Today NSW Parliament acknowledged the significant contribution Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras makes to our city. Read our contribution below.
Ms JENNY LEONG ( Newtown ) ( 15:48 :11 ): Echoing the concluding words of the member for Coogee, I also wish everybody a very happy Mardi Gras. I wish the member for Coogee and the member for Sydney a happy Mardi Gras and I thank the member for Sydney for bringing this matter of public importance to the Chamber. I think it goes back as far as about 2004 when the member for Sydney and I first connected on the issue of campaigning for marriage equality. Who would have thought that a good 13 years later we would find ourselves here in this Chamber still campaigning for marriage equality? The Greens' float this year will be calling for marriage equality to be brought in. We know that it is long overdue reform and something we must see our Federal Parliament deliver. If only the Federal Parliament could be guided by how we in this place come together and unite on the need for an end to discrimination in our laws and for an end to the political pointscoring that is playing with people's lives. We want to see marriage equality realised for all so that we can celebrate love and not see entrenched discrimination in our legislation at a Federal level.
It is wonderful this time of year to see the celebration. It was great to be able to join the start of the Mardi Gras festivities at Fair Day in the electorate of Newtown at Camperdown Memorial Park just last weekend and be joined by Greens Senator Janet Rice and a number of my Greens colleagues. I was pleased to visit the 78ers in their pride-of-place stand, to say hello and pay respect to the elders of the LGBTI community, expressing once again our appreciation for their struggles and determination all those years ago.
The apology has been mentioned, and being part of that last year was a significant and humbling experience for me. I give a commitment to the 78ers that The Greens and I will continue to push to ensure that the new Commissioner of Police makes a genuine apology to the 78ers for the wrongs that were done to them. Until we see that apology from the NSW Police Force we will not see a resolution of the violence and aggression that happened all those years ago. While this is a time for celebration, the theme of Mardi Gras of "Creating Equality" means that we must be vigilant about how we push for equality. That means making sure all our schools are safe schools, that we get rid of exemptions in the Anti-Discrimination Act allowing religious organisations to discriminate, bringing it home for marriage equality and ensuring that this time next year we are celebrating everybody's love because marriage equality is realised. Happy Mardi Gras.