Fair Play returns for its sixth year at Mardi Gras to help partygoers understand their rights and monitor police operations at Mardi Gras events. 2018 was a huge year for both Fair Play and Mardi Gras, with Fair Play helping to smooth interactions between police and partygoers, particularly international visitors. For 2019, Fair Play hopes to continue its efforts by raising awareness and providing support to the LGBTIQ community for a variety of issues including safety, rights and policing practices during Mardi Gras events.
In particular, there have been recent changes to the NSW drug laws that may affect partygoers’ experience of Mardi Gras. If you have any questions about this, make sure to approach any of our volunteers wearing white t-shirts with the purple and orange Fair Play logo featured on them. We have also produced an up to date drug law fact sheet, available here.
“The key to Fair Play’s ongoing success is our volunteers, who are on site at the Mardi Gras Party to share legal and safety information with party goers, and to support people who interact with police. Our volunteers work closely with NSW Police to ensure that party-goers are respected by police and to keep misunderstandings and negative interactions with police to a minimum”, says Vicki Harding, Director of Inner City Legal Centre.
It is also important for partygoers to be aware that if they are found to be in possession of prohibited drugs, they may not be able to enter the Mardi Gras party venues. Fair Play volunteers will be available to all partygoers for any questions they may have prior to the Mardi Gras Party. Hilary Kincaid, Principal Solicitor Inner City Legal Centre reminds both international visitors and locals that “all prohibited drugs are equally prohibited, there is no ‘safe’ amount and there is no risk-free way to possess prohibited drugs.”
Look out for the white tees (pictured) on the night and at Fair Day. You can access up-to-date legal information about keeping safe, police powers, drug searches, sniffer dogs and complaint procedures on www.fair-play.org.au.
Nic Parkhill, CEO of ACON, added: “Fair Play is a critical initiative that provides the Inner City Legal Centre, Mardi Gras and ACON with a vital opportunity to educate the communities we serve on a range of issues including legal rights and responsibilities, health and safety and wellbeing. We commend the NSW Police’s efforts in seeing that this program can operate successfully; which has in the past resulted in a decline in the number of issues involving police during the Mardi Gras period. This is foremost a community-led response that seeks to keep party-goers informed and safe, and we’re proud to be a part of this great initiative.”