Australia PM to miss gay Mardi Gras parade

Turnbull and his wife, Lucy, have been regular attendees of the Mardi Gras, which takes place in his constituency.

Australia PM, Malcolm Turnbull

Turnbull and his wife, Lucy, have been regular attendees of the Mardi Gras, which takes place in his constituency, and in 2016 he became the first sitting prime minister to attend the celebration, to much fanfare.

“I go most years, I’m not going this year, I’ll be interstate on other matters,’’ Turnbull said.

“But Lucy and I have been strong supporters of Mardi Gras and the major sponsoring organisations for many, many years.’’

Turnbull has recently become unpopular among the gay and lesbian community after he backed a plan last year to hold a plebiscite on same-sex marriage, which failed when it was rejected by parliament.

Most Australians favour a free parliamentary vote on the issue.

A further dispute ensued regarding Turnbull’s invitation to this year’s Mardi Gras.

Amid an internal rift, the organisers passed a motion that he was not welcome at the annual parade, declaring him a “fake friend,’’ only to have the decision overturned later.

“My recollection is my invitation is there, but I won’t be getting along there this year,’’ Turnbull told Sydney radio station WSFM on Thursday, adding “it’s always a great event’’.

Turnbull’s government is split in its support for gay marriage.

The prime minister himself is in favour of it.

“We are sick of the hypocrisy of Turnbull turning up to Mardi Gras for an insincere photo opportunity while he denies us equality and keeps innocent people in offshore prison camps,’’ one of the Mardi Gras organisers, Patrick Wright, said.

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