Dutton Has Doubled Down On His Marriage Equality Remarks, Says CEOs Are Bullying The Government

Peter Dutton wants CEOs to stop being so mean to the government.

It’s tough being part of the government, don’t you know? No matter how hard you insist you’ve got the country’s best interests at heart, people still insist on calling you a bigot, and a moron, and accusing you of having a head shaped like a potato. Sure, your cushy six figure salary and long list of entitlements helps soothe the pain a little. Even so, words hurt. And Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has had enough.

In a speech on Saturday, Dutton declared that the government “won’t be bullied” by CEOs who have publically called on the Prime Minister to legalise same-sex marriage. The comments are the latest in the senior minister’s escalating war of words with prominent business leaders, which began after more than two dozen company chiefs co-signed a letter to the PM backing marriage equality.

“It is unacceptable that people would use companies and the money of publicly listed companies to throw their weight around,” declared Dutton at the Queensland Liberal National state council meeting in Cairns. “We don’t want multi-billion dollar companies with all their resources weighing into social debates.”

In particular, Dutton singled out Qantas CEO Alan Joyce. “Mr Joyce is an exceptional CEO – he’s a good person and I know him personally – I have no gripe against him,” he said. “But if he has a particular view on any issue it should be expressed as an individual.”

The immigration minister added that CEOs like Joyce should “stick to their knitting.”

A spokesperson for Qantas said that the company would continue to “speak up” on important social issues “from Indigenous reconciliation to gender diversity and marriage equality.”

Dutton’s latest tirade comes on the heels of a similar spray he delivered on 2GB radio on Thursday, in which he accused CEOs of “jamming [their] politically correct views down our throats.”

He also said companies were being “extorted” into supporting marriage equality. Referencing the recent scandal surrounding Coopers Brewery and their weird, ill-fated collaboration with the Bible Society of Australia, Dutton on Saturday said that it was “simply unconscionable” that brands were being “morally coerced into supporting campaigns in fear of being extorted by an online social media push to boycott their product.”

h/t Sydney Morning Herald