Australia’s immigration minister has lashed out at the campaign for equal marriage, deriding it as “politically correct nonsense”.
This week, 20 heads of some of Australia’s largest companies penned a letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull urging him to allow a free vote on same-sex marriage in Parliament.
Right-wing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull refuses to permit a free Parliamentary vote on the issue, and is thought to have made assurances to his Coalition’s anti-LGBT wing against any such move during his leadership bid.
In response to the letter, the government’s Immigration Minister Peter Dutton lashed out at the business leaders.
In a radio interview with 2GB, he said: “The CEOs would be better off out there arguing at the moment for the economy to be run a particular way or for tax to be reformed in this way so that people grow their businesses and grow jobs as opposed to taking on these moral causes.
“If they want to run for politics, well resign from their position and stick their hand up at the next election but don’t jam your politically correct views down our throats.
“Some of these CEOs who are doing the wrong thing (…) frankly need to be publicly shamed and I think people frankly are getting sick of all this politically correct nonsense.”
He proceeded to lash out at telecoms company Telstra for backing equal marriage while hiring foreign customer service reps.
He said: “I lead a fairly busy life and the thought of hanging on the phone for an hour to some person in the Philippines and still getting nowhere at the end of the call drives me crazy.
“Now here’s a suggestion for Telstra: instead of getting caught up and spending your investors’ money, your shareholders’ money on all these political causes, what about tidying up your own back yard first and providing a proper standard of care and service to your customers?
“That actually would be a good starting point. Once all that’s done then if you’ve got time on your hands you can concentrate on all these fringe issues.
“If people want to enter politics then do that, but don’t do it from the office overlooking the harbour on your multi-million dollar fees each year.
“It’s high time these people pulled back from these moralistic stances and we’d be a better society without them.”
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Ivan Hinton-Teoh of just.equal said: “All Australians should be free to voice their views and lobby politicians, including those business leaders who support marriage equality.
“Many CEOs recognise the importance of equality for their employees and customers and have a right to represent that to law-makers.
“It’s not appropriate for a Government minister to attempt to shut down views he doesn’t agree with.”
The country has been debating marriage equality for more than 13 years. In that time every other English speaking western nation has had the debate, achieved the reform and moved on.”
“In the absence of political movement on marriage equality it’s only right that community members who find themselves in positions of power and influence use it to raise the issue, standing with the majority of Australians who wish the reform to pass.”
Mr Turnbull rejected calls for equality today.
He told reporters: “Our policy on this is well-known, which we took to the election [last year].
“There should be a plebiscite on the issue first.
“The Labor Party has frustrated that by opposing it in the Senate, despite the fact that Mr Shorten only three years ago gave his very public and vocal support for a plebiscite which would give every Australians a say on the matter.”