Folau: What does it all mean?

As the dust settles on the Israel Folau saga, the real question is not whether Israel received $4 million or $8 million. It is not whether Raelene “I’m-A-Great-Leader” Castle keeps her job either.

The real question is this: has any of the effort put in to protect freedom changed anything?

And this is the answer: no. No. NO.

The stone, cold reality is that all the Folau saga has proven is that if you quote from the Bible, you will lose your job.

Because Folau has lost his job.

This reality is best outlined in an article on this controversy by the Sydney Traditionalist Forum:

Given the questions raised by this controversy (freedom of speech, public religious expression, the extent and enforceability of corporate speech codes on private conduct) it should have been an objective of Folau’s backers to have these ventilated in a court of law. Instead, current outcome offers no resolution, no precedent, and in no way has it secured the civil liberties of people who fall out of favour with Acceptable Opinion. The frontlines of the Culture War have moved precisely nowhere.

 Indeed, the fact that Acceptable Opinion on matters relating to sexual morality has not suffered a dent to its hegemony can only be interpreted by the right-minded as a de facto win for the ideological left.

In other words, this is not what victory looks like.

Sure, it’s fun making jokes about Raelene Castle and it seems likely from all the media reporting that Folau has been paid something to disappear.

But so what? This only proves that, if the administration is incompetent and you have a high profile, you might get something to go away. But you will still be exiled.

It’s hardly comfort for the quiet Australians who simply cannot muster anything like the media coverage or support that Israel Folau did.

The reality is that, quite apart from not being a victory, this was also a massive lost opportunity.

I was inspired by Israel Folau’s courage. In fact, I was the very first person to donate to his campaign, although this was by mere coincidence. I just happened to stumble on the Sydney Morning Herald article reporting that his campaign had been set up about 30 seconds after it was published.

And many others were inspired too. Australians sent a river of gold to help him wage this battle. This money flowed because the impression was given that Folau was not just fighting for himself but for all of us. And Folau’s profile meant that this fight would be highly public.

For the first time in a long time, it looked like we had a shot at victory.

With the public support, financial muscle and media spotlight, Folau’s case was an opportunity for those on the side of freedom to actually win an important battle against an incompetent and totalitarian regime.

It was an opportunity to do something that would help all of us into the future.

But that battle has been avoided.

Good luck getting all of those conditions in place again.

Whatever happens post-Folau, you can bet your bottom dollar that the new codes of conducts and contracts that start flying around will make it even harder for the next person caught in the sight of ‘Thought Police’ to defend themselves.

But, you might say, Folau has pointed out that the new Religious Discrimination laws coming our way will help.

Actually, they won’t. On this point Folau is dead wrong.

If those laws were in place, they would have made it easier for Rugby Australia to defend its decision in court to sack Israel Folau. These laws will only make a bad situation worse.

We need these proposed laws like we need a hole in the head. The very fact that these laws will put the protection of Christian Australians in the hands of the anti-discrimination industry should send us all into a cold sweat.

However, given all of this, I still understand the pressure on Israel Folau more than most. I know what it is like to go through the legal wringer. I have been in it since 2013 and will be back in court in February next year.

The decision to settle, with the money on the table, in many ways was a sensible one for Folau personally, although I do believe that his apology was terrible in principle and practice. But, regardless, this settlement does not help the rest of us.

Folau still must face the anti-discrimination industry too given the perpetually offended and serial litigant Garry Burns has now lodged a complaint against him. Folau must fight that complaint and it would be a complete betrayal of all of us if he chose to settle that legal issue too.

I have no idea where this complaint will go. Based on what has been deemed ‘vilification’ in the past, it will not be an easy fight for Folau to win. However, to be honest, I would not be surprised if the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board ‘manages’ to decide, for once, that Burns’ latest complaint is, cough, vexatious.

After all, it comes just days after he launched a fundraiser to stave off bankruptcy resulting from his failed High Court challenge against me.

Plus the Anti-Discrimination Board does its best work when it picks on the fringes: the brain-damaged, the insane and the outcasts. It probably doesn’t have the bravery to bear the scrutiny that Burns’ complaint against Folau will bring.

That I could hold as possible two completely different outcomes in this matter merely demonstrates the flaws of this entire area of law. It is chaotic, political, arbitrary and subject to the whims of those in positions of power. There is no principle in it at all.

If the complaint does go ahead, I would not be surprised either to see the ‘unbiased’ Kate Eastman representing Burns. After all, she has represented him previously in cases which have revolved around argument about the content of the Bible.

And who is she? Why, she’s just one of the Rugby Australia tribunal members that found Folau ‘guilty’. Her bias and role in this process should have been raised in court.

But it wasn’t. And now the irony is that, even if Kate Eastman doesn’t appear for Burns, her previous work is still likely to be used in his complaint against Folau.

That is another massive missed opportunity which may come back to bite Folau hard.

Finally, I cannot but lament the lost opportunity that my legal action against the Chief of Defence Force has become.

Like Folau, I was sacked for offending the LGBT mafia for comments that I made in my own spare time and in my own private capacity.

Unlike Folau, however, every ‘workplace’ investigation into my private behaviour found in my favour (and there were 14 of them, all brought against me following complaints or lobbying from gay and transgender activists inside Defence).

On top of that, Defence even had to fork out $25,000 to my father along the way for the abuse he copped from the most senior transgender officer in the military (Defence refused to investigate my complaint about this matter).

Despite all of this, I was still sacked. And my termination notice admitted that I was a high performing officer but, you know, diversity yada yada.

I fought my termination in the courts with almost no institutional support (you might want to ask certain organisations why that is) and with very little media attention. Despite all the odds, I won the first case. This only occurred because ordinary Australians rallied to help me.

Unfortunately, Defence won on appeal. For legal reasons, I cannot state publicly my full views on this decision. However that decision has been heavily criticised in academia, legal commentary and even in the media.

But that is cold comfort to me and it should be cold comfort for all Australians. Now we must all live with a precedent that it is legally permissible to sack someone, even if they have done nothing wrong, because of their private views.

My great regret about this case is not so much that we lost. It is that I have no doubt that we would have won if there was institutional support and a willingness by the ‘mainstream’ conservative organisations to back the fight in 2014.

Sixty-odd investigations and court cases later, I still remain enmeshed in litigation for my views on marriage, family and morality without institutional support.

This is the reality for ordinary Australians caught up in situations like Folau’s. There’s no cameras. There’s no support network. There’s no fanfare. You are left to fight by yourself, pay by yourself and in the hope that your family will be able to manage the stress, anguish and pain.

Indeed, I am one of the lucky ones. I have somehow managed to build a much wider support network of ordinary Australians and I am extremely grateful to each one of you who reads this, prays for me and contributes to the fight. Most other people do not even have this to help them through.

Now Defence is pursuing me for almost $750,000 in legal costs. It has already spent almost $30,000 just preparing its costs claims against me when it knows that it can’t wring much more than $1,500 out of me.

Everything I owned has already been consumed in this battle.

As taxpayers, you should all be outraged that the Chief of Defence Force is so wantonly and maliciously wasting your money for absolutely no purpose at all.

I suppose it’s small change for a large organisation – especially when it is funded by you and me – but it highlights exactly how difficult it is for ordinary Australians to build the firepower that they need to defend themselves.

Israel Folau had the chance to do something really great for Australia. But he didn’t seize the moment.

For once, all the elements for a successful fight were in place. But that firepower has not been used. Instead, it is now being de-stockpiled.

And that means we are all now relying on some unknown little person to have the courage to fight a harder battle sometime in the future. And then, somehow, to win it.

We are looking for a miracle. Like I said, this is not what victory looks like…

Author: Bernard Gaynor

Bernard Gaynor is a married father of nine children. He has a background in military intelligence, Arabic language and culture and is an outspoken advocate of conservative and family values.

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  1. Our Defence Force are doing God’s work

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  2. Bernard I grieve for you and thank you for your strong stance and the inspiration you have been.I too am concerned that there has not been greater response from Christian bodies. What has happened to you is grossly unfair and should never have happened in Australia.

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  3. Many have been asking if ACL has been helping.

    I have recently spoken with the ACL and am hopeful that there may be opportunities for the ACL to assist.

    I must also thank Lyle Shelton – who I have got to know over recent years – for his support and friendship.

    He copped a lot of abuse to write this article about my situation and I am inspired by the courage he has shown to write this:

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    • Every time I read your emails loaded with info I can’t believe that no one, organisation, government and or media outlet taken up your cause/situation.
      The left and godless places like the general media choose to ignore the truth. Why isn’t PETA Credlin, Andrew Bolt, The Kenny Report, Alan Jones, Ryan Dean, Paul Murray and conservative Government ministers taking this on. Also taking on The Human Rights Commission, Kate Eastman and Gary Burns.

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  4. It may be possible that Israel Folau was following biblical principles in some way with settling. Somewhere in the Old Testament a king is advised to try negotiations while the other king’s invading army is still a long way off from actually engaging in battle.

    Is the reluctance for the ACL to help a Catholic/Protestant thing with the Protestant driven ACL unwilling to support a serious Catholic like yourself?

    It may be worth asking how many Catholics have the ACL (or the Human Rights Law Alliance) previously assisted and under what circumstances.

    Would it be useful to find out whoever is bankrolling Cardinal Pell’s considerable legal costs (they could possibly be approached indirectly through contacting Cardinal Pell’s legal team) and see if they will help?

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  5. Well, I’m disappointed with Folau. I see him as a traitor to the faith. The ACL needs to get off the fence & support you Bernard.

    I haven’t given ACL a red cent as I’ve not seen or aware of what they’ve done for anyone. It’s difficult if there’re rats in the ranks.

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  6. Exactly.
    Folau and castle settled behind closed doors and it cost him “nothing”. I call it a betrayal to those who supported his case. Even if the case had to go to the high court, I am sure the funds would have kept coming for him. Martyn Iles sent a media release saying it was a win.
    This should have been the landmark case in free speech, now the Wafen can continue their reign of terror.

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  7. Bernard, have you had any progress with the ACL assisting with funding? I sent 2 emails following a donation to Falou and was assured the ACL was in discussions with you. All followers who also donate to ACL should be concerned if they are not willing to support your legal challenges but were so quick to support a very wealthy Falou and accept the benefits of the vast media coverage. I have not seen anywhere where Falou/ACL has committed to using the excess fund raised for the good of free speech and this concerns me greatly.

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    • Thanks Sean.

      I am waiting for a decision from the Human Rights Law Alliance. The ACL itself is not interested although I suppose the more correct response would be that I have been in discussions with the ACL for help since around 2014 and it’s still making up its mind…

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      • Thanks for the rely Bernard, now seems like a good time for me and any others to send follow up emails to the ACL now they have been ‘victorious’ by proxy.

    • 1 Timothy 5-8
      Those who do not support fellow believers area lower than a infidel

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  8. Bernard, I have been following your posts for some years now. I am saddened in the extreme to hear what our society is doing to you and your family. My heart grieves, the Holy Spirit grieves that man’s inhumanity to his fellow man is perpetrated with impunity in high places here in Australia, without a countering force to stop the flow. I remember when you ran for parliament: Cory Barnardi and Australian Conservatives, Lyle Shelton, Kirralee Smith. They must be aware of the continuing flagellation of Bernard Gaynor. Where are they? And where are the media warriors for conservatism? Alan Jones, Peta Credlin, and the like. they can bring to the public cases such as yours, as they have done for Israel and others. Where are they on your issue with this vindictive abuse of power against you. Where is our Conservative Government with many Christians in leading positions? May the Lord protect you and your family, and may you continue to go forth in his power and strength.

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    • Kirralie Smith has always been a public supporter and I am immensely grateful for that and her friendship.

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  9. Well said.
    I urge conservative peak bodies to consider the wider ramifications of your litigation war and to support you financially.
    I too am embroiled in a long winded civil case that could be described as law fare and based on malice /vengeance.
    Not a pleasant experience and there is no easy way to bail out.
    The long term solution would have to include law reform so that serial / unethical litigants cannot highjack the legal system to pursue personal vendettas.

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  10. Bernard, I despair for you and Australia – but I am truly grateful for your courage and integrity in continuing to fight this present darkness. With you I am sorely disappointed that Israel Folau did not insist on going to court. As you say, we lost a “best chance” to get a legal precedent for our defense. Praying for you and family and this great Southland.

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    • I do not wish to be overly critical of Folau. These issues are always difficult and those involved also know far more about all the factors than observers. But it is still a missed opportunity. Thanks for your kind words. And prayers!

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  11. Spot on Bernard
    Looks like we will all lose our democratic right of freedom of thought and speech.
    The gay brigades are showing their true colours…spitefulness

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  12. When you insult and degrade your clients in the private sector you loose your job. Snowflake Israel got what he deserved.

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    • Can you give an example of where Izzy Folau insulted or degraded anyone? While Izzy Folau is no snowflake, your comment clearly betrays your ignorance.

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    • What about the “snowflake” homosexual lobby?

      They don’t just want the equality they have already got, they demand (and get) superiority.

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      • Exactly – 100% agree

  13. Why is Burns not classed as a serial litigant.

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    • The question that no one can or will answer is, how can you be offended by something you don’t believe is true?

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