WHEN the captains of industry and politics come together I don’t expect them to discuss LGBT issues.

I partly don’t think they care or they have something slightly more pressing to discuss.

For the first time at the World Economic Forum, held in Davos, Switzerland, there was an event focusing on the LGBT struggle.

Instigated by Lord John Browne, the former BP chief executive who was shamed into coming out in 2007, it focused on LGBT rights at work.

Few people have the capacity to bring these discussions to leading executives and politicians, even fewer actually do.

Since the launch of his book, The Glass Closet, Browne has become quite the diversity advocate. Having been a chief executive of an economic juggernaut, Browne maintains a formidable network.

Exercising this for political and economic progress takes chutzpah.

When I was reading about this event, I thought about when Barack Obama publicly supported marriage equality and LGBT rights, when David Cameron and a host of other global leaders have done the same.

I struggled to name a leading Australian figure, let alone one with international influence and standing.

Bill Shorten only called out his support for marriage equality in front of the Australian Christian Lobby after great attention was paid to it; Julia Gillard proclaimed she didn’t believe in marriage at all; and, Kevin Rudd did it from the back-bench.

Who do we turn to? Celebrities? Please.

The closest person in any political office is Penny Wong in the Senate. She is leading the opposition in a maligned chamber, it hardly evokes prestige.

The harsh reality is that Australian politicians have fallen behind our own social expectations and have limited legitimacy to discuss equality on the global stage.

Out of touch with our international contemporaries, Australia needs to pick it up.

In 2008 we achieved a feat of equality: the reforms that the Labor Party pushed through steered by Rudd and then-Senator Louise Pratt. Now there are only a few small things that need to be cleaned up for legislative equality – like the Marriage Act.

Tony Abbott is dragging his feet in bringing any sort of LGBT equality to the party room before it goes to Parliament.

Like many others who are still not on board the equality train, Abbott seems to be unconvinced on the issue. Unmoved by human rights, social inclusion, economic benefits – not even by his own family.

Good Lord, what else must we do?

It is best highlighted in contrast to Shorten who seems to be unconvincing in almost every sentence he mutters. Sure, he is supportive of the cause but ours needs someone more charismatic.

So I ask, ministers and leaders in the government – please start speaking out about your support for LGBT rights and inclusion.

Stop speaking privately, proclaim publicly.

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