As Home Affairs Minister, you’d assume Peter Dutton had a lot on his plate. You’d assume that matters of national security, counter-terrorism, immigration and border protection would be consuming his every thought and action. You’d assume he’d be doing his job.
But, nope. Nuh uh. Not even close.
This week, Peter Dutton’s primary bugbear is the so-called “PC agenda” of the Australian business community. So much so, that he’s called for an immediate crackdown.
Speaking at a legal conference on Saturday, the Minister condemned the rise of such activity, claiming that big businesses were beginning to adopt the agenda of radical activists.
“They are participating in social and political debates that have absolutely nothing to do with their stated purpose,” he proclaimed to attendees.
“These companies are using company funds and brand equity to pursue pet political and social causes. Some businesses are now acting in the interests of special-interest activist groups.
“The interests of shareholders are becoming secondary considerations, if they are being considered at all,” the Minister added.
Dutton’s rebuke of such “pet” political and social pursuits was triggered by a recently reported consideration by the ASX to update its corporate governance principles. The new principles would include policies that take account of gender identity and cultural background while avoiding “aggressive tax minimisation” and acting in a “socially responsible manner”.
But apparently, social responsibility isn’t an easy pill for all to swallow.
According to Dutton, a prime example of PC madness was shown in QUT’s recent decision to divest from fossil fuels, with the Minister claiming the university has “buckled under pressure from protest groups”. (Never mind recent reports that show renewable energy sources are now not only better for the environment but also cheaper than coal.)
Qantas was also singled out for supposedly stifling free speech during the debate on same sex marriage.
“Regardless of your view on that topic, this was a multi-million-dollar publicly listed company throwing its weight behind one side of a debate it had no business getting into,” Dutton said.
“We constantly see pressure heaped on businesses to observe all manner of left-wing ideological fetishes.”
“The difficulty is that many of these companies have now withdrawn completely from any discussion about economic or industrial relations policy. No company is out there at the moment flying the flag on business tax cuts, very few companies are talking about the need for industrial relations reform and it is not good for public debate,” he added.
“Economic reform becomes much harder if the government is left as a lone voice in any argument.”
The hypocrisy of Dutton’s claims of course, are truly mind-blowing.
In the same breath he reprimands big business for leftwing “ideological fetishes”, he pushes a flagrant political agenda. One that forsakes long-term economic growth for short-term fiscal gains. One that favours the insular, prehistoric and harmful views of a privileged minority over the majority of informed and aware Australians.
And with a government with no moral fibre, in constant disarray, and with men like Peter Dutton at the helm, are we really supposed to criticise business for sticking its nose out on social advocacy?
Nope. Nuh uh. Not even close.