Let’s Talk: Is Qantas CEO Alan Joyce right about the plebiscite? 19

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No doubt you, like everyone else in Australia, has a view on the Turnbull Government’s proposed plebiscite on same-sex marriage.

No doubt you’ve heard many people’s views on the issue.

Now, one of Australia’s highest profile businessmen has shared his view on the plebiscite.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who is openly gay, has penned an opinion piece for the Qantas news website.

Mr Joyce wrote that in polite society we like to think the attitudes that gay people don’t belong is a relic.

“That’s there’s no need to feel this way because modern Australia isn’t like that,” he said.

“Of course they belong. And it’s true – we’re certainly a lot more accepting than we were 20 years ago. We should celebrate that.”

He shared his personal experiences, highlighting how most gay people will tell you that “get in an argument with the wrong person and it’s not long before they reach for an anti-gay slur”.

You might be wondering where Mr Joyce stands on the plebiscite?

Well, he opposes it.

He said a lot of people oppose the plebiscite because “they know when the debate starts, the slurs won’t be far behind”.

“We’ve already had marriage equality advocates compared by conservative commentators to the Nazis and ISIS because all three are apparently ‘totalitarian’ in their approach,” he wrote.

“That’s an extremely hurtful comparison when you consider the murderous behaviour of these groups towards homosexuals.”

“And then there are the brochures that talk about children of same-sex couples being more likely to suffer from abuse and neglect. Really?”

So what if you don’t agree with same-sex marriage?

Well, Mr Joyce said he believes many people who disagree with same-sex marriage are capable of being civil in the debate.

But he believes some are not.

“The damage they can do to the tolerant and diverse society we’re proud to have built is enormous,” he wrote.

“So is the damage they can do to individuals who already feel like they don’t belong.

“To put that in perspective, lesbian and gay Australians are twice as likely to have a high level of psychological distress as their heterosexual peers.”

No doubt you’ve read and heard some of the comments made by opponents of same-sex marriage about the need for the plebiscite, how it’s insulting to imply Australians can’t be mature and respectful when debating the issue.

Mr Joyce has responded to their claims.

“We’ve been debating gay rights in this country for a long time,” he said.

“And we think we’ve argued the case for equal rights – which is what this boils down to – pretty comprehensively.”

If you think the decision on same-sex marriage is one that should be made by politicians, then you’re not alone.

Mr Joyce said he believes it’s not unreasonable for Australians to expect politicians to make the decision.

“That’s how we make almost all major decisions in this country, and the shift in opinion polls away from a plebiscite suggests most of the electorate thinks so too,” he said.

“With all the airtime devoted to the plebiscite debate recently, I’m not surprised to hear people say they’re growing tired of it.

“They want our elected officials to make a human rights decision on merit, not based on political overlays.

“For the sake of all those who have told me their stories, let’s hope good leadership prevails.”

What do you think? Do you agree with Alan Joyce? Or do you think the plebiscite won’t be as harmful as opponents claim it will be?

Starts at 60 Writers

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  1. We were promised a plebiscite and we want the plebiscite. Of course people who want SSM want the politicians to push it through because they are nervous that people will vote against it if given the choice.
    I have found people against are very civil with their arguments. It’s people ‘for’ SSM who are bitter toward people opposing them.

    2 REPLY
    • I, personally, do not wish to see 200 million dollars wasted on a plebiscite, I would like the politicians to do the job they are elected, and paid extremely well, to do. The money being spent on the plebiscite could be better spent elsewhere with much more benefit to society as a whole!

    • I agree. What is feared by those opposing SSM Plebiscite is that it will not result in a Yes vote – they are not really concerned with how much it will cost at all! I will vote against it but if the majority are in favour
      then I will abide by that decision no matter how I feel about it. The people will speak!

      1 REPLY
      • What makes same sex marriage such a big deal to need a plebiscite? It should just be treated like every other issue politicians need to decide on. In this case it might be nice to catch up to the rest of the world on social/legal acceptance of same sex relationships. The people of New Zealand, US, Canada seem to have survived pretty well after the change of law. Besides it never went to the public when John Howard defined marriage as exclusively between a man and woman why now? If the law changed other countries show no one’s really affected negatively and it makes some people super happy sounds good right?

  2. The plebiscite is a total waste of money, especially since it is not binding. It is just a way for the conservative side of politics to delay. John Howard changed the legislation to make marriage solely between a man and a woman without a plebiscite and it should be changed to allow any two people to marry if they wish to. It really is nobody else’s business if people want to marry. Their decision does not affect anyone else. Marriage is good for the economy and good for social stability so it is really in everyone’s interests to encourage it.

    1 REPLY
  3. “…Well, Mr Joyce said he believes many people who disagree with same-sex marriage are capable of being civil in the debate. But he believes some are not…”

    That applies to homosexuals (LGBTIPDs), too!

    But we all deserve a say about same-sex-marriage (it’s NOT ‘marriage equality’). It is trying to change the definition of marriage (union of one man and one woman) not just get equality of benefits, etc.

    I believe the main reason they don’t want a plebiscite is because they know they will lose!

    1 REPLY
    • I agree Pamela !! It is only those who are for same sex marriage that are against a plebiscite for their own selfish reasons.

      For such a monumental change to society norms it is imperative that everyone gets to have their say. If this change is implemented it will have enormous repercussions for all levels of society. To start with there will need to be 140 changes to legislation to recognise married couples of the same sex in legal fields. That is just the beginning. It will also change society as a whole because the traditional family unit will be devalued even more. At least in the short term. I guess this fad will pass in time, just like every other fad we have had, but at what expense.

      I find this most offensive because it is a small minority wanting to change the world for selfish gains. I was of the belief that in a democracy it was the majority that made the rules not all these squeaky wheels. And it has nothing to do with equality. They already have equal rights in everything else under our anti-discrimination laws.

      Some things are sacrosanct for the good of the whole.

      1 REPLY
  4. we want a plebiscite…. so say the heterosexuals who have FULL equality. How about a plebiscite on retaining de facto or divorce? How a bout a plebiscite on keeping pensions? Meryl says people against are very civil with their arguments?

    RELALLY. if that is civil ands she is married still I pity her husband,

  5. I totally agree with what Mr Alan Joyce has said.

    He speaks sense, as usual, of course.

    Pollies’ are paid obscene salaries’ to make decisions’.
    We elected THEM to do the hard yards! Do it!

    Make one on this issue, you load of weaklings!

  6. Any changes to the current constitution should be decided by the majority voters, and not the 152 MPs in the Lower House & 76 Senators. If the Parliament had people with brains, why is our economy in the gutters, the hospitals, schools, universities, sick, elderly & disable are struggling, and the young educated are unable to afford to buy a house & and raise a family. Most young educated unmarried, employed people, buy most of there necessities other than food, online. So, the business are struggling. Married educated well employed couples earn good money, but when the high mortgage is paid, and maintain two cars, spend on good clothes to wear to work, they can’t even raise a family. Elderly & home owners have become millionaires overnight, who worked hard, saved money, used it wisely, saved for the future, are now denied a pension, even though they paid taxes for 35 to 40 years. The country wouldn’t have got in to this strife, if we had good, wise, far thinking politicians. Their utter stupidity makes them unsuitable to make decisions on behalf the voters. Country should not allow a groups duds, to make important decisions. That is why, gay marriage or any other major issues should ONLY be decided by the voters. Bring it on, so the both winners & looser can put that issue to rest, without wasting any more time.

    1 REPLY
    • This is not a change to the constitution. This law was changed in parliament by John Howard, so changing it back does not require a referendum, or plebescite. That would just be a waste of time and money.

  7. It is better to ask Alan Joyce, why Qantas devalue the Frequent Flyer points, instead of gay marriage. After been the head of Qantas for many years, he made a profit only once, last year, not because he did something wonderful, but only because, he didn’t pass on the savings on the cost of fuel, which has gone down by 50%, but not passed on the the travelers, and he also cut the value of Frequent Flyer points. Two years back, I used my FFP to go, from Syd/Hobart return via Melbourne, which was 12,000 points plus a small amount of tax. Now to go Melbourne return, I have to pay about $300 plus 12,000 points. What does he know about anything other than “robbing” the travelers.

    3 REPLY
    • Be good if you could spell to start with!

      Maybe you should check the types, & number of Degree’s Mr Alan Joyce has, before you start your disparagement of him!
      I’m sure it’d be a few more than you!

      You obviously don’t like QANTAS, or the way it conducts business. Your bad luck.

      You’re an ignorant loser, & know absolutely nothing about QANTAS!

    • Amen ! And who the hell is Allan Joyce anyway ???? The only way he makes a profit for Q is by my employing australian stewards on international flights but rather Kiwis and Thai guys. The oil price dropped that gave an artificial increase in profit. What would a bloody little non Australian know abiut what we Australians need for our society ??? Is he an Australian citizen yet ???

  8. Most of the nasty comments and actions seem to come from those in favor of gay marriage. Seems to me if you don’t agree with them then they call you every name they can think of and that is suppose to be ok.

  9. What makes same sex marriage such a big deal to need a plebiscite? It should just be treated like every other issue politicians need to decide on. In this case it might be nice to catch up to the rest of the world on social/legal acceptance of same sex relationships. The people of New Zealand, US, Canada seem to have survived pretty well after the change of law. Besides it never went to the public when John Howard defined marriage as exclusively between a man and woman why now? If the law changed other countries show no one’s really affected negatively and it makes some people super happy sounds good right?

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