Sydney World Pride

Sydney World Pride

(Community Recognition Notices, 31 May 2023, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)

I move:

That this House:

(1)Commends Sydney WorldPride CEO Kate Wickett, chair Damien Hodgkinson, staff, volunteers, board, partners, sponsors, and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for delivering a landmark event that welcomed the world back to Sydney.

(2)Acknowledges the positive impact of Sydney WorldPride on improving LGBTQIA+ rights in New South Wales, Australia, and the Asia-Pacific region, particularly through the Human Rights Conference and work of Equality Australia.

(3)Congratulates Sydney WorldPride on delivering a program of events that were inclusive and diverse, and that promoted and celebrated First Nations voices.

(4)In the spirit of Sydney WorldPride's theme of "Gather, Dream, Amplify", calls on the New South Wales Parliament to continue to legislate reforms that deliver fairness and equality for LGBTQIA+ people.

WorldPride was a gift to Sydney and to our LGBTQI+ community, one whose legacy will continue to strengthen our values of fairness and equality. Today our Parliament says thank you. At the outset, I flag that we are graced by the presence of some key people who delivered the festival—the incomparable CEO, Kate Wickett; Gabriel Pinkstone, COO; Alex Daoust; Regina San Juan; Sophie Curtis; Natasha Smale; Matt Akersten; Ebony Williams; Charmaine Belfanti; Jesse Matheson; Adrian Phoon; Sue Pinckham; Shane Sturgiss; Jaine Moralee; Kate Foy; Giovanni Campolo‑Arcidiaco; Steph Sands; 78er Robyn Kennedy; and Anna Brown, who through Equality Australia and the Human Rights Conference played a key role in strengthening LGBTQI+ rights. I believe Albert Kruger will also be joining us. I pay tribute to his leadership of Mardi Gras through the challenging times of the pandemic. We know that he is now moving on to hopefully less stressful opportunities. There are so many more people to thank in that amazing team, including the chair, Damien Hodkinson, and festival directors Daniel Clark and Ben Graetz.

The team at WorldPride did not like the event being called the Gay or LGBTQI+ Olympics. Indeed, a major sporting festival was only part of the programming. But the impact of Sydney WorldPride was comparable to the Olympics, as it put our city back on the map and on top of the list, with a big rainbow highlight across it. There were so many diverse and inclusive events. I was honoured to attend many of them and felt a pride that I had never felt before in Sydney. Hearing the Ukrainian Ambassador to Australia talk about LGBTQI+ soldiers fighting the war against the Russian invasion at the pride flag raising at the Sydney Town Hall set the scene for the international focus of the festival. Blak and Deadly, the First Nations gala concert at the Sydney Opera House, saw the inspiring and emotional performance of queer First Nations artists at Tubaowgule, the land where the Opera House now stands.

My favourite party of the entire festival was Ultra Violet, the awesome lesbian party. I had been around too many gay men during the festival, so an event for LGBTQI+ women who took over the Sydney Town Hall was absolutely amazing. Crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge for LGBTQI+ equality with my husband, the Lord Mayor and so many others in the Parliament was a powerful moment that motivates me daily in this place to remove all discrimination that targets our community. The Pride Villages brought everyone to Oxford Street to support and celebrate local businesses, and the parade and afterparty were the best they have ever been.

It was not just the big events that were impactful. Smaller ones like the Sydney Boys High School WorldPride assembly, where I spoke about coming out, or the WorldPride barbecue hosted by inner-city social housing residents showed that the spirit of the festival flowed right through the city, and formal and informal events. To quote Kate Wickett, "It was a party with purpose—real purpose." Thanks to the leadership of Equality Australia, the Human Rights Conference at the International Convention Centre delivered real outcomes for New South Wales, Australia and our region. They included Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong committing $3.5 million for the first dedicated Australian fund to support LGBTQI+ civil society organisations and human rights defenders in the Asia-Pacific, and a new LGBTQI+ national health action plan, along with $26 million in funding dedicated to health and research. We also saw important commitments from both major parties in New South Wales to end harmful conversion practices. The good news is that I have my bill ready. I have been to a lot of LGBTQI+ conferences, but I have never seen so much achieved.

Of course, there is more work to do. Just as WorldPride provided a powerful platform and promoted and celebrated First Nations voices, our community must do the same to support the referendum on a First Nations Voice to Parliament. We know how hard and how important a public vote can be. There can be none more important than one that finally recognises First Nations people in our Constitution. We know that the LGBTQI+ community is experiencing an increase in hate crimes. I know that firsthand. Today a man is facing court for death threats made to me during WorldPride. Every day, trans and gender diverse people are bullied in schools, parks and the media. We need to make sure that right across Australia we have hate crimes legislation that protects our community. We need to make sure that organisations that support our community continue to get recurrent funding, and I welcome the commitments from the New South Wales Government and the Treasurer to work on that. With the energy and inspiration of WorldPride, I am more confident than ever before that Sydney, New South Wales and Australia will be better and safer for LGBTQI+ people. I commend the motion to the House.

Full link HERE

Let's work together to celebrate and protect our great city!