For the first time ever the NSW Government is assisting in funding the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras! I heard this piece of news on Friday then promptly forgot about it, fortunately a new reader, Jimmy, reminded me about the funding of the Catholic World Youth Day, which reminded me about this piece of news.
As many of you know both the State and Federal Governments funded the Catholic World Youth Day to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. So why shouldn’t the government fund the Mardi Gras? As the new NSW Premier said about the Mardi Gras:
It’s become an international showcase of Sydney’s inclusiveness, creativity and diversity, and a celebration shared by the wider community.
Unlike the CWYD which, even though they tried to convince us otherwise, was really only of interest to a small minority of Catholics.
The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is one of the biggest events of it’s kind in the world. The Mardi Gras has had some of the largest audiences of any event in Australia and as Events NSW Chief Executive Geoff Parmenter says:
“It has been estimated that the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras generates more than $30 million of direct economic benefit for NSW each year, and it has become an international showcase of Sydney’s diversity.”
So what has taken so long for the government to finally chip in a few dollars? When I heard this news, one of the first things I wondered was; what impact did all the negative feedback from the general populace about CWYD have on the decision to fund the Mardi Gras. I wasn’t the only person at the time making comparisons to the two events and questioning why one got government funds and the other didn’t.
The two letters to the newspaper I sent (neither of which got published) outlined the concerns I had at the time and the total inaccuracies being spouted by the Catholic Apologetics. You can read those on my Letters to the Editor post.
However, there are still a few people who don’t agree with me, and the many others, who think the government should financially assist the Mardi Gras. The Daily Telegraph has a couple of articles and blogs with criticisms of the funding. There is also a poll on the Daily Telegraph article, which has over 500 comments!, which is currently running at over 70% in favour of the funding.
In some respects I agree with some of the comments, that why should the government (i.e.. us taxpayers) help fund what is currently a reasonably financially successful event. The bottom line is, why not? Why should the government not assist the Mardi Gras but assist the vastly more wealthy Catholic church? Government funds all sorts of things that you or I might not agree on, but at least they have to be fair when it comes to handing out money.
So I’m going to do a Pharyngula and ask all my readers to skew the poll (side bar, about half way down) and vote Yes.
One last thing, whilst finishing writing this I’m half listening to Compass, which is on in the background in the next room. Something about a bunch of deluded twits from some wacked out religious collage in America that helps breed lobbyists intent on “reclaiming America for Christ.”. Scary, scary, scary; American atheists get out now while there’s still a chance! I’ve got a spare room if anyone’s interested. :lol: