James Brechney
James Brechney

Two directors of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras have called for a general meeting to discuss several concerns raised following the 2016 Mardi Gras.

In a series of motions made public on Friday, Silke Bader and James Brechney have filed 13 resolutions for the meeting, which will be held on June 25.

The resolutions call for transparency in the company records of Mardi Gras, an improved relationship with the 78ers, greater press freedom and a curtailing of the benefits extended to board members.

One of the chief motions being called for during the general meeting appears to relate to an issue surrounding information sharing between directors.

“Directors and CEO of [Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras] must share all company information with any other director upon request within three working days,” reads the resolution.

In particular, the resolution requests that financial reports, unredacted budget papers and bank statements be shared freely amongst the board.  In another motion, Bader, who owns L Media, and Brechney, who founded DIY Rainbow, asked that all directors be notified within 48 hours of any suspected theft occurring within the organisation, and criminal charges are laid when that theft exceeds $10,000.

One of the motions has called for several allowances to be made to the 78ers, including a modest budget for their Mardi Gras float and more excellent coverage for accessibility issues. The involvement of the 78ers, who this year received a historic apology from the NSW government for their treatment by the NSW police during the 1978 protest march, has been scaled back over recent years. “There was no respect,” said a source close to Mardi Gras who did not wish to be named. “Their stall [at Fair Day] was put next to the police stall; it was insensitive.”

Another motion appears to relate to several issues surrounding the press movement during the 2016 Mardi Gras. The motion requests:

“A transparent process is put in place for the 2017 Mardi Gras season to allow…long-standing community photographers AAA access to the full route of the Mardi Gras parade.”

This relates to photographer C. Moore Hardy, who was denied full access to the parade route for the second year in 2016. Hardy, a lesbian photographer, documenting the LGBTI community for 30 years, said she worked for more than six months to secure parade access only to be denied.

“I approached someone on the board six months before to see if I could have access,” Hardy told LOTL. “It was a polite conversation; there was a nod and a smile; I thought I would be granted access.”

Only four photographers who Mardi Gras employed had AAA photography access. All other photographers not employed by the organisation were assigned to media bays along the parade route.

“The marketing manager [of Mardi Gras] was ringing around the night before Mardi Gras trying to find another photographer because one dropped out,” said Hardy.

Hardy, who did not receive a call from the marketing manager, describes the incident as a “slap in the face” and is currently launching a formal complaint against the board.

Other motions filed by Bader and Brechney have demanded access for community floats to the Mardi Gras Workshop, where only commercial floats are built, an overhaul of fundraising costs to improve finances, and the guarantee the location of the parade remains on Oxford Street.

The General Meeting will be held at Erskineville Town Hall on June 25 at 10 am.

Disclosure: LOTL Magazine is published by L Media.

Join the conversation #TransformMardiGras