ACON must sort out the PID Mark Allaby LMI IBM mess

July 7, 2018

 

ACON says of its Pride Inclusion Programs:

Pride Inclusion Programs are social inclusion initiatives of ACON. ACON was established in 1985 as the AIDS Council of NSW and is now Australia’s largest HIV prevention, HIV support and LGBTI health organisation. An important part of ACON’s mission is to help make the places where our community members live, work, study and play more inclusive of LGBTI people, improving the mental health and wellbeing of our community through the reduction of stigma, discrimination and social exclusion.

Pride in Diversity is one of these programs:

Pride in Diversity is the national not-for-profit employer support program for LGBTI workplace inclusion specialising in HR, organisational change and workplace diversity. Pride in Diversity publishes the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), Australia’s national benchmarking instrument for LGBTI workplace inclusion from which Top Employers for LGBTI people is determined.

Amongst the Pride in Diversity Foundation Members is IBM:

ACON Pride in Diversity Foundation Members.png

Foundation Members

Pride in Diversity, together with ACON, proudly acknowledges the dedication and support from our foundational members who were the early leaders in Australia for recognising and pursuing LGBTI workplace inclusion.

  • Australian Federal Police (AFP)
  • Department of Defence
  • Goldman Sachs
  • IBM
  • KPMG
  • Lend Lease
  • Telstra

Included in the 2017 Principle Partners (Sponsorship) is IBM:

2017 Principal Partners (Sponsorship)

Principal Partners generously support Pride in Diversity over and above membership through sponsorship or substantial support of signature events and/or publications. We sincerely acknowledge and thank our Principal Partners for 2017. Pride in Diversity Principal Partners (via membership) are recognised on the List of Members page.

  • Accenture
  • Deloitte
  • Dell
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Goldman Sachs
  • IBM
  • Lendlease
  • Macquarie Group
  • Out Leadership
  • PwC
  • The Star Entertainment Group
  • The University of Queensland

IBM has declared their “support of the LGBT community”:

IBM - 2017 - Introduced rainbow logo in support of the LGBT community

Mark Allaby is IBM’s Financial Market Expert:

20180707 Mark Allaby IBM Financial Market Expert

As of May 31 2018 the public ASIC register indicated Mark Allaby was still a Director of the Lachlan Macquarie Institute:

20180531 Mark Allaby LMI Director ASIC Register

In March 2017 The Australian reported that Mark Allaby had resigned as a board member of the Lachlan Macquarie Institute, but either that news story was lacking factual accuracy, or LMI had breached their requirements to update ASIC of a change in board membership.

To help understand the ideology of the Lachlan Macquarie Institute, it is helpful to know that it is an initiative of the Australian Christian Lobby.  This is evidenced in the ACL’s July 5 2018 newsletter:

20180705 ACL Newsletter LMI.png

It is also evidenced in the WHOIS record for lmi.org.au, which shows the domain name is currently (and was previously) registered to the Australian Christian Lobby:

Domain Name: LMI.ORG.AU
Registry Domain ID: D407400000000366462-AU
Registrar WHOIS Server:
Registrar URL:
Last Modified:
Registrar Name: TPP Wholesale Pty Ltd
Registrar Abuse Contact Email:
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone:
Reseller Name:
Status: serverRenewProhibited
Registrant Contact ID: C2008705-AU
Registrant Contact Name: John Austin
Registrant Contact Email: natoffice@acl.org.au
Tech Contact ID: C804789-AU
Tech Contact Name: Digerati Solutions
Tech Contact Email: domains@digeratisolutions.com.au
Name Server: NS1.CWS-SERVERS.COM
Name Server: NS2.CWS-SERVERS.COM
Name Server: NS3.CWS-SERVERS.COM
DNSSEC: unsigned
Registrant: AUSTRALIAN CHRISTIAN LOBBY
Eligibility Type: Non-profit Organisation
Eligibility ID: ABN 40075120517

>>> Last update of WHOIS database: 2018-07-07T08:19:45Z <<<

Alongside LMI’s Mark Allaby is Lyle Shelton, also a Director on the board:

20180531 LMI Director Lyle Shelton

Lyle Shelton is the immediate past Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby.  He stepped down from the role, and the organisation’s board, on Feb 2 2018 to pursue a career in politics as a senatorial candidate for the Australian Conservatives.

Martyn Iles, the current ACL Managing Director, also happens to be on the LMI board as Secretary:

20180531 LMI Director Martyn Iles.png

Adding to the litany of anti-LGBTIQ equality personalities on the LMI board is Lyle Shelton’s disgraced ACL predecessor, Jim Wallace:

20180531 LMI Director Jim Wallace

The ACL and Lyle Shelton have a strong record of opposing equal rights for LGBTIQ people and eroding their dignity.  This has been an obsession of Lyle Shelton and the ACL going by an analysis of Lyle’s Twitter output while he was employed by the ACL.

The Lachlan Macquarie Institute board is peppered with people whom many would consider to be the arch enemies of the LGBTIQ community.

Mark Allaby’s presence as a Director of the Lachlan Macquarie Institute, an organisation that in no way distances itself from the hateful and intolerant values of the Australian Christian Lobby, makes it clear that he shares the values of the board members he sits amongst, and of the organisation that enables his board.

LMI claim they “prepare Christian men and women for leadership and public service”:

As a centre for leadership and public service, we offer a range of short and long programmes for people of varying ages and professions. Each programme targets specific areas of public engagement, including public service, policy, politics, law, education, not-for-profit, and church. Programmes combine Scripture, social analysis, Christian apologetics, lawmaking, political science, and philosophy.

It is beyond belief that as an employee of IBM, a foundation member of ACON’s Pride in Diversity program, Mark Allaby shares an iota of his employer’s values when it comes to LGBTIQ inclusion and diversity.

It is beyond belief that Mark Allaby could be considered a role model in providing respect and dignity for his transgender and gender diverse co-workers or clients.

It is beyond belief that Mark Allaby could, with any shred of sincerity, afford respect for his co-workers or clients in same-sex marriages, considering the gargantuan campaign the ACL promoted and funded to oppose the passage of marriage equality.

It is beyond belief that IBM, by employing a person who is a Director of an organisation that prepares people to erode the legal equality of LGBTIQ Australians, could be sincere in its responsibility as a foundation member of ACON’s Pride in Diversity Program.

It is beyond belief that ACON are genuinely committed to “improving the mental health and wellbeing of our community” by keeping IBM as a member of their Pride in Diversity Program while Mark Allaby is simultaneously an employee of IBM and associated with the prominent anti-LGBTIQ-equality Lachlan Macquarie Institute.

ACON needs to sort this mess out, because until they do, their programme will remain a disgrace.

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A welcome apology from the ABC

November 1, 2017

On March 22 this year ABC’s Religion & Ethics Report ran a story The culture war of marriage equality in Australia that alleged my activism around Mark Allaby’s employment at IBM was linked to marriage equality.

On March 26 I documented various inaccuracies in this ABC story in my article Straightening out Professor Iain Benson and followed this up with a complaint to the ABC.

On May 18 the ABC responded to my complaint, which in part advised:

ABC Radio advises that although you were not referred to by name, your activism was one of the issues discussed in the program. In response to your complaint, Radio has acknowledged that listeners would likely have drawn the conclusion that your activism concerning Mark Allaby focussed on the issue of same-sex marriage rather than Pride in Diversity. Radio apologises for this oversight. The following clarification has been published on the program page:

Editor’s Note:
Michael Barnett, one of the key activists behind the campaign around IBM’s Mark Allaby, has contacted the ABC to explain that his activism on this issue was in support of broader issues of LGBT equity in companies, rather than focussing on the specific issue of same sex marriage. The ABC is happy to provide this clarification.
(http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/religionandethicsreport/the-culture-war-of-marriage-equality-in-australia/8376570)

20170518 ABC clarification - Religion & Ethics Report March 22 2017

Further details about my activism on this issue can be found in my September 21 article David Marr, do you fact check?.


Is Marriage Alliance’s CEO Damian Wyld being deceptive?

April 14, 2017

In an open letter published on March 31 2017, Marriage Alliance’s CEO Damian Wyld claims, in the absence of any evidence:

We are alarmed by the news that Mark Allaby has been pressured to stand down from the board of another faith-based institution because of the perception that such board positions are not compatible with employment with companies which have publicly expressed support for changing the definition of marriage.

Contrary to what is expressed by some activists, we do not consider that your company’s expressed commitment to diversity is undermined by allowing all employees, including senior executives, the ability to hold, express and act on their beliefs in relation to marriage.

Two weeks earlier I posted this tweet:

In this tweet (and others) I raised concern about Mark Allaby working for IBM, a pro-LGBTIQ Pride in Diversity member organisation, whilst being a Director on the board of a charity holding a strong anti-LGBTIQ stance.

It’s unclear on what sound basis Damian Wyld brought the issue of marriage into this conversation.  My tweets simply do not mention or allude to marriage.

What my tweets do is raise questions around how a senior employee of a leading pro-LGBTIQ corporation can, with any level of personal integrity, support their employer’s pro-LGBTIQ Diversity Statement, whilst also being on the board of a charitable organisation whose framework is based on a version of Christianity that is fundamentally opposed to LGBTIQ inclusion and equality.

If there is any doubt of the latter, the Lachlan Macquarie Institute is run by the Australian Christian Lobby, an organisation that comprehensively dedicates significant resources to denying dignity and full societal inclusion to same-sex attracted, intersex, and gender diverse Australians.

On the issue of marriage, to date IBM have never issued a public statement declaring support for marriage equality.  IBM’s logo did appear on the Australian Marriage Equality list of declared corporate supporters sometime between February 19 and March 20 this year.  However AME have told me that on the grounds of privacy they will not provide evidence of any correspondence authorising their use of IBM’s logo.  In the absence of any public statement from IBM or AME, it can only be concluded that IBM have privately declared support for marriage equality.

I can confidently state that during my employment at IBM, from October 2005 to February 2015, IBM had explicitly and variously declined to go as far as declaring support for marriage equality.  This was despite IBM being a solid supporter of LGBTIQ visibility and inclusion in the workplace, and being a founding member of Pride in Diversity.  Since February 2015 IBM has not issued a public statement in support of marriage equality.

On March 16 The Daily Telegraph’s Miranda Devine reported IBM’s Managing Director Kerry Purcell co-signed a letter, in his personal capacity, declaring support for marriage equality.  However it’s quite a leap to claim that IBM’s corporate entity declared support for marriage equality simply because their Managing Director declared personal support for it.

So where is Damian Wyld’s evidence to substantiate his claim that IBM “have publicly expressed support for changing the definition of marriage”?

And where is Damian Wyld’s evidence to substantiate his claim that “Mark Allaby has been pressured to stand down from the board of another faith-based institution”.

Further, where is Damian Wyld’s evidence of who pressured Mark Allaby to stand down from the board of the Lachlan Macquarie Institute?

I have certainly never contacted Mark Allaby, and IBM has refused to comment on the topic.

In conclusion, Damian Wyld has distorted my tweets, falsely claimed IBM have made a public statement of support for marriage equality, and claimed, without evidence, that pressure was put on Mark Allaby to stand down from the board of the Lachlan Macquarie Institute, without stating by whom.

It seems that Marriage Alliance CEO Damien Wyld is being deceitful in his open letter.  He has provided no evidence of his claims and it would appear he has distorted and fabricated the truth.


Interview on JOY 94.9 Saturday Magazine

April 11, 2017

On Saturday April 8 2017 I was interviewed by David “Macca” McCarthy on JOY 94.9’s Saturday Magazine regarding my activism and the recent smear campaign by The Australian and other News Corp media outlets.


Apology from ABC The Drum.

March 30, 2017

ABC The Drum have issued an apology and correction in response to this segment that they ran on my activism on March 28 2017:

Full episode here.

Official ABC correction:

Michael Barnett

Posted about an hour ago

The Drum: On 28 March 2017, during a panel discussion on same-sex marriage activism questioning the connections between companies supporting same-sex marriage and organizations opposing it, the program included graphics of three ‘tweets’ from Michael Barnett. These questioned the decision by companies and a university, to employ people who hold anti-LGBTI views. The Drum incorrectly drew a connection between the marriage equality debate, and Mr Barnett’s reference to corporate commitments to Pride and Diversity – a national employer support program which campaigns for LGBTI inclusion.

20170330_ABC_The_Drum_March_28_correction

20170331_The_Drum_March_28_-_iView_correction

Thank you ABC.  Apology accepted.


Straightening out Professor Iain Benson

March 26, 2017

On Wednesday 22 March 2017 ABC Radio National’s Religion and Ethics Report aired “The culture war of marriage equality in Australia”.

Host Andrew West interviewed Iain Benson, Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame.  Prof Benson is also a contributor for the Catholic Weekly.

I thought this interview was both intellectually dishonest and biased.

The interview presented only one side of the story around my raising awareness of a perceived conflict with Lachlan Macquarie Institute Board member and former Australian Christian Lobby board member Mark Allaby, and his current employment at IBM Australia.

Andrew West incorrectly framed the conversation in terms of “same-sex marriage” within the opening four seconds of the story and at 7:56 left unchallenged the insinuation by Prof Benson that my activism was a “witch-hunt” targeting Mark Allaby.

In the intellectual void of Prof Benson’s argument, he makes a range of assumptions, factual errors and omissions.  First off he claims this is about marriage equality.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Not once have I mentioned or implied the words “marriage equality” in relation to Mark Allaby’s association with IBM.  For me, this particular issue is definitely not about marriage equality.

To this day IBM has no on-the-record corporate position on marriage equality, despite their Managing Director Kerry Purcell recently declaring his personal support for it, first reported on March 16, and despite a few media articles circa 2013-15 incorrectly stating so.  As of February 20 IBM’s logo was absent from the Australian Marriage Equality list of corporate supporters, yet it appeared subsequently, and surprisingly without fanfare, sometime around the publication of the CEO letter, but before March 21. As yet there has been no public announcement from IBM or AME substantiating its appearance.

As such, it is not possible for Prof Benson or Andrew West to actually know what IBM’s public corporate position on marriage equality is given it has not yet been communicated officially.

Given that Prof Benson has not actually spoken to me, he could not know my motivation for bringing to public attention Mark Allaby’s simultaneous connection with IBM and the Lachlan Macquarie Institute.

If he had asked me, without jumping to conclusion, I would have told him that for me, this is only about holding IBM to account as a founding member of Pride in Diversity.  I simply sought to question IBM’s rationale for employing to a senior leadership role a person whose personal stance appears to be in direct conflict with IBM’s stated goals as an employer of choice for LGBTIQ people.

How can IBM, in all sincerity, guarantee their same-sex attracted, gender diverse, and intersex employees an unbiased, safe, discrimination-free and fully participative environment in the workplace under the leadership of someone like Mark Allaby?  The Lachlan Macquarie Institute trains future leaders in Christian values that are intolerant of legal equality for LGBTIQ people.  The Australian Christian Lobby actively deploys campaigns and lobbies politicians around issues that include degrading the legal rights and equality of LGBTIQ people. Knowing that such a senior employee currently or previously had significant leadership influence with these sorts of organisations would leave any reasonable person hesitant to openly broach such important topics with them, for fear of not being afforded unconditional acceptance, dignity and respect.

Prof Benson gets it wrong in assuming this specific issue for me is about marriage equality.  The ACL and those aligned with the organisation are undeniably on the record for targeting every initiative that furthers the removal of discrimination against LGBTIQ people.  Examples of relevant ACL campaigns include Safe Schools, same-sex parenting, same-sex adoption, safety for transgender and intersex people, safe-sex awareness, removal of gay-panic laws, religious workplace and faith-based school protections, and equal relationship recognition (including and most notably marriage equality).

Given that I have not mentioned this is about marriage equality, it seems Prof Benson is driving an agenda in making it appear to be about such.  What this is actually about for me is the guaranteed dignity, inclusion and respect of LGBTIQ people and our families, wherever in society, and in whatever form it takes.

Prof Benson alleged that the key activist, namely me, was embarking on a witch-hunt against Mark Allaby.  It is unclear to me how he came to this understanding given the way events unfolded.

Lyle Shelton excoriated me in the ACL’s widely publicised March 14 blog.  The first tweet I sent on this topic was on March 17.  If Prof Benson had researched this issue, he would have known that Lyle Shelton and the ACL went after me three days before I was even aware of Mark Allaby’s employment at IBM.

Lyle Shelton’s blog implied Mark Allaby was forced to step down from the board of the Australian Christian Lobby in March 2016 because of me.  As there is no public statement from either Mark Allaby or PwC on this matter, the reason for him stepping down is entirely speculative.

Lyle Shelton has a significant negative influence in the public sphere.  He is frequently in the mainstream media, with ready access to radio, television, newsprint and online outlets.  His decision to name me personally, an individual activist without the level of access to mainstream media he enjoys, demonstrates an apparently disturbing level of bullying and harassment.

If there is a witch-hunt going on, it is one being spearheaded by Lyle Shelton, and not me.  I had no intention or motivation to review Mark Allaby’s circumstances until Lyle Shelton chose to bring both Mark Allaby’s and my name into public conversation on March 14.

In fact, it is a testament to my integrity as a human rights campaigner and advocate for equality that I did follow-up with IBM on Mark Allaby’s circumstances.  It would be remiss of me to turn my back on any additional perceived conflict.  I would hate to be labelled by Lyle Shelton as being inconsistent.

So really, Prof Benson got it all wrong, and disappointingly Andrew West did not offer me a right of reply, or let Prof Benson’s apparent prejudice go unchallenged.  In the future this ABC presenter should provide a more balanced perspective when interviewing guests with intolerant ideological perspectives on human rights and equality.


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