Bill Shorten to appear at Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade

Labor Conference

Australians expect higher standards than this from our leaders. Opposition leader Bill Shorten is set to become the first major party leader to attend Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. “I’m delighted to be attending this year’s Mardi Gras with my wife, Chloe, our three children, and my Labor party colleagues” he said. But this lewd, sleazy and vulgar festival is hardly appropriate for children. Not good enough, Bill!

The Labor leader says he, his family and his party colleagues are ‘delighted’ to attend the 5 March parade ‘to show our support for marriage equality’

The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, will appear at Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade on 5 March, making him the first federal leader of one of the two main parties to do so.

“I’m delighted to be attending this year’s Mardi Gras with my wife, Chloe, our three children, and my Labor party colleagues to show our support for marriage equality,” Shorten said.

“It is time to make [marriage equality] a reality.”

It is not known whether the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, will attend although recent reports suggest he will be in regional NSW on the night of the event and the next day.

Shorten called for a free vote in parliament on same-sex marriage and said Labor did not want taxpayers to fund a “nasty and negative ‘no’ campaign against marriage equality” if the government persisted with its plan for a plebiscite after the federal election.

Turnbull, who supports marriage equality, opposed holding a plebiscite when the then prime minister, Tony Abbott, suggested one at a joint party room meeting in August last year.

In the days after the meeting Turnbull said he opposed a plebiscite because it would mean it remained “a live issue all the way up to the next election”.

But since becoming prime minister in September, Turnbull has maintained plansfor a plebiscite.

Shorten said: “If the new Malcolm Turnbull actually did what the old Malcolm Turnbull said, we could have marriage equality by Mardi Gras.”

In February last year the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, led Melbourne’s Pride March, the first time a premier had led an LGBTI march.

Guardian Australia has contacted Turnbull for comment.

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