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Liberal MP kicks off Brisbane Pride parade

Liberal MP kicks off Brisbane Pride parade

New prime minister Tony Abbot is not making many friends in the LGBT community in Australia but that has not stopped one of his Liberal MPs, Robert Cavallucci, from launching the Brisbane Pride parade today.

‘I was really pleased to be invited and to participate in today’s event because I’ve always been a strong supporter of the diverse communities that make up the wonderful fabric of the inner-city,’ said Cavallucci, Brisbane Times reports.

After Cavallucci waved a rainbow flag, the Brisbane chapter of the traditional Dykes on Bikes roared off to lead the march. The main thoroughfare of Brunswick Street was closed to traffic for the first time in Pride’s 23-year history, and Brisbane City Council funded the Pride Festival for the first time this year, committing $21,000 (Australian dollars, $20,000 €15,000) over three years.

Pride Festival president Deeje Hancock estimated that around 800 people were part of the parade. Some marchers carried signs that said: ‘No to Abbott’s bigotry. Equal rights now!’ and ‘Equal marriage has a mandate. Not Tony Abbott’.

But Hancock said the community should be thoughtful when responding to the Liberal government.

‘The people who want to keep giving the middle finger to the government… they need to be smarter about their fight because the very people they’re giving the middle finger to are the ones who can actually give us the equality,’ he said. ‘They need to educate their politicians, not give them the middle finger.’

Brisbane Pride Festival runs throughout the month of September with parties, gatherings for families, art and literary events and comedy.

Cavallucci, state MP for Brisbane Central, announced earlier this year that he supports marriage equality, saying:

‘I’m someone with particularly progressive views on marriage equality, so yes, I do support it… Not every electorate is like the inner-city of Brisbane which I represent. We come from such diverse backgrounds and diverse electorates… I think some of us have particular views and some of us have opposing views.’

The Liberal state government in Queensland, have made a series of actions limiting LGBT rights since it was elected in March 2012. They voted to downgrade civil unions to ‘registered relationships’ and to prevent same-sex couples from having children via altruistic surrogacy. They also cut $2.5 million (Australian dollars, $2.4 million, €1.7 million) of state funding to Queensland’s only LGBT health agency.