Qantas's Joyce Donates A$1 Million to Gay Marriage Cause

  • CEO’s personal contribution equates to half his base salary
  • Donation said to be largest individual ‘Yes’ campaign pledge

Alan Joyce

Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

Qantas Airways Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce personally donated A$1 million ($800,000) to a campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in Australia, according to a person familiar with the matter. 

A nationwide postal ballot started this week to canvas the level of support for same-sex unions in Australia, which lags countries including the U.S., New Zealand and U.K. on the issue. The pledge from Joyce, who is openly gay, comes as major corporations including Qantas and Commonwealth Bank of Australia back marriage equality.

The donation, equivalent to half Joyce’s base salary, is the largest individual contribution to the “Yes” campaign, according to the Australian Financial Review, which reported the pledge earlier Wednesday. Through a Qantas spokesman, Joyce declined to comment.

Read more: How the marriage equality vote is dividing Australia

Joyce has previously said he’s disappointed that lawmakers haven’t already decided the issue. While opinion polls have long shown the majority of Australians support marriage equality, previous efforts to change the law have been stymied by conservatives in parliament.

“I personally will be donating money to the campaign, a significant amount, because I’m passionate about it,” Joyce told reporters last month as he released the airline’s annual results. “I’ll be spending as much time as the campaign wants me to speak about the cause. Companies and business leaders should be out there on social issues.”

Packaging billionaire Anthony Pratt and AGL Energy Ltd. CEO Andy Vesey are among other executives to express their support for gay marriage, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Wednesday.

Joyce’s base pay was A$2.1 million in the year ended June 2016. His total compensation, including stock, was A$13 million after a rally in Qantas shares, the airline’s annual report shows.

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