Australia's national science agency, CSIRO, has lit up its iconic Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope in a rainbow of colours for Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2019.

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The stunning image, which sees six of the 12-metre wide antennas located in remote Western Australia each reflecting a colour of the rainbow against the backdrop of the Milky Way, was created to mark CSIRO’s inaugural participation in the Mardi Gras Parade.

Fifty CSIRO staff will march in the parade on 2 March holding a giant double helix (DNA), celebrating the organisation's commitment to diversity.

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said CSIRO was highlighting the importance of diversity not just at the agency but also the critical role it played in science and innovation.

"Diversity is in our DNA, and our LGBTQI+ community is a crucial part of CSIRO's DNA," Dr Marshall said.

"It is only through an inclusive and diverse culture that we can imagine, invent, and innovate solutions to Australia's greatest challenges.

"At the CSIRO we want people to bring their whole selves to work, to create a healthier, happier workplace where people are truly empowered and free to innovate and shape the future."

Insect expert Dr Bryan Lessard (aka Bry the Fly Guy) is among the 50 CSIRO marchers taking part in the colourful parade.

"From naming a bootylicious insect 'Beyonce' to preaching the wonders of flies on the radio and TV, I've had the privilege of doing some pretty fabulous things over the course of my career, and representing CSIRO at Mardi Gras will be right up there," Dr Lessard said.

Dr Sarah Pearce, Deputy Director of CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (CASS), founded CASS's Diversity Committee in 2014, and is also an ally of the LGBTQI+ community.

"We really value the diversity of our people, and how they bring different perspectives to innovate and shape the future for everyone," Dr Pearce said.

"As a national research facility, ASKAP is used by a diverse group of astronomers from right around the globe."

According to Diversity Council Australia, people who work in an inclusive team are nine times more likely to innovate, and ten times more likely to be highly effective than workers in non-inclusive teams.

CSIRO has an active Diversity and Inclusion program which includes participation in gender equity initiatives such as the SAGE pilot program and Male Champions of Change membership, implementation of a Reconciliation Action Plan, and an active Pride@CSIRO network.

The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) is located at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) approximately 800km north of Perth.

It is ideally situated for listening to faint ‘whispers’ from space. Its low levels of radio-frequency interference and sophisticated on-site infrastructure are essential for exploring the origins of the Universe.

We acknowledge the Wajarri Yamatji people as the traditional owners of the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory site, which is home to ASKAP.

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Images

  • Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in remote Western Australia. It includes six of the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder’s (ASKAP) 36 antennas, custom lit by portable white LED lights to produce a rainbow effect, along with a  the Milky Way arching overhead.

    CSIRO shines a rainbow under the Milky Way to mark its first Mardis Gras.

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  •  Dr Bryan Lessard holding an insect tray from the Australian National Insect Collection.

    Insect expert Dr Bryan Lessard (aka Bry the Fly Guy) is among the 50 CSIRO marchers taking part in the colourful parade.  ©MARTIN OLLMAN

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  • Dr Sarah Pearce standing in front of a photograph of a radio telescope.

    Dr Sarah Pearce, Deputy Director of CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (CASS), founded CASS’s Diversity Committee in 2014, and is also an ally of the LGBTQI+ community.  ©COPYRIGHT KARL SCHWERDTFEGER

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