The organisers of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade have banned Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as an official guest for the 2017 celebrations. The decision came as response to his handling of marriage equality.
According to reports, the Mardi Gras members at their annual general meeting on Saturday (12 November) took the decision as a protest against Turnbull's push for national plebiscite on same-sex marriage.
The membership passed a motion stating that the meeting "does not believe that a prime minister who denies us equality should be welcome as an official guest at our parade". It also asked the Mardi Gras board "to act in accordance with this position and issue a public statement as it applies to the current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the 2017 Mardi Gras parade and does not invite him as an official guest to the parade".
The Australian premier, well known for his attitude in favour of the marriage, had earlier promised to hold a referendum on legalising same-sex marriage; however, the bill to run a plebiscite on the issue was defeated in the Senate on 7 September. Following which, on Friday, Turnbull said the government has "no plans" to advance marriage equality.
He added that if the plebiscite bill had passed, the non-binding ballot on 11 February would have been in favour of same-sex marriage and "gay couples would've been able to get married".
Turnbull also blamed the opposition Labour party for the rejection of the bill and said, "Thanks to the Labor party it's been rejected. There won't be a plebiscite on 11 February. That's entirely Bill Shorten's doing – and he should hang his head in shame over that."
Shorten has not been in favour of the plebiscite bill and had said previously that in modern Australia, "no one should have to justify their sexuality or their love, to anyone else". He was the first federal leader to participate in the parade in 2015 with his wife Chloe Shorten.