What really saved Israel Folau

You all remember the story.

Israel Folau got sacked by Rugby Australia.

Then the Australian Christian Lobby raised $2.1 million in a couple of days and shortly thereafter there was a large settlement and Izzy went off to chase a football in France on a salary most of us could only dream about.

It was a win for the good guys. Or so it was reported.

The haters were all upset, Raelene Castle shuffled off someplace else and conservative Australia generally celebrated a job well done.

But with the benefit of hindsight it’s now clear that all is not as rosy as it seemed.

Firstly, although conservative Australia muscled up for a fight, it absolutely did not get bang for buck.

And, secondly, the real effort to save Folau has not been recognised in the main and this whole shebang came very close to ending in calamity.

The bad guys know it and they will learn from it.

In the end, and without any flattery because it is the truth, it was the readers of this website who did all of the hard yards. You – yes you – were all that prevented the smallish individual ‘win’ that was salvaged for Israel Folau from becoming an utter disaster for the rest of us.

Let’s start with the first point.

When it looked like Folau was gonna head to court to defend his right to express his views, more Australians than you could poke a stick at jumped on board.

They did it for a simple reason: they thought Folau would fight for freedom and that it was in all of our interests to help him win.

I was one of those people.

In fact, as it turns out, I was the very first to donate. A princely sum of $100.

This was pure chance.

I just happened to come across the hit-piece published in the Sydney Morning Herald about Folau’s fundraiser within moments of it going online. So I sauntered over to GoFundMe (before it eventually shut down the fundraiser) and donated.

And so did many, many others.

There are a few lessons for the bad guys to take from this.

The bad guys learnt that criticising conservative fundraisers is not a good idea. It just brings them to the attention of the wrong people: ordinary Australians. So they won’t mention them at all in the future. As a result, we may never get this chance again.

The bad guys also learnt that there is far more popular support for freedom out there in the suburbs than they expected. It probably scared the hell out of them.

So they will do everything they can to ensure that the suburbs don’t hear about these stories now until they are all properly done and dusted. Then they’ll parade the guilty bastard around for a ritual, public humiliation.

They also learnt that they can almost turn the money flow off.

Apparently it’s wrong to discriminate in the provision of goods and services anywhere (especially when it comes to cakes) except when it comes to conservative crowdfunding. GoFundMe and the like can discriminate against Christians and conservatives to their heart’s content without facing a single consequence.

The good guys should have also learnt some lessons from this but I’m not so sure that we have.

For a start, we need an organisation with the infrastructure, hardware and software to fundraise and operate independently.

We’ve all learnt in recent times that it’s pretty simple for billion dollar social media sites to be shut down with a flick of a switch. We now need to do something about it.

It’s also apparent that a lot of Australians are deeply troubled about where we’re headed.

And it’s crystal clear that they will dig deep to do something about it if it looks like a fight is brewing.

But this power has just not been harnessed.

Kudos must go to the Australian Christian Lobby for stepping in to start the second fundraiser for Israel Folau. But it’s just stopped since then even though God only knows how many other little Israel Folaus are kicking around the courts.

They don’t have the media. They don’t have the finances. And, as a result, they are pretty much left on their own when they could be supported (as an aside, readers of this webpage are helping Victorian grandmother, Tess Corbett, and John Sunol who suffers from brain-damage in relation to various anti-discrimination issues and I’m aware of others who need help as well).

And Australians would support them because they know this: every time a little Israel Folau loses we all lose too.

We are in this together. We just aren’t really doing anything about it yet.

I don’t have the capacity to do more at the moment and those who have demonstrated the capacity, for whatever reason, have just stopped. I do know some work is being done on this front but it is a slow process. Let’s pray it succeeds.

And then there’s the outcome of the Israel Folau dollar-a-thon.

Izzy got a pay out. Good for him.

But we donated to help him win a fight for the rest of us. On that front, the entire effort was a total failure.

Now Folau’s learnt the hard way that taking the money and running is not much chop in the long run. He still can’t get a gig in the NRL. He probably never will.

Worst of all, this fruitless outcome cost a whopping $1.65 million. It’s scandalous. The case didn’t even get to court.

With your help, I’ve been up tribunal and down court since 2014 in dozens and dozens of cases in front of the:

  • New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal,
  • New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal Appeal Panel,
  • Local Court of New South Wales,
  • District Court of New South Wales,
  • Supreme Court of New South Wales,
  • New South Wales Court of Appeal,
  • Federal Court of Australia,
  • Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia, and
  • High Court of Australia.

There’s also been funds spent helping Tess Corbett and John Sunol.

The total cost of all of these matters over 7 years is now around $550,000. It’s a third of what Izzy spent in a couple of weeks. Yet he didn’t even have a hearing.

Yes, I’m biased. Of course I have a personal stake in this. These cases have kept me alive and able to fight another day.

But these cases have also had a profound impact for the greater good, most importantly by putting a massive dent in the unjust abuse of jurisdiction and the lawfare conducted by perpetually unhappy gay activist losers.

These cases are also what really saved Israel Folau’s skin.

That’s the part you probably have not heard much about, if at all.

Because Folau did not just face being sacked for his views. He also faced a $100,000 fine for breaching the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) following complaints lodged by Garry Burns.

We now also know that the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal probably would have found Folau guilty. It wrote this about his comments in a judgement handed down just before Christmas:

54. I reject Mr Folau’s submission that the Complaint lacks substance and is “utterly hopeless”.

55. In my view, it is arguable that, objectively assessed, each Comment had the capacity to incite hatred towards, serious contempt for homosexual people on the ground of their homosexuality. (For an explanation of the elements necessary to establish a complaint of unlawful vilification under the Act, see Sunol v Collier and anor (No 2) [2012] NSWCA 44 at [79]; Jones v Trad [2013] NSWCA 389 at [27]).

56. Further, I reject Mr Folau’s submission that if one or more of his comments is found to satisfy the test in s 49ZT(1), the exception in s 49ZT(2)(b) will necessarily apply. Without proper argument and evidence, it is not possible to determine whether the exception will or will not apply. Notably, the onus of proving that the exception applies lies with Mr Folau: s 104 of the Act.

In other words, yes, it probably is against the law to quote from the Bible in New South Wales. That’s the point of insanity we’ve got to. And yes, when I say Bible I mean the same Bible that judges who write this stuff swear oaths on.

It’s mind-boggling.

So why didn’t the tribunal find Folau guilty and hang him out to dry?

Well, in short, because of your donations which have allowed me to defend myself against Garry Burns for much of the past decade. We’ve been able to bankrupt him and prove to the world what an absolute goose he is (and goose is a very polite way of putting it).

Basically, the justice system wants Burns to win. But it just can’t back him anymore. He’s become a liability and his flagrant and vexatious abuse of process can no longer be ignored.

So the cases we’ve won against Burns and the costs he’s refused to pay were the main reason that Folau managed to wriggle out of this. This is from the Tribunal’s judgement:

30. On the day the Complaint was accepted for investigation by the Board, Mr Burns posted the following advertisement on the social media platform, “Go Fund Me”:

“The Garry Burns fighting fund

Please consider helping me in my fight against vilification of LGBT people and other minority Australians.

This important work is in the public interest – but it is difficult and expensive for an independent activist to undertake.

I am currently taking legal action against sacked footballer Israel Folau over various anti-gay comments, including bracketing gay people with criminals (thieves) and other undesirables, such as perverts.

This complaint has now been accepted for investigation by the President of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board and will go to open court in the New Year if the matter cannot be conciliated.

…legal of $82,000 over legal action against former Katter Party candidate Tess Corbett and others for comparing homosexuality to paedophilia

Every dollar counts. Please consider donating what you can, even if it’s just a dollar or …

Thank you very much for any assistance you can give.”

                …

68. I accept that obtaining a monetary settlement from Mr Folau was probably not the sole reason Mr Burns made the Complaint to the Board. I also accept that Mr Burns holds the genuine belief that the Comments amounted to unlawful vilification under the Act. Nonetheless, the inescapable conclusion is that one of the reasons Mr Burns made the Complaint was for the collateral purpose of securing a monetary settlement to pay the legal costs of unrelated legal proceedings.

69. I reject Mr Burns’ claim that he played no role in the GoFundMe campaign. There is no evidence that he did not approve of or sought to distance himself from that campaign. Indeed, the media release issued by Mr Burns on the day the Board accepted the Complaint, indicates that he endorsed and promoted that campaign.

The real story in the Israel Folau saga is this:

Folau raised $2.1 million from Australians who wanted to help him win a fight for the greater good.

He spent $1.65 million getting a settlement for himself.

And the $550,000 spent on real legal battles by readers of this website is what actually saved Folau’s skin and prevented Rugby Australia et al from trumpeting that Folau was guilty of vilification.

Because the bad guys know this: if Folau had been found guilty of breaching the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) then there is no way Rugby Australia would have paid him a cent.

If the bad guys learn anything, next time some much smarter, cleverer and more evil Burns will do the dirty work first with anti-discrimination law. And the next Israel Folau won’t have a chance to get away with it.

Unless, of course, we keep our far more successful, cost-effective and important battle going.

I was in court against Burns again yesterday with some success although he has now been given a fourth opportunity to file a statement of claim against me. And I’m preparing for one hell of a fight when his four remaining complaints are heard later this year.

If you can help, please donate. I can’t do it without you. And neither can John Sunol who faces the ACT tribunal in a couple of weeks. He’s the real canary in our coalmine and the Israel Folau we should all be supporting.

Author: Bernard Gaynor

Bernard Gaynor is a married father of eight 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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