Immigration minister Peter Dutton has hit out at some of Australia’s top CEOs, accusing them of interfering in the debate over gay marriage.
Dutton was speaking at the Liberal National Party’s state council meeting in Cairns when he took aim at CEOs from Telstra, Qantas, Holden, Wesfarmers and the Commonwealth Bank among others and told them to “stick to their knitting”.
He took particular issue with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, saying: “Alan Joyce, the individual, is perfectly entitled to campaign for and spend his hard earned money on any issue he sees fit but don’t do it in the official capacity and with shareholders money.
“And certainly don’t use an iconic brand and the might of a multi-billion dollar business on issues best left to the judgment of issues and elected decision makers.”
Thirty of Australia’s largest companies recently banded together to urge the government to legalise gay marriage.
Dutton is one of the most conservative voices in the Liberal Party and said the government would “not be bullied” into changing its stance on gay marriage.
He went on to claim some companies had only signed up to support marriage equality because they were scared of being boycotted by activists.
“The reality is that some companies are morally coerced into supporting campaigns in fear of being extorted by an online social media push to boycott their product,” he said.