A letter signed by more than 30 CEOs from some of Australia’s largest companies have sent a letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, urging him to legislate for marriage equality.
The letter, published by the Equality Campaign, has been signed by 34 business leaders from companies including ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, Holden, Qantas, Telstra, MYOB, Football Federation Australia and the National Rugby League. It outlines the benefits of marriage equality for business, employees, customers and the country.
“In the globally competitive marketplace, customers are becoming more discerning and are selecting products and services from companies that better represent their values,” the letter reads.
“By supporting marriage equality, businesses send a powerful message to their customers that they think fairness, equality and dignity should be available to all Australians.
“Enabling loving, committed couples to be married, regardless of their sexual orientation will contribute to a stronger economy and a more inclusive Australia.”
But on Friday Malcolm Turnbull told radio station 3AW the chief executives “should be talking to Bill Shorten” instead and asking him to support the government’s plebiscite which was blocked last November and criticised as expensive and divisive.
“If we’d had the plebiscite … it would’ve been passed, and gay couples would be getting married now,” he said.
“We have a commitment on a plebiscite, which we took to the election. That’s our policy. The way to ensure gay marriage is allowed is to have a plebiscite.”
On Thursday, federal government minister Peter Dutton criticised plans for the joint letter and said business leaders shouldn’t “shove their politically correct views down our throats.”
Read the letter in full below:
Dear Prime Minister,
JOINT LETTER FROM AUSTRALIAN BUSINESS LEADERS IN SUPPORT OF MARRIAGE EQUALITY
As leaders across Australian business, industry and community we write this joint letter in our personal capacity in support of marriage equality and to urge the Government to resolve this reform in the near term.
The majority of Australians and MPs support this reform. We ask the Australian Parliament to deliver civil marriage equality for every Australian so that our nation can move forward as a more inclusive place to live, work and play.
The time has come to resolve this important reform. Two-thirds of Australians support marriage equality (65% support, 28% opposed, 8% undecided, Crosby|Textor, August 2016), a majority of both houses of parliament support marriage equality, and over 1,000 businesses have signed a letter of support for marriage equality. We urge you to legislate for marriage equality so the Government can get on with its core economic agenda.
As business leaders, we believe marriage equality is important for a number of reasons.
– It is good for our employees – People are a company’s most important asset. Supporting marriage equality helps Australian companies attract, nurture and retain the very best and the brightest people. All employees should have the opportunity to perform to their full potential and a high performance culture requires employees to feel comfortable in their workplace and their lives.
– It is good for our customers – In the globally competitive marketplace, customers are becoming more discerning and are selecting products and services from companies that better represent their values. By supporting marriage equality, businesses send a powerful message to their customers that they think fairness, equality and dignity should be available to all Australians.
– It is good for Australia – Australia’s global reputation as a welcoming and inclusive nation helps to attract international talent and foreign investment. Attracting the best talent is critical, as competitiveness will be delivered by a highly skilled, creative and adaptable workforce. The most effective way for the diversity and inclusion policies to be supported is to exist within a national legal framework that promotes equality for all.
– It is good for our business – Equality and diversity are strategic business issues. It has been well demonstrated that businesses that embrace workplace diversity and inclusion are more innovative and outperform in organisational effectiveness and profitability. Corporate social responsibility is becoming a critical factor to a growing number of global investors and the capital markets.
Therefore it is very clear that the business case for supporting civil marriage equality is compelling. Enabling loving, committed couples to be married, regardless of their sexual orientation will contribute to a stronger economy and a more inclusive Australia.
Globally more than twenty countries have now passed laws to allow same-sex marriage, including the United States of America, New Zealand, Canada and Great Britain and across Australia the number of businesses that support marriage equality continues to grow.
Marriage equality is simply based on our shared Australian values of a fair go and respect for all and it’s important that these values continue to underpin the ongoing national conversation on marriage equality.
Marriage equality will not change anything for the vast majority of Australians, but will make a profound difference to the status and dignity of many.
We believe our laws should reflect these values of which we are most proud. It’s time for all Australians to be treated equally under the law, with the full rights of equal citizenship. LGBTI Australians should have the same opportunities for love, commitment and happiness as everyone else.