March 5, 2016 / 5:33 AM / 2 years ago

Australia's Turnbull to be first PM to attend gay Mardi Gras

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Malcolm Turnbull risks a political backlash within Australia’s coalition government led by the conservative Liberal Party by attending Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on Saturday, the first sitting prime minister to do so.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks during a joint news conference with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key (not pictured) in Sydney February 19, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Reed

Some coalition members have warned that it might be “dangerous” for Turnbull to attend in his capacity as prime minister, despite the fact he attends the event every year.

In a statement, Turnbull described Mardi Gras as a celebration of Australia’s diversity.

“The hard work and commitment of Sydney’s LGBTQI community has seen this event grow to a festival drawing visitors to Sydney from around the world,” he said.

“However, we cannot forget the history of Mardi Gras and the ongoing need to promote inclusion and deliver equality for all Australians.”

Reporting by Peter Gosnell; Editing by Nick Macfie

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