Senator The Honourable Penny Wong, the Leader of the Opposition in the Australian Senate and formerly the first openly lesbian Australian cabinet minister, participated yesterday in a roundtable discussion with senior LGBT and business leaders convened by Out Leadership and hosted by Lee Schreter, Chairperson of Littler and Member of Out Leadership’s Leadership Committee.
Attendees included a number of leading LGBT and ally business executives and senior lawyers, as well as several individuals who have successfully led campaigns to expand LGBT freedoms: Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry, Brian Ellner of New Yorkers for Marriage Equality (EVP, Group Head for Public Affairs, Edelman), and Zach Wahls of Scouts for Equality.
Attendees also included:
- Patsy Doerr, Global Head of Corporate Responsibility & Inclusion, Thomson Reuters, and Leadership Committee Member
- Edward (“Ted”) Jacobs, Partner, BakerHostetler, and Leadership Committee Member
- Matt Morningstar, Executive Director & Counsel, Morgan Stanley
- Paul Wood, Chief Risk & Compliance Officer, Bloomberg LP, and Leadership Committee Member
Senator Wong shared details and insights from the Australian marriage equality debate, and the conversation included a detailed discussion of the ways in which Australia’s parliamentary process and decision-making structure has stymied efforts to secure marriage despite the fact that a significant majority of Australians support it.
Attendees discussed the role that business can and should play in helping to support marriage equality, brainstormed ways to replicate strategies that were successful in the US, and pledged support to Senator Wong’s efforts to drive equality forward in Australia. Australian organizations still have the opportunity to communicate the relevance of marriage equality to business audiences, and participants came away from the dialogue invested in helping them do so.
Senator Wong’s visit to America comes just a few weeks before Out Leadership Principal Todd Sears will visit Sydney to speak at the Pride in Practice conference. Australian Marriage Equality National Convener Rodney Croome will speak at an Out Leadership event in Hong Kong on December 7th.