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Wednesday 14 April 2010

Mardi Gras caught out lying to community

Posted in: International Daily News
By Daily News staff - 23rd August 2009

Sydney's Mardi Gras festival board has been caught out in an embarassing lie to its community over the reason for a controversial change to the format of next year's event.

In June a New Mardi Gras spokesperson advised that the community-owned organisation had purposely scheduled the famed parade and traditional after-parade party for different nights, explaining that the change was "deliberate and strategic."

Questioned as to whether the split was the result of a major error on the part of the organisers, the spokesperson said there was no error. "Some have theorised as to the ‘real reasons’ we have redesigned the Festival. These ‘real reasons’ are quite simple – the desire to evolve and change, to create energy and vibrancy, and to ensure the prosperity of Mardi Gras in the future.”

However, at the New Mardi Gras Annual General Meeting just days ago a re-elected board member finally admitted that the parade/party date split was the result of a scheduling error, identified as early as February. "It was a genuine mistake," said Steph Sands. "We had signed contracts and the board takes full accountability for the fact that we did not have the appropriate checks and balances in place to ensure those contracts married off against each other."

As to the deception, the Board acted "really responsibly," according to Sands. "But instead of saying we made a mistake and put the sponsorship agreements in jeopardy or at risk we sold the benefits of a different type of season.”

The split dates were also sold to the community on the basis of allegedly favourable results from a survey of New Mardi Gras members, however only five of the eighty members at the AGM said they had received a survey and some who said they did questioned whether it even specifically referred to the split or a change in the format.

Asked by the Same Same website for clarification, New Mardi Gras' Head of Marketing said the organisation “will no longer be answering any further questions on this matter.”

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