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Telstra's CEO Has Backflipped On His Half Flip On Marriage Equality

"It is clear that rather than Telstra stepping back we should in fact step forward."

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Australia's biggest telecommunications company has again changed its position on marriage equality, saying it will now actively support the change in the public arena.

Last week it emerged Telstra had caved-in to Catholic church lobbying and would stop lobbying for marriage equality because of a possible national vote on the issue.

"Given this we have no further plans to be active in the debate," a Telstra spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.

It kicked off furious debate with customers lodging their disgust online and many saying they'd change their service to a competitior which supported marriage equality.

Hey @Optus and @VodafoneAU, you guys are more forthcoming with gay rights, yeah? I think I want to leave @Telstra

There has been significant debate and commentary recently regarding Telstra's position on marriage equality and we would like to address a number of concerns and misunderstandings.Telstra supports diversity and inclusion. We have long advocated and often pioneered the fostering of a more supportive, diverse workplace in this country.Telstra supports marriage equality. Last week we advised that out of respect for the individual our view had been that we would not add further to the debate on marriage equality ahead of a plebiscite or parliamentary debate. It is clear that rather than Telstra stepping back we should in fact step forward and support our view for marriage equality and so that is what we will do.By renewing our active position, we acknowledge that we are at equal risk of inflaming a new debate but it is the right thing to do. It also remains very important that we continue to recognise and respect the right of the individual to hold their own view on this issue.

If the government is returned at the coming election it has promised a national vote on marriage equality before the end of the year.

BuzzFeed News has contacted the Sydney Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney for comment on Telstra's apparent about-face.

Mark Di Stefano is a Media and Politics Reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Mark Di Stefano at mark.distefano@buzzfeed.com.

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