Irish-born Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has repeated his call for his adopted country Australia to follow the lead of his native country and legalise same-sex marriage.
Speaking to Down to Business, openly gay Joyce said he was “extremely proud” of Ireland’s resounding “Yes” result in last May’s referendum.
“It got great coverage in Australia and a lot of people were paying attention to it,” he said.
“And the civilised way in which the campaign was done here in Ireland … the way the debate occurred … I think the whole world looked at how Ireland has changed.”
Joyce, who has citizenship in both Ireland and Australia, said it was a pity Australia was lagging so far behind the rest of the world.
Last year, Joyce told a business leaders function it was “all about equality”.
“There’s one expression I love about Australia – that it’s ‘the land of the fair go’,” he said.
“At Qantas, we call ourselves ‘the spirit of Australia’ and see ourselves as representing our community.
“We want all the people who come to work every day to feel equal. To feel that they can contribute equally in the organisation, and in the country.
“So any piece of legislation that still says ‘you’re different’, ‘you’re second class’, ‘you don’t have the same rights as everybody else’ is bad for everybody’s position.”
When Joyce left Ireland in 1996, homosexuality had only recently been decriminalised.
“To see that change in 20 years, to be the first country in the world to have it (same-sex marriage) in a referendum is absolutely phenomenal,” he said.
“We have a lot to learn in Australia, because while we were the second country in the world to give women the vote, we haven’t legalised same-sex marriage.”