Action Alert May 2016

This is an archived edition of Action Alert.

Telstra’s Position on Same-Sex ‘Marriage’

In recent years, Australian Marriage Equality (AME) – the homosexual lobbying group led by Tasmanian homosexual activist Rodney Croome – has ‘recruited’ a number of prominent Australian companies – more than 800 at last count – to declare their active support for so-called ‘marriage equality’. The supportive companies’ names and logos have been displayed in AME newspaper advertisements and on the AME website. As Alan Joyce, the CEO of Qantas (and a homosexual) said recently, “If you’re unhappy with a company that’s involved with the [same-sex ‘marriage’] campaign you won’t be able to bank and you won’t be able to fly anywhere.”

Both Telstra and Optus are listed as supporters of ‘marriage equality’, but Telstra’s position in April went through an astonishing series of backflips. Mr Michael Digges, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney’s business manager, had written to all the companies participating in the campaign and threatened to boycott their services. Mr Digges letter stated, “I wonder whether you have questioned whether it is the role of a corporation such as yours to be participating in such an important matter that impacts all of Australian society now and into the future.” The threat of a boycott was particularly alarming for Telstra because it has a contract with the Roman Catholic Church – worth $146 million when it was awarded in 2009 – to provide a telecommunications network linking 1,622 Roman Catholic schools and education offices.

In response, Telstra issued a statement – published in the media on 13 April 2016 – in which the company indicated that it had backed away from its public support for same-sex ‘marriage’. The statement read: “Telstra has a long tradition of supporting diversity and inclusion. Our position on the issue has not changed. We place great importance on diversity and standing against all forms of discrimination. We also recognise this diversity means our employees, customers, and shareholders will have a range of personal views on this topic. What has changed is that the Government has indicated it will call a plebiscite on the issue and, ultimately, Parliament will decide the matter. Our people and stakeholders can contribute to this process and out of respect, it is important we allow them to voice their own views. Given this, we have no further plans to be active in the debate.”

Immediately, there was a huge backlash from LGBTI lobbyists, with many of them posting comments on social media about taking their telecommunications business elsewhere. Within a day, Telstra backed down! On 14 April 2016, Mr Andy Penn, CEO of Telstra, stated: “Following yesterday’s marriage equality debate around Telstra, I want to be clear about Telstra’s perspective as our long track record in diversity and inclusion was generally overlooked. We clearly need to make this simple statement – Telstra supports marriage equality as part of the great importance we place on diversity and standing against all forms of discrimination. Equally we recognise there are many and varied views and if we are all truly accepting of diversity, there should be room made for all of them. While Telstra continues to support Australian Marriage Equality and has not changed that position, we have made a decision not to publicly participate in the debate further. This is because the proposed plebiscite process gives everyone an opportunity to contribute and out of respect, it is important we allow them to voice their own views. However, this position was interpreted by some as us abandoning our tradition of supporting diversity and inclusion, be it in the community or in our workplace. This could not be further from the truth.”

But that was not enough for the LGBTI lobbyists! Their intolerant howls of protest and threats to take their business elsewhere continued. So, on 18 April 2016, Telstra issued a third statement in which CEO Andy Penn declared (in part): “Telstra supports marriage equality. Last week we advised that out of respect for the individual our view had been that we would not add further to the debate on marriage equality ahead of a plebiscite or parliamentary debate. It is clear that rather than Telstra stepping back we should in fact step forward and support our view for marriage equality and so that is what we will do. By renewing our active position, we acknowledge that we are at equal risk of inflaming a new debate but it is the right thing to do. It also remains very important that we continue to recognise and respect the right of the individual to hold their own view on this issue.”

So much for tolerance and respecting the “range of personal views” of the employees, customers, and shareholders of the company! Telstra is ‘stepping forward’ in support of ‘marriage equality’, and the vocal minority – there is only about 2% of Australia’s population identifying as LGBTI – wins out over the legitimate concerns of the Catholic Church (and most other churches too).

Contact Mr Andy Penn and tell him that you believe Australian companies ought to be neutral in this debate and not seek to influence social policy. Contact can be made at https://www.telstra.com.au/contact-us/feedback-complaints.

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Who will stand up for me against evildoers?
Who will take his stand for me against those who do wickedness?
Psalm 94:16

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This monthly release is prepared by Pastor Brian Robertson (P O Box 2367, Bundaberg, 4670) to inform Christian people about issues within our society.  “Action Alert” does not promote any one political party, but encourages its readers to be “salt and light” by speaking out on some of these matters.  The views expressed in “Action Alert” are those of the author and are not necessarily those of a local church or a denominational organisation.  To the extent permissible by law, no church or denomination accepts liability for anything contained in this publication and any use made of it.