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Israel Folau – what’s going to happen next?

The horrible mess which is the Rugby Australia / Israel Folau matter keeps taking more interesting turns.

Alan Jones in his column on 21 June 2019 said “Well, I can assure you Israel is not about the money. He is about the principle.” Apparently Alan’s column was written prior to the announcement that Israel has launched his “GoFundMe” page reputedly to raise $3 million to help his legal fight against Rugby Australia.

According to Folau “That made me realise I am not fighting for my future and my family; I am fighting for what is right but I can’t do it alone.”

Folau for his part believes that this is a matter of freedom of religion and Rugby Australia for its part believes that this is about the laws of employment.

Ultimately, unless the matter is settled, the courts will determine who is right.

Given the profile of this case a huge percentage of Australians will have formed a view as to whose side they are on. Alan Jones and his many inches of column space in each Friday’s Australian clearly is on the side of Folau.

I was most interested to see whether the decision of Folau to seek to raise $3 million would be supported by Australians, whether Australians would demonstrate their support of his position by getting behind him and putting their money where their mouth is, contribute to his fund or whether this would go down poorly with Australians and they refuse to contribute funds. I was indeed fascinated to watch the next moves.

Next move was Folau raises over $700,000 on GoFundMe.

Next move was that GoFundMe has closed the site and says it will refund the money.

Next move GoFundMe is being criticised for taking down the site by Folau supporters and his opponents.

Next move Australian Christian Lobby launches new fundraising page and donated $100,000 themselves.

Next move Folau’s wife, Maria, is dragged into the matter after comments by ANZ Bank, major sponsor of Netball New Zealand. Netball New Zealand and Netball South Australia support Maria and confirm she had not breached their policies.

Whose move is it next?

It seemed to me the GoFundMe appeal was a not a good move if he wanted widespread public support, but clearly he has a lot of support given his fundraising is now in excess of $1,650,000.

Watch this space.

"The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication."