High-profile marriage equality advocate Alan Joyce has criticised both sides of the Australian marriage equality debate.

The Qantas CEO said the extreme tone of both sides was concerning, ABC News has reported.

“One of the reasons why we weren’t big fans of the postal ballot survey, plebiscite, was that we were worried the tone wouldn’t be respectful,” he said.

“I think clearly on both sides, the extremities of both sides that’s the case, and that is worrying.”

Joyce called on Australians who believe in fairness to vote yes on marriage equality.

“Maybe because I’m an openly gay CEO, we get a lot of profile by this, whether it’s the guy throwing a pie in my face or Margaret Court boycotting us. But the fact is there were 1,300 companies who supported marriage equality in the ad campaign,” he said.

“I’m a big believer in the great Australian expression of a fair go. I think this debate is all about fair go, it’s all about equality and it’s all about respect for love and commitment. And if you believe in those things you should be voting yes in this space.”

Joyce said he was proud of a country where “a gay Irishman could come here and run the biggest iconic brand the country has to offer”.

“This is truly a meritocracy and that’s why I think this marriage equality debate, in my mind, doesn’t represent the best of Australia, because the best of Australia that I’ve seen is giving people a fair go, is about equality, is about respecting people’s love and commitment,” he said.

“That’s why I’m very proud of this country and I hope we can get through some of these debates and show this country for what it really is—a very accepting place.”

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