Fair Play will be back for the third year at the 2016 Mardi Gras Party. Designed to help partygoers understand their legal rights and to monitor police operations, Fair Play is coordinated by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Inner City Legal Centre and ACON.
Fair Play provides ACON and our partner community organisations with an opportunity to educate the communities we serve on a number of issues, ranging from legal rights and responsibilities, through to safety and wellbeing,” says Nic Parkhill, ACON CEO. “This is a community led response that seeks to keep party-goers informed and safe over the Mardi Gras period. We are committed to supporting people in our communities to know their rights and to have the support they need.”
As a community-based initiative, Fair Play plays an increasingly important role in raising awareness and providing information to the LGBTIQ community on a wide range of issues relating to health, safety, rights and appropriate policing practices at parties during the Mardi Gras period, particularly where police drug dog operations occur. Fair Play also provides key legal information and advice on relevant laws during the party season.
In 2014 and 2015 the trained Fair Players worked before the major community parties and alongside police on the night of the parties, to ensure party-goers understood their rights and to provide support and information in the event of a police search.
This has resulted in a lower number of searches overall, lower rates of distress experienced by our communities, and substantially reduced number of complaints against the police. The success of this policing approach, as well as Fair Play’s engagement, will be built on for this year’s Mardi Gras Party.
Fair Play is supported by a coalition of LGBTIQ organisations comprising the Inner City Legal Centre, ACON and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. The initiative is applauded by police who work together with the community organisations in preparation for the party season.
Fair Play activities are focussed around the following areas:
- A website: www.fair-play.org.au and Facebook page: www.facebook.com/yourfairplay which informs the community about their rights, the law, police powers, and how to get help or make a complaint;
- A team trained ‘Fair Players’ (volunteer members of the LGBTIQ community); and
- Attendance at the Mardi Gras Party to provide information on rights and legal support, offer emotional support and monitor police operations.
“Fair Play has been very successful over the last two years,” says Michele Bauer, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras CEO. “It was created in the spirit of cooperation and collaboration to make sure all event goers have the best experience possible and receive support where needed. SGLMG thanks ACON and ICLC for their support and coordination of Fair Play and we expect this partnership and initiative to last for years to come.”
“Fair Play is an outstanding community initiative with clear wins for the LGBTIQ community,” says Vicki Harding, Director Inner City Legal Centre. “A little bit of knowledge goes a long way and Fair Play provides the tools to increase awareness of rights, as well as access to quality legal advice if necessary. The skilled Fair Players work hard at the Mardi Gras party so that party-goers can relax and have a good time.”
Fair Play is an initiative of the Inner City Legal Centre (ICLC), NSW’s LGBTIQ legal centre, in partnership with ACON and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG).