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Jessica Mauboy returns to Eurovision

Jessica Mauboy will be competing for Eurovision glory in 2018, as Australia’s representative in Lisbon, Portugal at the Eurovision Song Contest, which will be broadcast exclusively on SBS from May 9 to 13, 2018.

Eurovision aficionados are well aware that in 2014, Jessica made history when she was invited to perform as an interval act at the Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen, Denmark, being the first non-European solo artist to do so. This time, she’s competing for Australia and a shot at Eurovision glory.

The 2018 contest will mark Australia’s fourth year of competing in the event, following a remarkable record of three top ten finishes, with Guy Sebastian’s fifth place in 2015, Dami Im’s second place in 2016, and Isaiah Firebrace coming ninth in the 2017 contest, which was held earlier this year in Kyiv, Ukraine. Since joining the competition, Australia’s results of 5th, 2nd and 9th put Australia second only to Sweden over the past three years.

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Who voted against equality in Australia?

It was an overwhelming victory for equality in Australia - but let us not forget those who voted against the will of the Australian people and in some cases, their electorates. The following list shows those that voted NO and those that abbott-stained... we mean abstained from even voting.

Who abstained from the same-sex marriage vote?

  • Barnaby Joyce (Nationals)
  • Tony Abbott (Liberals)
  • Andrew Hastie (Liberals)
  • Michael Sukkar (Liberals)
  • Kevin Andrews (Liberals)
  • Scott Morrison (Liberals)
  • George Christensen (LNP)
  • Rick Wilson (Liberals)
  • Stuart Robert (Liberals)
  • Bert van Manen (Liberals)

 

What about no votes?

  • Bob Katter (independent)
  • Russell Broadbent (Liberal)
  • Keith Pitt (Nationals)
  • David Littleproud (Nationals)

 

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Sydney New Years Eve Rainbow waterfall heralds new dawn for equality

A rainbow waterfall of fireworks will cascade from Sydney Harbour Bridge as part of this year’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the dramatic technicolour fireworks would confirm Sydney as the New Year’s Eve capital of the world and celebrate Australians saying ‘Yes’ to marriage equality.

"This is a fabulous way to see out 2017 – the year that four out of five Sydneysiders said a resounding 'Yes' to marriage equality," the Lord Mayor said.

"The rainbow waterfall is a well-earnt tribute to the Sydney 78ers who marched for gay rights 40 years ago – it's a reminder of how far we have come and how far we have left to achieve true equality for our LGBTI community. It's a wonderful way to ring in the New Year, and celebrate the 40th anniversary of Mardi Gras.

"With more fireworks than ever before, this year's Sydney NYE celebration guarantees to be the biggest, brightest and best in the world.

"Sydney New Year's Eve contributes an estimated $133 million to the local economy and puts Sydney on the map as a global city for tourism, business, events and creativity on every level."

It takes Sydney fireworks director Fortunato Foti and the crew from Sydney family company Foti Fireworks International more than 5,000 hours to create the New Year's Eve display.

"The challenge this year was to create never-before-seen displays. Out of this we've created some great effects that I'm looking forward to sharing with the people of Sydney and the world," Mr Foti said.

"This waterfall effect is a first for the bridge and we've chosen the rainbow colours that work best for fireworks: red, yellow, green, blue, purple and silver."

Mr Foti says there will be more than 100,000 individual pyrotechnic effects on the night, setting a new record for the annual event's 9pm and midnight displays, with:

8 tonnes of fireworks – 1 tonne more than in 2016
13,000 shells – 1,000 more than 2016
30,000 shooting comets – 5,000 more than 2016

Inner-Sydney artist Nadia Hernández is the creative artist for this New Year's Eve and a series of bright artwork designs have inspired vibrant colour palette for the fireworks.

This year the 9pm and midnight firework display and the dramatic lighting effects beamed from the Sydney Harbour Bridge will feature new pastel shades, including bright orange, pink, lime green and light blue.

Her artwork designs also feature inspirational words, including wonder, harmony, hope and together, which will feature in the animations projected onto the harbour bridge pylons on the night.

"I included these words in the New Year's Eve artworks because they reflect my love of Sydney and send a positive message of hope for Australia and the world as we move into a new year," Ms Hernández said.

"The words and colours are all about what a wonderful place Sydney is in summer – spending time outdoors with family and with friends – and that sums up New Year's Eve in Sydney, too.

"It's such an honour to have been chosen by the City to be the creative artist for New Year's Eve. This project really has been a dream come true for me."

This year the Welcome to Country will include a tribute marking the 50th anniversary of the Sydney-San Francisco sister city relationship that will be celebrated in 2018.

A message from the Muwekma Ohlone peoples of the San Francisco Bay area will be projected onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons at the close of the evening's Welcome to Country.

Sydney New Year’s Eve creative consultant Rhoda Roberts AO said the message marked a close connection between the two cities' First Peoples.

"There is a lovely connection between Sydney and San Francisco – both cities are very similar in their geography and both cities have a strong and vibrant Indigenous culture," Ms Roberts said.

"There's a great synergy between the histories of the First Peoples of these two great cities. The language, the stories and the rituals of the Indigenous peoples here and in San Francisco have survived recognised and honoured, and are still strong today."

At the close of New Year's Eve Welcome to Country, the following words in the language of the Muwekma Ohlone people will appear: "Makkin Mak Muwekma Wolwoolum, Akkoy Mak-Warep, Manne Mak Hiswi!", which translates: "We Are Muwekma Ohlone, Welcome To Our Land, Where We Are Born, San Francisco Bay Area".

San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee said the city was proud to be Included in Sydney's New Year's Eve celebrations.

"We are honored that 2018 will mark the 50th Anniversary of the founding of our Sister City friendship which has built common understanding, cooperation and partnership across the Pacific," Mayor Lee said.

"In January our San Francisco delegation will be visiting your beautiful city and joining with your citizens in celebrating 50 years of friendship and to set the foundation for another 50 years of citizen diplomacy.”


The 2017 New Year’s program highlights include:

6pm Pre-show entertainment
8.38pm Welcome to Country ceremony
9pm Family fireworks display
9.15pm Harbour of Light Parade
midnight Spectacular 2017 Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks display

Getting in and out of the city centre is different on New Year’s Eve. There will be road closures, on-street fencing and diversions to help people get around safely and move crowds to transport. Visit sydneynewyearseve.com for detailed information.

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Federal Court Judge Blocks Trumps Trans Military Ban

A federal court judge has just blocked President Donald Trump's ban on military service members. Trump in July without consultation with the heads of the armed forces announced via Twitter a total ban on all transgender people serving in the military. Months later, that announcement was translated into a policy memo authorizing Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to determine who can serve and who must be discharged.

The D.C. Court's ruling, handed down Monday afternoon, says it believes Trump's order was "driven by a desire to express disapproval of transgender people generally."

The ruling does allow the Trump administration to continue blocking funds for sex reassignment surgery, The Washington Post reports.

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Mardi Gras Icon, Ron Muncaster passes away.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Lifetime Achievement Award-winning queen of incredible costume designs, the incomparable Ron Muncaster has passed away.

Ron Muncaster passed away at a hospice in Darlinghurst on Tuesday. He was 81.

The Master of Sequins as he was known to many played a pivotal role in the costuming direction of the parade over decades and brought much attention to the event via the mainstream media making the event the shimmering celebration of protest and celebration it is today.

In 2014 Ron Muncaster was given the Mardi Gras Lifetime Achievement Award, and starting this year our annual Parade Costume Award is named 'the Ron Muncaster Award for Best Costume' in his honour.

Mardi Gras has announced it now plans to honour Ron at the 40th Anniversary Parade on Saturday 3 March 2018.

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UK Popstars unite in support of Marriage Equality in Australia

A large group of UK popstars have stepped out of the studio this week after recording a single called "Love is the only law to bring people together" in support of their Australian friends and fans and the #YES campaign.

Some of the acts will be appearing later today at an event #GiveOzAHug organised by our good pal and regular TV host and singer extraordinaire Kelly Wilde (who will be back in Sydney for next years 40th Anniversary of Mardi Gras hosting for Guidetogay.com)

The event will be held at Old Compton Street, Soho in London (Mon Oct 23) starting at 18:30 hours.

Aussies overseas still have time to get their vote in online... visit the ABS website for more information - but hurry - you only have until November 7 to cast your vote... and some other details may be important to your personal situation.

The single that features Kelly Wilde, Jason Prince, Samantha Fox, Sean Miley Moore (X Factor UK), June Brown and more will be released soon on all digital platforms.

kelly2

Kelly Wilde

samfox

Samantha Fox

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A street party announced for Australian marriage equality results night.

Plans for celebrations are well underway for the same sex marriage postal survey in Australia. It will also be a call for action by the government as the postal survey is not binding on the government or any minister in the chamber.

Australians forked out over 122m dollars for this survey where only approx 69% of ballots were returned from those Australians who were eligible to have their say.

The street 'party' will be held in Sydney at the iconic Oxford Street, where the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade traverses each year. With four stages, lots of artists and performers - it will be (hopefully) a celebration and a moment to reinforce Australia's want for equality.

All polls and most politicians are now saying that the YES vote will win hands down. However, if the NO vote gets up - the event will still go ahead and become a force for future change on the issue.

Check out the details and RSVP to the event here.

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Macklemore's Same Love single hits #1 after NRL Grand Final backlash

After a day of bigoted backlash against international superstar Macklemore, love is winning, with the singers "controversial" NRL Grand final song "Same Love" reaching #1 again on the iTunes chart in Australia.

The singer faced backlash as conservative political figures jumped on the bandwagon of a petition to have the singer removed from the "Australian Superbowl" amidst the countries same sex marriage postal survey.

Congratulations to all that made Macklemore #1 - lets keep it going til the end of this weekend to make it really heard.

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Entries open for the 40th Sydney Mardi Gras Parade

JOIN THE 2018 PARADE!

Registrations have JUST OPENED for the 2018 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. Join thousands of parade participants as we celebrate four decades of passion, protest, acceptance, activism, pride, family, creativity, drama, satire, diversity and love.

Some groups may also be eligible for grants to help put their floats together. More details on the Mardi Gras website.

Register now and start planning your float! Find all the info here: http://www.mardigras.org.au/about-the-parade

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Sydney gears up for what will be Australia's largest YES vote rally.

Groups and individuals across the state are preparing to converge on Sydney's Town Hall tomorrow (Sunday 10th Sept) from 1pm to commence a rally and then a march down to Customs House at Circular Quay in support of the YES vote for Marriage Equality.

Recently the Australian city of Melbourne held a massive rally where the city turned out in force to show its support to treat all citizens equally - but predictions for Sydney, since the postal ballot was passed by the High Court, show that many more people will be turning out to make sure the YES voice is heard and seen.  From community groups to families, individuals and couples, it's going to be a massive event.

Speakers that will address the rally include supportive politicians, activists, and campaigners - all of whom have played a massive part in the long - very long - campaign for equality.

Make sure you head on down and show the country that YES is a supportive, respective and positive campaign.

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