A prime minister and an opposition leader are showing their gay side. Malcolm Turnbull will attend Saturday’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in Sydney, making him the first sitting prime minister to do so.
However, according to reports, Turnbull will stop short of marching in the LGBTI pride parade. The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, will march in the parade, making him the first federal leader of one of the two major parties to do so.
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In previous years Turnbull has attended the parade, conducted on Oxford Street in his eastern Sydney electorate of Wentworth, but this will be his first attendance as prime minister.
His decision to attend comes after reports senior government MPs warned him it would be a “dangerous” thing to do.
In a message of support in the Mardi Gras festival guide Turnbull said the event was a celebration of Australia’s diversity.
The 38th Mardi Gras parade will consist of 175 floats with 12,500 participants marching. Hundreds of thousands of onlookers will watch the parade along the route up Oxford Street and Flinders Street.
Shorten said he was “delighted to be attending Mardi Gras with my wife Chloe, our kids, and my Labor party colleagues to show our support for marriage equality”.
Shorten pledged if elected a Labor government would introduce a bill within 100 days to legalise same-sex marriage.
A record number of Greens MPs will participate in the parade, including federal leader Richard Di Natale; federal senators Janet Rice, Robert Simms and Lee Rhiannon; and New South Wales MPs Jenny Leong, Tamara Smith, Jamie Parker, Mehreen Faruqi and David Shoebridge.