Why LGBTI business groups are calling on SMEs to boycott Telstra

Telstra

Business groups representing sexual and gender diverse business owners and employees are calling on small businesses to boycott Telstra in the wake of revelations the telco quietly retreated from a public push for marriage equality after the Catholic Church voiced its displeasure.

The Gay and Lesbian Organisation of Business and Enterprise in Melbourne, which has 300 paid members, is today teaming up with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association and the Brisbane Gay and Lesbian Business Network to call on SMEs to voice their displeasure with Telstra and take their money elsewhere.

Read more: One billion reasons for SMEs to say I do to legalising same-sex marriage

Earlier this week The Australian revealed how Telstra has decided to stop agitating for same-sex marriage after the Catholic Church threatened to withdraw its commercial partnerships.

Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn yesterday confirmed his company will no longer be publicly pushing for marriage equality.

“We recognise there are many varied views and if we are all truly accepting of diversity, there should be room made for all of them,” Penn said in a statement.

“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 David Micallef, president of the Gay and Lesbian Organisation of Business and Enterprise, told SmartCompany a company withdrawing from public debate while still saying it supports marriage equality is simply lip service and not good enough.

“It shows a lack of leadership,” Micallef says.

“It’s a bit rich. If you’re a supporter of the cause, you should be a supporter of it 100% and not waning when one of your customers starts complaining.”

Micallef says it’s “disingenuous” when companies such as Telstra attend events like Mardi Gras and Midsummer to promote themselves, but back away when the going gets tough.

He says if Telstra is serious about supporting marriage equality, it should have done what what Starbucks did in the United States when some shareholders kicked up a fuss over the coffee chain’s marriage equality stance – that is, stand firm and tell them to take their money elsewhere.

“Small businesses should be really thinking about the types of businesses they do business with, and the values they model themselves on,” Micallef says.

Should marriage equality be legalised, small businesses are expected to reap the financial benefits.

SMEs in the wedding industry expect marriage equality to bring in billions of dollars in the long term, fuelling sales and job creation.

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Christine Sutherland
Christine Sutherland
4 years ago

So the Catholic church engages in unethical behaviour (again) in order to try to enforce an unethical “moral” stance. No integrity, no credibility, and deserving of no respect.

Rational Guest
Rational Guest
4 years ago

Just words, Christine. No substance in your comment. Morality isn’t the domain of the LGBTI. All the free thinkers out there are probably thinking “about time the Church did something to back its 2000 year practiced morals”. How is it ethical for the LGBTI to throw their weight around and yet other interest groups can’t?

MMBoers
MMBoers
4 years ago

Chief Executive David Penn? It WAS David Thodey, it is NOW Andrew Penn. Probably the kind of info you want to get right.

Eloise Keating
Eloise Keating
4 years ago
Reply to  MMBoers

Thanks for pointing out this error. We have updated the article. Thanks, Eloise

Steve Palmer
Steve Palmer
4 years ago

Telstra – ‘We want your G&L money so we want to tell everyone we like you’ 😉
Catholic Church – ‘We’ve got more money than them & we’ll talk to someone else’! 🙁
G&L Organisations – ‘If you don’t say you like us we’re going to talk to someone else’! 🙁
Whether they’ve got one or not everyone’s swinging their ….. around.

Rational Guest
Rational Guest
4 years ago

Does anyone else read the article and think, that if it’s OK for the LGBTI fanatics to throw their consumer weight around, then equally its fine for everyone else too? Why should free markets lose their democratic base?

Rohan
Rohan
4 years ago
Reply to  Rational Guest

Because this is nothing more than Social Marxism. Conservatives/Classical Liberals/Libertarians need to understand one thing. This is now a serious issue. If we don’t make a stand to protect everyone’s right to free speech, free thought, freedom of religion and freedom of association, then the Social Marxists will win.

I have no desire to live under a Social Marxist jackboot.

Colin Spencer
Colin Spencer
4 years ago

So what if Telstra retreats to neutral ground on the issue. It is a business, and has no mandate to position itself either way on social issues. Good decision, Telstra. Of course, the LGBTI enthusiasts will take Telstra’s position as a political issue, well, here is another person you can boycott, if it suits you. I don’t care one way or the other either. BUT, if I am forced to take sides because of the LGBTI peoples’ insistence, then I will oppose.

bet
bet
4 years ago

telstra would be better off delivery decent customer service instead of getting involved with none core issue to the business, providing communications to the people who are their customers.

Neil Aitchison
Neil Aitchison
4 years ago

What we are seeing is the “cult” of LGBTIQ2A+ where once you are in, you can never leave – Telstra has been caught out and many other businesses/individuals/politicians are going to get caught out too – it’s the “Hotel California” scenario….”You can check-out any time you like, But you can never leave!”.If you back-track from their support….wow!….are you in for it. There’s no love or tolerance then, just plain hateful, malicious blackmail and bullying. We can now start to see the ugly underbelly of the same sex lobby movement! Persecution of all descriptions will follow over the years. Just like how a man who unfortunately got bashed at Newtown and the same sex people instantly want militant homosexuals to come out of the woodwork?….like “Bash Back” in America?…..they take the law in their own hands with out due process – how do they know that it was an attack based on homosexuality?…..sure, the media reports it as such and most likely the media is wrong (as is usually the case). Talk about politicised, emotional reactions without facts. The attack could have been for a thousand other reasons and it just happened that the recipient is a homosexual. I have already seen malicious attacks occurring as a result of false media reporting and so I know first-hand what the gay activists can do.

Btw, the more you create a “special” activity to help a “different group” of people, the more different they become because they have to have “special” help – it is circular reasoning and works against itself. It creates “perpetual victim-hood”. For example, when I was a child, I remember a group of children leaving out another child from their group (as children do from time-to-time) and so an adult stepped in to help out by telling/suggesting that the group include the other child. This just made the other child look more different from the rest because an adult had to step in to help him (when no adults had to step in for any of the other children), and so the child felt more left out and the the child himself got upset with the adult for exacerbating his situation. The adult thought they were doing something helpful, but just made the problem worse for the child. If the adult had just made a generalisation to ALL the children that they need to be inclusive without identifying any one child or drawing attention to any specific issue, then the group of children would apply the teaching to their circumstances by including the other child…..and the other child wouldn’t feel different from the rest (thereby maintaining his self-respect and normality). So in the case of the “Safe Schools” program, the more that the LGBTIQAPX people get “special” attention, the more different they look. In stead of being a genuine anti-bullying program that teaches anti-bullying across ALL issues, it focuses on one group thereby exacerbating their plight. Talk about a massive back-fire….and it’s not just with “safe Schools”, they look more different and unnatural the more that the same sex lobby group tries to “help” them. There are also gay-only groups that teach people how to have gay relationships, gay sex, etc….so much for homosexuality being “normal/natural” if you have to be taught it….and it is discrimination to make the group a gay-only group (oh….that’s right…..discrimination and abuse only works one way, the heterosexuals have to cop it).