To celebrate Mardi Gras 2019, we spoke to Liberal MP Bruce Notley-Smith, about the change that has been won, and the change yet to come.
Hello, Bruce. Mardi Gras has become such an iconic cultural phenomenon. How important do you think events like this are to the community?
It’s just so much fun and a chance to meet and catch up with people from all walks of life to celebrate how far we have come as a community.
What has been your best memory at a Sydney Mardi Gras thus far?
It would be leading the Apology to the 78ers in the NSW Parliament.
What are your thoughts on the “signs of love” campaign across Australia this year?
The signs of love campaign is a great way to spread the message of Mardi Gras to the wider community, in a way that is as creative and colourful as the march itself.
What do you hope the key message to the world is for this year’s 2019 Mardi Gras?
Be fearless and proud. We have achieved a lot since that first Mardi Gras but we still have more to do.
And finally, what advice would you would like to pass on to the community who are excitedly anticipating the event?
Just have fun and be safe, and be prepared to find glitter throughout your house for weeks.
Actions always speak louder than words, so we asked the Liberal Party to list the actual achievements they are responsible for in support of the LGBTI community. Here’s a sample of what they’ve accomplished:
An apology to the 78ers.
The extinguishment of historical homosexual convictions.
The first state to harmonise its own laws with the new Commonwealth Marriage Act.
Amended the registration of birth to acknowledge two parents rather than mother and father and retrospectively acknowledged the marriage (and parentage) of same-sex couples prior to legalisation in Australia (relates to overseas marriages).
Abolition of the so-called “homosexual panic” defence.
Openly gay Liberal MP, Bruce Notley-Smith, introduced the Bill that expunged the criminal records of those convicted of homosexual offences. This passed through both houses of the NSW Parliament with unanimous support from the NSW Liberals.
Funding for LGBTQI organisations, issues and events since 2011 including:
Launched ending the HIV campaign, with the aim of dramatically reducing the number of new HIV infections and launched HIV rapid testing.
Funding for Positive Life NSW for their programs supporting people living with HIV/AIDS.
Gave ACON funding towards their LGTQI Youth homelessness project.
Funding for events such as Sydney Mardi Gras and the Bingham Cup as well as LGBTQI.
Creating cultural organisations such as Queer Screen.
Introduced Australia’s first program of anti-discrimination procedures to protect gay and lesbian school kids from harassment and vilification.
Outlawed discrimination against vilification of people living with HIV/AIDS.
Established a major program to reduce anti-gay violence and appointed the first Police Gay and Lesbian Liasion Officers.
Significantly increased funding in respect of HIV/AIDS including support for ACON and the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation.
NSW Liberal State MPs supported the recognition of same-sex marriage and other important records like the decriminalisation of homosexuality, the equalisation of the age of consent and the same sex adoption reforms, without which would not have become law.