SOME of Australia’s biggest companies have responded to an open letter urging them to publicly support the Safe Schools program, saying they support the LGBTI community but some stopped short at endorsing the program.
150 Australians signed the letter, including entertainer Paul Capsis and PFLAG national president Shelley Argent, which asked companies who had supported the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and Midsumma to also speak out in favour of Safe Schools.
The open letter asks businesses: “Just as you are proud to support Mardi Gras or Midsumma publicly, we ask that you join us in a chorus of support for Safe Schools, a program that saves the lives of young LGBTIQ children and perhaps does more to benefit young lives than any festival.”
It was sent to ANZ, Qantas, Telstra, NAB, Coles, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Jetstar, IBM, AGL, Canon, Airbnb, Star City Casino, NRL, Medibank Private, PwC, Seek, GoGet, Coopers, and Lush Cosmetics.
Job search company Seek told Star Observer it was committed to celebrating diversity and inclusion.
“We support the Safe Schools initiative, any program that is designed to educate youth on sexual and gender diversity to combat homophobia we see as a step in the right direction,” the company stated.
“Programs such as this create the foundations required to in future, have more inclusive and diverse workplaces.”
Qantas and Jetstar said while they “strongly” supported policies and programs which prevent discrimination and bullying, especially if it helps young LGBTI people.
“We’ll leave the detailed commentary about school curriculum to the experts, who are best placed to make sure this issue is discussed in a way that’s informed and responsible,” the airline giants told the Star Observer.
Meanwhile, Lush Cosmetics said it was very much in favour of supporting Safe Schools.
“Lush are disappointed that the Safe Schools program has been de-railed by a group of minority conservative politicians whose views we find a disgrace in today’s society,” Lush Cosmetics spokesperson Aliya Hutchison told the Star Observer.
“Last week’s changes are a step in the wrong direction in making all young people feel valued and supported.
“Last week’s change saw some of our most vulnerable young people be used as a political football. This program has been proven to save lives. We wouldn’t give parents an opt out of a program on racism, so why do we allow it on sexuality? The ultimate goal should be ensuring acceptance.”
Spokespeople for Telstra and NAB said their companies had in-house LGBTI networks and supported diversity but did not confirm whether they would publicly support Safe Schools.
The Star Observer approached all the other companies listed in the open letter but at the time of print, responses were not received.