Qantas will continue advocating for marriage equality despite Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s criticism of CEO Alan Joyce over the matter.
Joyce was among more than 30 prominent executives who earlier this week called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to legalise same-sex marriage, in a letter coordinated by Australian Marriage Equality.
Dutton singled out Joyce at an LNP conference on Saturday, saying he should express his views “as an individual” and not using his company’s brand.
“It is unacceptable that people would use companies and the money of publicly listed companies to throw their weight around,” said Dutton.
“If Alan Joyce and any other CEO wants to campaign on this or any other issue in their own time and on their own dime, good luck to them.
“Don’t use an iconic brand and the might of a multi–billion dollar business on issues best left to the judgements of individuals and elected decision-makers.”
Dutton said companies were being “morally coerced” into supporting social issues for fear of boycotts.
“It is simply unconscionable,” he said.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop appeared to support corporate campaigning, saying free speech should be protected in a democracy.
“If chief executives believe that it’s in the interests of their company to collaborate on a public statement, then they’re free to do so,” she said.
Qantas has stated the company will continue to support marriage equality.
“Qantas speaks out on a number of social issues from Indigenous recognition to gender diversity and marriage equality,” said a spokesperson.
“We do so because we believe these issues are about the fundamental Australian value of fairness and we’re the national carrier.”
Australian Marriage Equality is calling for people in support of marriage equality to join their Equality Campaign to tell their local MPs why equality matters.
After a critical week for the issue of marriage equality, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) has also urged supporters to take action through their new Speak Up campaign.
It follows PFLAG’s previous Make It Law campaign, which last year helped defeat a marriage plebiscite.
“Now is the time to act if we are to have any chance of achieving marriage equality in this term of government,” said PFLAG spokesperson Shelley Argent.
“I urge anyone who is yet to send an email to do so asap at demandafreevote.com.au.
“Do it for yourself and do it for your loved ones.”