Evening with Michael Kirby raises over $14,000

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The Aurora Group introduced its new Chairperson, Marcus Bourget, at last night’s ‘An Evening With Michael Kirby’ dinner at Hickson Road Bistro, which raised over $14,000.

The Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG and his partner Johan van Vloten were Aurora’s special guests last night, in celebration of the launch of Michael’s much-anticipated memoir A Private Life: Fragments, Memories, Friends.

In his speech at the dinner, Kirby shared stories from the book and also discussed the recent attempt at CHOGM in Perth to abolish criminal laws against homosexuals and other minorities that remain in other Commonwealth nations.

‘’The story of my life, told in my book A Private Life, shows how pivotal was the reform of criminal laws achieved in the Australian states between 1974 and 1998” said Kirby. “Until those reforms, people were frightened and terrorised by police and other bullies just because they were gay. I know. I was there.  Sadly, this remains the case in 41 of the 54 countries of the Commonwealth.”

‘’It is not enough for citizens in Australia, straight and gay, to seek reform in our own country. These are our brothers and sisters. We know their pain. We also know how bad these laws are for successful strategies against AIDS.” said Kirby. “We must lift our voices. And not be silent until this horrible legacy of past ignorance is removed in every Commonwealth country. State sovereignty has to give way to fundamental human rights. In gender, race and sexuality.’’

Funds raised at last night’s dinner, which had 110 supporters in attendance, will be directed to Aurora’s annual grants program, donating to GLBT organisations including the Twenty10 Association and the Gay & Lesbian Counselling Service of NSW.

The dinner also provided the opportunity for Aurora to introduce Marcus Bourget, who was elected as the new chair of Aurora at its recent AGM. He succeeds David Moutou, who retired from Aurora’s board after six years as a director and the past two years as its Chairperson.

Bourget previously served as Chairman and Director of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras from 2005 to 2008. Bourget becomes the fifth chairperson in Aurora’s 12 year history, a role previously held by Bruce Pollack, Jane Marsden, Alex Sosnov and David Moutou.

“I am honoured and fortunate to be elected Chairperson of The Aurora Group,” says Bourget. “Over the last decade Aurora has consistently delivered fantastic events and made an impact to important projects in our community. I am thrilled to be part of the Aurora team and lead the dedicated 12 directors on our board.”

Moutou will continue to be involved with Aurora as a Life Member and as administrator of the Grants Program on a volunteer basis. “I am very proud of the way my relationship with Aurora grew from grant recipient, to volunteer to chairperson,” says Moutou. “I am proud of the impact Aurora funds has had in the community and I am equally proud with the fun and glamorous way in which we are able to raise those funds.”

Aurora is also pleased to announce that its popular Fat Tuesday fundraiser will be held on 21 February 2012 and that it’s major annual gala, The 2012 Aurora Dinner, will be held on Saturday 23 June 2012. Supporters are encouraged to mark both dates in their diaries and book early, as both events sold out well in advance in 2011.