Malcolm Turnbull first Australian Prime Minister to attend Mardi Gras
As the 38th Sydney Mardi Gras is in full swing, Malcolm Turnbull became the first Australian Prime Minister to attend.
Turnbull, who is reportedly a regular attendee of the Mardi Gras, became the first sitting PM to attend the festivities.
He looked on as Labor’s Bill Shorten, Labor leader, sat atop a float.
Shorten was one of two leaders of major Australian political parties to have taken part in the Mardi Gras.
The 38th celebration was expected to draw half a million spectators, and as well as the political side, had regular participants such as the Dykes On Bikes.
Mr Turnbull told SBS: “This is an event that Lucy and I have attended for many, many years.”
“I think it is a wonderful event in the life of Sydney and delighted to be here.”
“We are going to be here to see the start of the parade, we don’t go to the party, we generally have an early night, but I am sure everyone who does will have a good time,” he went on.
MPs in the state of New South Wales last month apologised for the treatment of people at the first Sydney Mardi Gras in 1978.
The apology was aimed at the 78ers, those who took part in the first eve Mardi Gras, many of who were subjected to police brutality, and 53 of who were arrested.
Some were outed against their will, lost their jobs, and some took their own lives.
Turnbull’s Coalition Government faces immense pressure to call of a plebiscite on same-sex marriage, although he has said he will not allow a free vote on the issue.
Previous Prime Minister Tony Abbott had insisted that Coalition MPs would not have a free vote on the issue, and that a plebiscite was the only way to settle it.
However when Malcolm Turnbull took over as Prime Minister in November when Abbott was ousted, he maintained that a plebiscite would take place.
This all comes despite an estimated cost of a plebiscite being AUD$160 million, and mounting pressure to allow a conscience vote on the issu