Sydney Opera House lit up in rainbow colours to celebrate Mardi Gras
The Sydney Opera House has been lit up in rainbow colours for the first time.
The special event was to mark the launch of the city’s 40th Mardi Gras celebrations in 2018.
Sydney will play host to 17 days of performances, exhibitions, parties and community events as part of next year’s world-renowned LGBT festival.
This year’s launch also has special significance as it comes in the final days of Australia’s national postal ballot on same-sex marriage.
Former X Factor judge and singer Danii Minogue performed as the famous music hall was covered in the colours of the rainbow.
She wrote on Twitter: “The @SydOperaHouse has her @sydneymardigras rainbow finery on for tonight’s #MardiGras40 show #loveislove”
Mardi Gras Arts CEO Terese Casu said: “This Festival we celebrate all the amazing activists and leaders, including our 78ers, who have fought tirelessly for our rights over the last four decades.
“Mardi Gras is for everyone and this year you will see new spaces and events for more of our community and families to enjoy and share.”
Mardi Gras Creative Director, Greg Clarke said: “The opening weekend of the celebrations features Trevor Ashley’s Mardi Gala at the Sydney Opera House and the wonderful Fair Day back at Victoria Park.
“Other special events not to be missed include Queer Thinking and Koori Gras, Queer Art After Hours at the Art Gallery of NSW and the Pool Party,” he added.
“The 40th anniversary Parade looks set to be the best yet, with a sparkling procession of hundreds of jaw dropping floats and 12,000 revellers will dance till dawn at the Mardi Gras Party, Australia’s biggest LGBTQI party of the year.”
The Sydney Opera House’s show of solidarity comes with just 24 hours left to vote in Australia’s same-sex marriage ballot.
Millions of voters have been returning their ballots for weeks in the country’s non-binding postal vote on LGBT rights.
An incredible 78% of eligible Australians have cast their vote – a bigger turnout than in the UK’s Brexit referendum.
The vote has no legal basis, however, and will merely inform MPs when the issue is permitted to go before Parliament.
The deadline for returning ballots by post has now passed, meaning voters yet to have their say must return their survey in person.
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Voters can deliver forms to drop-off centres run by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the organisation running the national same-sex marriage survey.
Drop-off centres are open until 4.30pm across Australia, except Melbourne, which is closed for the Melbourne Cup public holiday.
Polls predict that around 60% of the 12 million Australians who have voted have backed the Yes campaign.
The gap between the two campaigns has narrowed in recent weeks, with previous polls putting Yes on as much as 66%.
All public polls conducted since ballots were first issued have shown Yes in the lead, with LGBT activists expected to be victorious when the result is announced on 15 November.