Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce AC, has been announced as a co-patron of ACON’s national not-for-profit program for LGBTI workplace inclusion, Pride in Diversity. Mr Joyce will share the position with recently appointed patron and Chief Executive of the Business Council of Australia, Jennifer Westacott.
Mr Joyce will take over from former High Court Justice and founding Patron, the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, who has announced he will be stepping down from his role after eight years.
A vocal advocate during 2017’s push to legalise marriage equality in Australia, Mr Joyce is a longstanding advocate for greater social inclusion and equality. He was named a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in the Queen’s Birthday 2017 Honours List for his contributions to gender equity, inclusion and diversity, and a supporter of Indigenous education, as well as for his contribution to tourism and aviation.
In welcoming Mr Joyce, ACON President Dr Justin Koonin said that he brings a wealth of experience in leadership and advocacy from the corporate sector, and his appointment as co-patron of Pride in Diversity will bring new energy to the program’s ongoing efforts in advancing LGBTI inclusion.
“Even with the successful passage of marriage equality legislation in 2017, there is still a tremendous amount of work to do, and it is important that in all aspects of Australian life we have outstanding leaders, advocates and allies – including of course within Australia’s major business, governmental and educational institutions,” Dr Koonin said.
“Alan’s appointment will go a great way in providing additional understanding and expertise to Pride In Diversity, complementing the current strong leadership team and staff. As a business leader and prominent champion for diversity, his involvement will galvanise support for a more inclusive environment for Australian business.”
Speaking on his appointment, Mr Joyce said: “I’m honoured to be part of ACON’s efforts to create workplaces where LGBTI Australians feel confident to be themselves. Companies have so much to gain when employees bring their whole selves to their job, but I’ve heard too many stories from people who feel they have to devote a lot of energy to hiding a big part of their identity. The marriage equality result shows us that Australia really does believe in a fair go for all, so we need to take that message to more parts of the community. I look forward to continuing Michael’s fantastic advocacy over the past eight years and working with Jennifer to help organisations wanting to create a welcoming, diverse environment.”
Reflecting on his legacy as Pride In Diversity’s founding Patron and the program’s growth over eight years, Mr Kirby said that the time was right for him to step down and that the stewardship offered by Mr Joyce and Ms Westacott will assure the program’s continued success.
“I was delighted to be appointed the inaugural patron for the Pride in Diversity program in February 2010, and have been very pleased with the progress that the program has made to date. Although I am ever-youthful, I feel it is time for me to hand over to new, even younger patrons to contribute new ideas in a time of great change,” Mr Kirby said.
“The ever growing success of the outreach to business, sporting and general community is most heartening. It is part of the explanation for the changing attitudes of Australians of all walks of life towards LGBTIQ equality and justice. In cities, regional, remote and rural Australia, things are changing. As patron, I have always urged the need to be concerned, beyond Australia, with our neighbours, our region and the world.
“As Patron for the last eight years, I feel it is now time for me to stand down. It is time for others to contribute their skills, knowledge and wisdom to the ongoing work of Pride in Diversity. I am delighted to have been involved in the appointment of two of our most accomplished captains of industry Jennifer Westacott and Alan Joyce. I will continue to take interest in Pride in Diversity, offer my views and attend their parties.
“I wish to both congratulate and thank both Jennifer and Alan for their leadership, their wisdom and their commitment to this program and wish them every success as new Patrons of Pride in Diversity.”
Dawn Hough, Director of ACON’s Pride Inclusion Programs, said: “It is a privilege for me to welcome Alan Joyce as co-patron of Pride in Diversity. While Mr. Kirby has left some big shoes to fill, I believe we, and indeed all of our programs will benefit greatly from the added capabilities Mr Joyce will bring.”