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The Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced he wont be attending this year’s Mardi Gras Parade.

“I have other things to do on Mardi Gras day,” Turnbull told WSFM radio.

“I have been there many years in the past. Of course it occurs in my electorate. But I have got some other things to do on Mardi Gras day. It is always a great event,” Turnbull said.

Confirming his support for the event to reporters Turnbull said: “I go most years. I am not going this year. I will be interstate on other matters.

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

The Mardi Gras’ governing body last year passed a motion declaring Mr Turnbull was not welcome at the annual parade, but overturned it after the board eventually decided it was against the spirit of the parade to disinvite him.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten and Greens leader Richard Di Natale are each expected to attend.

“I’m proud to be marching at the Mardi Gras parade again this year,” said Shorten.

“Labor has a proud record of delivering for LGBTI Australians that is unmatched by any other political party and I want to see that momentum continue.

“That’s why Labor wants marriage equality today, and a free vote is the fastest, least expensive, least harmful way to achieve that. It’s ridiculous that we’re still debating this. Let’s just get on with it.

“I hope Mr Turnbull hears the voices of thousands of Australians this weekend and finally lets the parliament vote the make marriage equality a reality.”


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