Sun, Mar 27, 2011 - Page 11 News List

Sydney’s Mardi Gras becomes pride of Aussie tourism

Along with Bondi Beach and the Opera House, Mardi Gras has become one of the city’s major tourist draws, with the ‘pink dollar’ contributing millions to the state economy

By Madeleine Coorey  /  AFP, SYDNEY

“The parade is very much an amplifier, like a microphone, for what our community wants to say,” he said. “If you look at the event over the years, that has gone from ‘we’re equal and we’re not criminals’... to not stigmatizing us with HIV, to changing the age of consent and the right to same-sex marriage equality.”

However, the tone is always light, with this year’s march featuring a huge figure of Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard — who has said she believes marriage should only be between a man and a woman and who remains unmarried herself — in a bridal gown.

Peter Murphy, who took part in the first Mardi Gras and has been involved in many parades over the years, says the event has always been “a big party.”

“It began as a Mardi Gras, it wasn’t so much an act of defiance as a way to shift from a fairly routine type political protest to something that was more cultural and much more open and disarming,” he said.

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