Todd Sears speaks to BuzzFeed Australia on Telstra controversy

In advance of Out Leadership’s inaugural LGBTI business summit in Australia, OL Founder & Principal Todd Sears was featured in a BuzzFeed News article exploring the significance and motivations behind corporate action on LGBTI rights issues.  

In regards to a number of changes in position the Australian telecoms giant Telstra recently made regarding marriage equality, Sears told the publication, “some of the best companies for LGBT employees and equality were companies that made major mistakes. It’s very easy from an LGBT activist perspective to criticise Telstra, say ‘how dare you.’  [But] they were listening to a key client when they made the first decision, and they were listening to a bigger constituency when they flipped it.”

In April, after in 2015 signing on in support of marriage equality, Telstra announced that it would no longer take an active part in the public debate around the issue.  It was reported that the group had been pressured by the Catholic Church, a major institutional client, to withdraw support.  Following significant media coverage and widespread outcry among the Australian public, however, Telstra made another announcement confirming its support for marriage equality and promising to be involved in the campaign.  Sears noted that while it’s been a bad month for Telstra, “if they’re smart, they’re going to be way out in front from now on, because they have to be.”

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