Protest halts live Mardi Gras parade

Police remove protestors from parade as SBS is forced to cut to a commercial break.

A protest group halted the live Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras parade last night, whilst it was being broadcast on SBS.

A group of marchers wearing navy blue jumpsuits with the words “Department of Homo Affairs” across their backs, attempted to block a Friends of Liberal Party float behind it.

The unregistered float with signs of Scott Morrison and Captain Cook, formed a blockade across the Oxford Street bringing the parade to a halt just after 10pm.

Police intervened to drag one member of the group from the parade.

The protest left puzzled hosts Joel Creasey and Narelda Jacobs to speculate before SBS cut to Courtney Act then a commercial break.

“I’m not entirely sure if they’re trying to get them to stop their float completely,” said Creasey, “…there does seem to be a bit of a traffic jam here on Oxford street, gosh…. cops are now onto the parade path.”

On social media some criticised the broadcaster for denying full vision of the “slight hiccup.” Many pointed out Mardi Gras was founded following a street protest by Gays & Lesbians in 1978.

But the night otherwise ran smoothly with an array of community groups from PFLAG to Dykes On Bikes, disabled and homeless LGBTQI, Haka for Life, plus NSW Rural Fire Service and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, Labor politicians Anthony Albanese, Penny Wong and singers Sam Smith & Dua Lipa.

The parade also included floats from SBS and ABC, including ABC managing director David Anderson and News Breakfast weatherman Nate Byrne, watched on by Chair Ita Buttrose.

Source: ABC, Daily Mail

17 Responses

  1. Kudos to SBS for doing it “Live”… and the Narelda Jacobs for showing true professionalism and competency in managing to keep the whole show together.
    But what a shambles it was. First hour was flat as a tack (Memo: having Courtney Act “sing” in some strange unnamed venue didn’t help). There were sound and vision issues throughout. Sometimes the street volume was non existent, which took away from the atmosphere completely.
    Also, this event didn’t even appear to be live at times, as we’d see vision of a float and then, some time later, that float would ‘appear’ next to the street side commentators. Hmmmm.
    Another of the major issues however was Joel Creasy. Why, oh why, do we need to be constantly seeing him in such a role on our TVs . He is not cut out for live TV of this nature – especially while there are many gay and lesbian presenters who are. SBS should know better…

    1. Live parades are a challenge whether Mardi Gras or other, so tech will always be a challenge. Foxtel’s live Mardi Gras had a whole lot more challenges, so it’s partly why it has been post-produced for so long. Joel Creasey has hosted 3 times for SBS, I’m not sure that equates as constantly.

      1. Maybe ‘constantly’ wasn’t the right word, but he’s just not up to such a “challenging” production requirement. There are much better hosts than he and SBS should look elsewhere next year – and for Eurovision (although that maybe allows for, and can cope with, his natural flippancy).
        That said, and despite the demands of live television – which every broadcaster understands before they decide to take on such a production – I sincerely hope SBS looks at all the issues that Saturday night’s broadcast had, works to resolve them and, importantly, does not walk away from doing it live. It allows so many in the community who are not in Sydney to see and enjoy the Mardi Gras parade, which, in turn, fosters more acceptance, relatability and visibility – especially for the younger members of the LGBTI+++++ community.

  2. I’m a young gay man let me make that clear….

    I think it’s probably about time the parade was laid to rest. Gay rights and equality is achieved by our voice not walking down a main road in nothing but your underwear. I know the parade is about celebrating the achievements of our community and what still needs to be done. I know it’s about being yourself and being free.

    I think the standards for the event and their “floats” need a rethink. Yes it’s a celebration, but it’s become more about taking it off as apposed to protesting, which is what it was all about when it started.

    Clean it up or cancel it.

    1. Shane the community always has a diverse range of opinions and MG has been debated many times over its organisation, ticketing, floats, venues, inclusiveness etc. They are facing a big backlash this year over number of tix sold. Let me say I look forward to the day we don’t need MG because equality and acceptance is achieved in all sectors of society and young LGBTI suicide rates are a thing of the past. We are not there yet, as such MG is still more than relevant. Maybe Melb Pride March is more your style, but if MG is not to your liking, you’re free to spend Saturday night another way.

  3. Love and inclusiveness, yeah right. For the record I’m gay.
    Shocking turn of events for a parade that suppose to be as mentioned above. The Young Liberals have many homosexual members, what a sad night for them and their right to celebrate. It was a Liberal leader after all that brought Marriage Equality into law, the best way he could with a parliament that hasn’t changed since.
    Labor kept dragging it on for years, contumely blocking the only way forward, that being a plebiscite.

  4. I thought it was a good broadcast & being live on television brought the event a lot of exposure, but some of the complaints from social media users included missing some floats during ad breaks, the music volume too low & some aspects of the commentary.

    Regarding the protest, they should be inclusive of Liberals in the Mardi Gras as some Liberals identify as gay & many are supportive of LGBT, despite some opposition. There’s also much opposition from Labor & left-leaning feminists regarding particularly trans & biological gender identity, including banning of shared unisex facilities in QLD by state Labor. So it goes both ways. It’s better to show inclusiveness & be inclusive as it fosters mutual respect.

  5. i agree that was a terrible broadcast eg half the floats didn’t get correct descriptions if any. Not sure it was the hosts fault though as there seemed to be technical problems galore, perhaps co ordination of the cameras & general direction was more to blame. Though i do think maybe 4 hosts was too many, Joel Creasey is just yawn, get rid of him & have just 2 studio hosts & one out in the crowd, Narelda did a great job all things considered.

  6. That was the worst broadcast of the Mardi Gras ever. Too much silly chatter too little floats. Some completely missed out and the Dyke on Bikes barely got a showing. But Courtney Act was a class act!

    1. People whinged there wasn’t a live broadcast for years, then when it does go live, people like you complain how crap it was…

      Was it perfect? No. Can it be improved on? Yes, don’t be so elfin negative….

  7. The hosts were awful. Not up to the job. SBS missed an opportunity to create a unique event and milked the protest for all it was worth. That is what Mardi Gras is all about.

  8. Kind of surprised they didn’t play the protest, it would have at least been more interesting that the inane chatter between the commentators. I hope next year SBS do away with the hosts and just broadcast the parade with little prepackaged clips about the parade participants.

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