5 March, 2016. 15:34
ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact
FOR THE FIRST TIME, a leader of a major political party will march in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten confirmed earlier this month that he will stand shoulder to shoulder with the nation’s QUILTBAG (“Queer/Questioning, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Trans (Transgender/Transsexual), Bisexual, Asexual, Gay) community in a show of unsurpassed support.
As he does every year, PM Malcolm Turnbull will also be attending the event because it falls within his electorate, but he will not be taking part in the actual march.
If anybody has wondered where the 48-year-old former trade unionist has been for the past four months, the mystery has been solved.
“I’ve been pumping iron,” remarked Shorten.
“This day is very important to me. I’m shirtfronting the problem of gay inequality in Australia. I’m getting my lid off. I’m going to have fun. This type of social discrimination has simply gone on for too long.”
The prime minister was also quick to show his support for his political rival, saying that in a perfect world, he could march, too.
“Look, I’d love to march. But I’d also like to keep my job,” said Turnbull.
“The thing is, I’m a relatively normal person. I’m very pro-gay-rights and I hate the church, but I’ve got to tow the company line here. That means keeping these Jesus freaks on the backbench happy.”
Going against his recent trend, Shorten made headlines last month after a chance run-in with vehemently anti-gay and pro-family senator Cory Bernardi, where some heated words were exchanged.
Bernardi said the opposition leader that he was “living in sin.”
Speaking today from his current UN posting in New York City, the 46-year-old rimfire conservative had some choice words for both the prime minister and the opposition leader.
“I’m urging the PM not to attend, but I’m supporting Bill’s decision to attend,” said Bernardi.
“There’s still time to save Malcolm’s soul from eternal damnation. Bill is going to hell.”