Man who attacked Qantas boss Alan Joyce with pie charged with assault

The man who thrust a pie into Qantas CEO Alan Joyce’s face to protest same-sex marriage has been charged with assault.

Joyce, who is openly gay and an outspoken supporter of same-sex marriage, was speaking on stage in Perth when Tony Overheu, 67, walked up behind him and carried out the attack.

Overheu, a senior figure at his church, has been charged with common assault, trespass and damage after the incident, which happened in front of 500 people and TV cameras.

Pie face tony alan joyce tony overheu

He has also been charged with giving police a false name.

The attacker told Australian TV channel 7 News yesterday that he pied the Qantas chief executive because “Joyce has been very much leading the issue” on marriage equality.

And on radio station 6PR, Overheu explained how he carried out the attack.

“I bought the cake the previous evening, and popped it in my work ute (car) that I own at 6 yesterday morning.”

He described how he “had the cake wrapped up like a birthday present just to make it compact, walked in the front door … (and) waited for a couple of hours until everyone had come in.”

Joyce, 50, understandably exclaimed: “F***ing heck” when Overheu forced the pie into his face shortly after he began speaking at the Leadership Matters conference.

But the Irish-born Australian pledged yesterday that not only would he continue to speak up in support of equal marriage, but he would be even louder and more vociferous about it.

“I have every intention to continue to be vocal on those social and community issues,” he said in an interview on 7 News.

“Certainly, what happened yesterday has reinvigorated me.

“In actual fact, it’s really, really encouraged me to be out there and continue to be out there and express my views even more strongly than I have done in the past.”

Joyce was also attacked earlier this year, by the country’s anti-gay marriage immigration minister Peter Dutton, who said the chief executive should “stick to their knitting”.

But as far as Joyce was concerned, “it is part of my role, it is part of every corporate leader’s role to have a view on social and community issues.

“There is a moral case for doing that.

“Qantas has always spoken up on gender issues, on LGBTI issues, on indigenous issues, and we’ll continue to do so, and no attempt to at bullying us into suppressing our voice will work.”

Earlier this week, the Australian government once again allocated money – in this case $170 million – towards holding a nationwide plebiscite on same-sex marriage.

A clear majority of MPs and Senators are also in favour of same-sex marriage, with the balance shifting decisively in last year’s federal election.

Despite this, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has repeatedly blocked a parliamentary vote on the issue, and has instead focused on attempting to conduct a costly, non-binding public vote.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce

Like many supporters of equal marriage, Joyce came down firmly in opposition to the newly proposed plebiscite.

“It’s very clear in my mind that a plebiscite is a bad idea,” he said, warning that a public vote could poison the national discourse.

“It’s very clear to me that a plebiscite would bring out the worst type of behaviours and bring out the type of situation we saw yesterday, where people’s views aren’t respected, where people’s views aren’t listened to.”

He concluded by saying: “I think this should be the job of Parliament … Parliament should get on and do it.”

Watch the full video of the pie attack below: