PETER Dutton wants to have a "respectful debate” on same-sex marriage but says businesses are "terrified” of politically correct activists.
In another swipe at corporate leaders calling for the Prime Minister to introduce same-sex marriage laws, the Immigration Minister says it's a "big problem” for Australia if people are too afraid to speak out for fear of the greens groups launching a campaign against them.
Speaking to 2GB radio again this morning, Mr Dutton said Australians were "sick of the political correctness”.
"We need to have the ability for both sides to be heard,” Mr Dutton said.
"We're in a politically correct age it seems, which I can't tolerate and I think a lot of Australians are of the same view.
"I just want people to have a respectful debate and particularly in relation to marriage equality.”
Mr Dutton told host Ray Hadley the Prime Minister had done the "honourable thing” by sticking to the policy, taken to the election, to hold a plebiscite on same-sex marriage laws.
His comments come after he first attacked reports yesterday that 20 business leaders, including the chiefs of Telstra, Optus, Qantas, Apple, Amex and Holden, were writing to the Prime Minister to encourage him to introducing marriage equality laws.
"We urge you to legislate for marriage equality so the Government can get on with its core economic agenda,” the corporate giants have said in their letter.
The group says marriage equality would be beneficial for employees, customers, Australia's global reputation and for business.
"In the globally competitive marketplace, customers are becoming more discerning and are selecting products and services from companies that better represent their values,” the letter reads.
They also argue marriage equality would help Australia attract international talent and foreign investment.
"Equality and diversity are strategic business issues,” it reads.
"It has been well demonstrated that businesses that embrace workplace diversity and inclusion are more innovative and outperform in organisational effectiveness and profitability.
"Corporate social responsibility is becoming a critical factor to a growing number of global investors and the capital markets.”
It comes as South Australian brewer Coopers was this week forced into making a statement of their position on same sex marriage after a backlash online and threats to boycott their beer.
"These business leaders take it upon themselves to prioritise what is a moral issue and an issue that is rightly discussed by elected leaders, by people in their private capacity, and by people like yourself (Ray),” he said.
"None of these business leaders are out there talking about the need for changes to the tax system, supporting the government's cuts to company tax, so they can employ more apprentices, more young Australians, they're offshoring their call centres.
"These are the priorities that I think Australians would expect them to work on.”
Mr Dutton said he suspected some of the business chiefs were among the groups concerned their business would be impacted if they risked going against the agenda of groups such as GetUp!
"This is a big problem for our country, if you have people who are afraid to speak out, who are afraid to remain neutral, and I suspect some of these business leaders are in that category,” he said.
Mr Dutton also called on Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs to explain why she was speaking at an event run by former Greens leader Bob Brown.
"I think this quaint of old view holds that if you're in that position you don't partake of political activity,” he said.
"Ms Triggs needs to explain today.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told 3AW radio host Neil Mitchell the corporate giants should lobby Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to support a plebiscite.
"We have a commitment on a plebiscite, which we took to the election,” he said.
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