Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce will throw his company’s support behind the Yes campaign for same-sex marriage, despite pointed criticism from Coalition ministers earlier this year.
- Alan Joyce has been vocal on the issue of same-sex marriage since early this year
- His stance prompted a man to smash a meringue pie into his face in May
- The Qantas chief will continue to campaign during the lead-up to the postal vote
Mr Joyce was one of 20 high-profile chief executives who agitated for same-sex marriage in March, drawing the ire of Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.
Mr Dutton, who was one of the architects of the postal ballot, said Mr Joyce should refrain from using the company’s brand to campaign on the issue.
Today the Qantas executive, who pressed charges against a man who smashed a meringue pie into his face due to his advocacy, said he would have preferred a vote in Parliament.
“I believe we have to get behind it and make sure that we have a Yes vote and certainly I will be out there strongly campaigning for a Yes vote,” he said.
“I think it is very important for our employees, customers and our shareholders, and that is why Qantas is a supporter of marriage equality and a supporter of gender equality and a supporter of Indigenous rights.”
In March, Mr Dutton said it was “unacceptable that people would use companies and the money of publicly listed companies to throw their weight around”.
Mr Joyce was not deterred and continued to campaign. A similar position was also taken by Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott.
“We believe the social issues are very important of all of your stakeholders and are very important for this country,” Mr Joyce said today.
“We will be active out there and supporting a Yes vote.”
Brandis hits back at Abbott in row over ‘gender fluidity’
Coalition frontbenchers have publicly disagreed about the scope of the same-sex marriage postal ballot.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott says legalising same-sex marriage could lead to discussions about “gender fluidity” in Australian schools.
“This isn’t just about marriage equality,” he told Sydney radio station 2GB.
“Marriage is the immediate focus but there are lots of implications here and we have to think about them before we take this big leap into what I think is the dark.”
Those comments have been rejected by Attorney-General George Brandis, who said he would not be tricked into making the vote about more than marriage.
“What I’m not going to do is be tricked by Tony Abbott and others who are trying to turn a debate about one issue, whether same-sex couples be allowed to marry, into a broader debate about religious freedom,” he said.
“That is not what this is about.”
Senator Brandis said religious freedoms would continue to be protected if same-sex marriage was legalised.
A private member’s bill prepared by Liberal senator Dean Smith included exemptions for religious figures who fear they may be sued if they refused to marry a same-sex couple.
But Coalition frontbenchers Zed Seselja and Angus Taylor said religious freedom was an important part of the debate about same-sex marriage.