Australia’s prime minister Anthony Albanese makes history at Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade

Anthony Albanese being interviewed at the Sydney Mardi Gras parade.

Anthony Albanese became the first Australian prime minister to march at the 45th Sydney Mardi Gras this weekend.

The country’s 31st prime minister joined over 12,500 attendees in Oxford Street for the annual LGBTQ+ event, which began in 1978.

The parade was organised by the Gay Solidarity Group As a way to honour and commemorate the historic Stonewall Riots and has since flourished into a nationally recognised event.

Albanese joined senior Labour figures in the march on Saturday (25 February), leading behind members of the group Dykes on Bikes, as well as the First Nations float, which featured a giant rainbow serpent.

He told reporters that it was “unfortunate” that it took so long for a prime minister to march in the event, but celebrated it as a sign of a “modern Australia.

“People want to see that their government is inclusive and represents everyone, no matter who they love,” he said at the parade.

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“We need to continue to argue for equality.”

While he became the first prime minister to march at the event, he was not the first to attend, with Malcolm Turnbull being present in the audience in 2016 but not joining in with the march itself.

This year’s event coincides with Sydney WorldPride – an event that aims to recognise LGBTQ+ rights globally by hosting a several-week-long Pride event in a different country each year.

Events during WorldPride include an opening ceremony, which featured live performances from Kylie Minogue, an upcoming human rights conference, and Mardi Gras itself.

Minus 18 chief executive Micah Scott told The Guardian that Anthony Albanese’s attendance was a significant milestone for LGBTQ+ Australians.

“It sends a message to the rest of the country that our community is valid,” she said.

“It’s especially important for our young people watching on.”

He was joined by fellow politician Penny Wong, who is the first openly gay woman in Australia’s parliament.

Other members from the Green and Liberal parties were also spotted showing their support at the world-renowned LGBTQ+ event.

World leaders who have taken part in Sydney’s Mardi Gras in previous years include Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and former New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern.

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