ibusinesslines.com March 24, 2017

Coalition MPs claim marriage equality policy 'resolved' after Dutton's attack on CEOs

19 March 2017, 11:07 | Melissa Porter

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has come under fire from Immigration Minister Peter Dutton. Source AAP

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has come under fire from Immigration Minister Peter Dutton. Source AAP

Federal frontbenchers have defended business leaders campaigning for same-sex marriage after the group came under fire from Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.

Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce was among a group of more than 30 business leaders, including the CEOs of Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Telstra Corp., who on Thursday petitioned Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to legislate the issue.

On Saturday Dutton singled out the Qantas chief executive, Alan Joyce, accusing him of using the company's brand to push his personal view on equality.

There is also speculation that a number of conservative Coalition MPs are planning to lobby Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to jettison his support for a plebiscite on same-sex marriage and pass legislation by a normal vote.

"Mr Joyce should leave the question of whether he can get married or not to straight people like me", said Mr Dutton. "This is typical of gays, wanting to force their agenda about what they want to do with their own lives, onto straight people".

'Don't use an iconic brand and the might of a multi-billion-dollar business on issues best left to the judgments of individuals and elected decision makers'.

'In Australia, we all deserve to participate in debates, regardless of the issue, in a way that is sensible, is free from coercion or bullying.

He rejected the idea in their CEOs' letter that continuing to block a free vote would be bad for business, citing the fact that Australia's biggest trading partners in Asia would not legislate same-sex marriage "any time soon".

"We believe these issues are about the fundamental Australian value of fairness and we're the national carrier", Sydney-based Qantas said in an emailed statement.

About 65 percent of all Australians are in favor of gay marriage, according to Thursday's letter.

"The question is going to eventually be, the conversation we're going to need to have [is] around what. policy is taken to the next election but I don't think now is the time for that conversation", he said.

After a critical week for the issue of marriage equality, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) has urged supporters to take action through their new Speak Up campaign.

"These people don't have the capacity" to lead, Mr Dutton said, referring to One Nation's candidates.

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