Patrons of Sydney’s Oxford Street are this week said to be in discussions with Mardi Gras organisers to re-theme the city’s annual pride parade, following new opening hours restrictions put in place by the O’Farrel government. If adopted the new theme will see the thousands of marchers unite in cries of “Off of the streets, and into the bars!” as a harsh criticism of the government’s actions.
The O’Farrel government has been forced to strenuously defend its plans, following criticism that locking people out of popular gay venues in the early hours of the night was probably not going to reduce the incidence of people getting beaten up in the street. “We all focus on those 95% of gay bashings in Oxford Street that happen outside of gay bars, without ever addressing the fact that a whole 5% occur inside these bars,” said one government spokesman, “and frankly I think the gay community should be applauding us for finally doing something about that.”
However the government has since made some direct concessions to the LGBT community in their plans, pledging to reduce the number of police at this year’s Mardi Gras, as their own personal contribution towards reducing street violence against gay teens.
This Sauce report originally aired on 2ser FM as part of the 2014 Mardi Gras special.