Sep 08


The Australian airline, Qantas, has made arrangements with the United Arab Emirates airline, Emirates, to form a partnership for the next ten years.  On the surface that sounds fine I guess.  I don’t know how airlines function, nor do I know the importance of such strategic alliances, I’m sure somewhere it’s about making money.

We know that Qantas’ CEO is one Alan Joyce.  Joyce has been in a relationship with another man, his partner since 1999.  That’s great to hear.

Emirates is owed wholly by the Government of Dubai, and that Government forms part of the United Arab Emirates.

In the UAE you can only legally have sex inside a marriage between a man and a woman, punishment for having sex outside marriage (so that’s unmarried hetero and homo sex) ranges from prison time to the death penalty.  The anti-gay laws, some of which were introduced by the British during the colonial period are still vigorously enforced. However, in some cases, the police have been turning a blind eye to such behaviour as long as it is discreet1.

Let’s hope that Joyce is discreet if he should ever visit the UAE.

Now I’m left wondering just how I feel about Qantas and their business relationships with a government that potentially kills people just like me because of their sexuality.

It doesn’t feel right.

It’s a quandary to be caught between ethical and business decisions.  It becomes ok to turn a blind eye to all sorts of things because it may be outside our control, or in this case, it seems that the airlines are so far removed from government that it simply doesn’t matter.

That doesn’t stop me from going… ummm… really?  The CEO of Qantas, a gay man living in a democratic nation that is diverse, has lined his airline up with an airline owned by a regime in the middle east that kills gay people.

How does this line up with Qantas’ diveristy policy?

Recruitment and selection is based on merit, and when making hiring decisions managers are encouraged to not only comply with Equal Employment Opportunity and anti-discrimination requirements, but also to bolster a diverse workplace culture when selecting from the pool of qualified candidates.

I’ve long thought the best way to deal with organisation that make ethically bankrupt decisions is not to use them.  It would seem that making money is more important to Qantas and Joyce than protecting the human rights of people who are gay.
Money always trumps ethics.  How sad.
  1. Wikipedia – LGBT Rights in the UAE
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