Did volunteer work for ACON’s Fair Play initiative. This is a new and permanent idea to record the work of police when doing drug searches at major GLBTIQ parties. Things had got out of hand last year after the major Mardi Gras parade when Jamie Jackson was assaulted and awarded $40,000 in compensation from NSW Police. Noone wants to feel unsafe from the Police, it’s bad enough with the gay-bashers who drive in from the outer suburbs to attack people after the Parade.
Also, partygoers should be aware that it’s legal to film police doing their work, just say the magic words: “This is a public place and I’m allowed to film here.”
Due to the public protests, heads rolled in the Police Force, and when I did my shift (after a one-day training session) from 9.30pm to 12am at the Mardi Gras Party, the police and dogs were all on their best behaviour. Which was great. However, it was still intimidating for partygoers to see such a HUGE police presence at a civilian event (it wasn’t a RIOT!) And plenty of police stood around the ticket queue area looking stern, which rather dampens the mood. The GLBTIQ crowd don’t tend to get drunk and punch, if anyone’s going to take drugs, they tend to do the “loved up” ones.
Had a great time at the Mardi Gras party — Courtney Act was great and Tina Arena provided the transcendental moment and connection with the huge crowd — an affirming feeling it is fantastic to be queer.
ACON organisers: Great job done by Teddy Cook, Robert Knapman and Daniel Stubbs (Inner City Legal Centre).