AFTER slamming Alan Joyce last week over lobbying for marriage equality, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has reportedly been working towards legalising equal marriage in this parliamentary term.

After last year’s defeat of the same-sex marriage plebiscite, Dutton told his colleagues that the issue would be an ongoing distraction until dealt with. He said marriage equality was inevitable for Australia and that it would be better for the Coalition rather than Labor to control it, ensuring maximum legal protections for religious freedom.

The conservative MP’s attack last week on corporate executives supporting equal marriage was met by suspicion from colleagues, who believed he was committed to progress on the matter.

Dutton has stated he is personally opposed to same-sex marriage, but along with other Liberals he has been looking for ways to resolve the issue. Some conservatives recognise that passing marriage equality would improve the government’s standing with voters.

Along with Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, Dutton is reportedly now pushing for a postal vote plebiscite to be held before a parliamentary vote on marriage equality. While a postal vote would be cheaper and easier to establish than a regular poll, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is understood to be wary of the idea.

Chair of Australian Marriage Equality Alex Greenwich said a postal vote plebiscite would be a “pretty sneaky and underhanded way” to handle marriage equality, and a “desperate ploy”.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said business leaders “absolutely should” speak out about marriage equality.

“Polls show that’s also what the majority of the Australian community believes—people who are our shareholders, customers and employees,” he said.

“We’re comfortable with our position and on speaking out about it.”

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