The Queensland government will scrap plans for a deal with Royal Brunei Airlines, saying no money changed hands over the airline’s planned new service to Brisbane.
The new route was announced in January, with Royal Brunei Airlines planning a service to Brisbane four times a week which had been secured through the Attracting Aviation Investment Fund, News.com.au reported.
Brunei’s introduction of the laws has been met with global backlash, with hotels owned by the company retreating from social media.
QNews reported that Brunei is an investor in Brisbane’s Royal on the Park Hotel, while George Clooney called for a boycott of multiple Brunei-owned hotels in Los Angeles which are often patronised within Hollywood circles.
“We suspended negotiations with Royal Brunei as soon as we learnt about changes to the law, allowing the persecution of Brunei’s LGBTIQ community,” Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones said.
“We will not provide any taxpayers’ dollars to Royal Brunei Airlines.”
While approval had reportedly been given for the government’s aviation fund to pursue the deal, no contract had yet been signed and no money had changed hand.
The Sultan of Brunei first announced his intention to introduce sharia penalties, including an explicit death penalty for LGBTQ people, in 2014, which prompted protests at the time.
STA Travel has banned the sale of Royal Brunei Airlines tickets in its agencies worldwide, with Virgin Australia also axing a deal with the airline.
Brunei’s laws have raised particular concern among advocates since Brunei’s laws would apply to passengers while onboard a Royal Brunei Airlines craft.
Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne said last week that the government had raised concerns with Brunei over the new laws.
Australia has raised our concerns with the Brunei government on the introduction of the full Syariah Penal Code today. We absolutely oppose the death penalty & are committed to the rights of LGBTI people. We will continue to advocate for human rights in the region & beyond. @dfat
— Marise Payne (@MarisePayne) April 3, 2019
Neil Pharaoh has organised a petition calling on the federal government to enact a ban on Royal Brunei Airlines flights, which has over 20,000 signatures.
You can sign the petition by clicking here.