Jenny Leong MP spoke to Parliament to acknowledge the contribution of campaigner, activist and "Godfather of Mardi Gras" Ron Austin, who recently passed away at the age of 90.
"I draw the attention of the Parliament to the contribution of campaigner, activist and "Godfather of Mardi Gras" Ron Austin, who recently passed away at the age of 90. According to folklore, while mulling over the direction of an upcoming gay rights demonstration in 1978, Ron said, "Why don't we have a street party?", thus inspiring what we know today as the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. However, Ron's contribution did not end there. He was an early member of the Campaign Against Moral Persecution , a founding member of Phone a Friend, which still operates today, and later became an active member of the Pride History Group. He was a very proud 78er and marched in mardi gras parades for decades. Ron's legacy lives on today. When rallies were not having the desired results, Ron would always suggest different strategies and approaches to celebrate the lives and culture of LGBTIQ+ Australians and people in our community. This has continued to be used to achieve positive change for campaigns, including Mardi Gras, marriage equality and beyond. It has been Ron's positive message that has helped to pave the way. Vale, Ron Austin."