Qantas CEO calls on Australia to follow Ireland's lead on same-sex marriage

Dubliner Alan Joyce says "it's a pity that Australia is so far behind the rest of the world"

Qantas CEO calls on Australia to follow Ireland's lead on same-sex marriage

(Twitter/Leo Varadkar)

Alan Joyce, the Irish-born CEO of Qantas Airways, has praised Ireland's 'Yes' to same-sex marriage and called on Australia to follow suit.

The Dubliner was speaking to Down to Business about his career to date and his time heading up the world-famous Australian airline. 

In a wide-ranging interview, Joyce - who is openly gay and has citizenship in both Ireland and Australia - also gave his thoughts on the positive result in last May's referendum, saying that he was "extremely proud" of the positive outcome.

Joyce said: 

"It got great coverage in Australia and a lot of people were paying attention to it. And the civilised way in which the campaign was done here in Ireland... The way the debate occurred... I think the whole world looked at how Ireland has changed".

Joyce recalled how homosexuality was only recently decriminalised when he left Ireland in 1996.

"To see that change in 20 years to be the first country in the world to have it [same-sex marriage] in a referendum is absolutely phenomenal".

He also offered some criticism of his adopted home:

"We have a lot to learn in Australia, because while we were the second country in the world to give women the vote, we haven't legalised same-sex marriage in Australia.

"There's talk of a plebiscite next year. We're looking to the Irish way of how they've managed the campaign here.

"If the plebiscite happens, we hope to learn from this campaign and have a successful outcome like the Irish campaign had, because I think it would be a phenomenal for our country. And it's a pity that Australia is so far behind the rest of the world".

You can listen to the full interview, which takes in everything from the current state of the Irish economy ("it's great to see the turnaround now happening") to dealing with volcanic ash and engine explosions at the world's safest airline, right here...