphs.
In Brisbane hundreds gathered in Queen’s Park chanting “This is what democracy sounds like” and in Canberra there was a group of 100 people who assembled at Garema Place.
Marriage equality advocates are angry the ALP National Conference has failed to properly debate same-sex marriage, voting instead to keep marriage as only between a man and a woman.
Australian Marriage Equality spokesperson, Alex Greenwich, said in a statement “The ALP’s failure is deeply hurtful to same-sex partners, offensive to the majority of Australians who support same-sex marriage, and embarrassing to the entire nation at a time when even Albania is moving forward on this issue.”
Mr Greenwich said the ALP’s new policy for a national framework recognising personal relationships is no substitute for equality in marriage for same-sex couples, and actually highlights marriage discrimination.
“The ALP’s new policy effectively says all personal relationships will be recognised for all purposes, except same-sex couples still can’t marry.”
“Whether the new policy allows civil unions to have ceremonies or not is beside the point because civil unions entrench discrimination be giving same-sex relationships a second-best status.”
Mr Greenwich also rejected Attorney-General, Robert McClelland’s, view that the Federal Constitution prevents the Government from allowing same-sex marriages.
“The Rudd Government is using the Constitution as a smoke screen for its own prejudices and cowardice”, Mr Greenwich said.
The NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby has expressed profound disappointment at the decision of the Australian Labor Party National Conference to keep the current definition of marriage, which explicitly excludes same-sex couples.
“The decision of the ALP national conference to continue discrimination in marriage law against same-sex couples is deeply disappointing for the gay and lesbian community. According to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, the Australian Labor Party is a party of the future, built on the principles of fairness and inclusion. However, this decision shows that this fairness and inclusion does not extend to same-sex couples,” said Emily Gray, GLRL Co-Convenor.
A 2009 Galaxy Poll, conducted by Australian Marriage Equality, found that 60% of Australians support giving same-sex couples the right to marry. Australia is falling behind other comparable nations in formal relationship recognition. Canada, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, South Africa and six US states grant the right to marry. The United Kingdom, New Zealand, Denmark, Switzerland, Finland and several other nations provide a civil union or registered partnership scheme.
Ms Gray concluded, “Same-sex couples have all the rights and responsibilities of married couples – but not the right to marry. There is no valid reason to continue this discrimination. It is time that all sides of politics caught up with community attitudes and makes a commitment to full equality.”
The Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby is urging community members to make their voices heard in the current Senate Inquiry into same-sex marriage.
Just when GLAAD had moved on from him and (presumably) onto something else, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the terrorist group depicted in Bruno is “very upset” their group’s namesake and former member was featured in the film and have vowed to take “appropriate action” against the Bruno’s creator, Sacha Baron Cohen.
The group released a statement saying that:
“We reserve the right to respond in the way we find suitable against this man (Cohen).”
“This movie was part of a conspiracy against the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades,” continued the statement, released through a senior member of the group in the West Bank.
“According to what we checked there was no meeting about the real context of the film. This was a dirty use of our brother, Aiman, and we don’t accept that the name of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is part of the film.”