Andrew Bolt slams ANZ over stance on Israel Folau’s wife Maria
Australia has been divided for months by Israel Folau’s comments. But one big miscalculation has turned the issue on its head.
Israel Folau continues to divide the nation in his fight against Rugby Australia, but it hasn’t stopped the donations from flooding in.
Shortly after 8pm (AEST) on Wednesday evening the donations to Folau surged past $2 million on the Australian Christian Lobby fundraising page. He is now less than $1 million away from his goal.
Speaking on his 2GB show this morning, radio host Alan Jones said “we should all be doing our little bit because Israel Folau is fighting the battle for all of us”.
Jones described Folau’s fight as “one of the defining cases of our time” and called for people to donate.
“These are essential freedoms…it’s a bit like the Mabo case, these are significant changes that must be made to the way we run our society if we are free and democratic,” Jones said.
But despite calling for Australians to donate to Folau, Jones admitted he found the debate “utterly self-defeating”.
“Why can’t we simply say that as a world we treat people as we find them. The business of marginalising people because they’re gay is appalling,” Jones said.
“All we need to do here is to teach young people to respect people for who they are and what they are. We need to teach them to obey the law but beyond that we should obey our own sense of decency.”
ANZ ‘BRAINLESS’: HUGE FOLAU MISCALCULATION
He said Folau’s comments were “vile”, but the bullying he and his wife had received “should alarm us all”.
“Seriously? How brainless are these bankers to so misread the public mood?”
Bolt touched on ANZ’s involvement in last year’s banking royal commission.
“I doubt a bank would recognise an ethical line if it was tied around its fat neck, but ANZ apparently believes it now knows ethics better than does the Bible,” Bolt said.
The Herald Sun columnist sarcastically called Folau’s Instagram post “charming” but said it still qualified as free speech.
“Is this really what free speech means? The right to say things that hurt some people, including, in this case, people I love? Er, yes. That’s indeed what it means,” he said.
“If I defended only free speech I liked, I would not be arguing for a principle. I’d be arguing for my own convenience.”
Folau states he is in the “fight of his life” after Rugby Australia terminated his multimillion-dollar contract in May after he posted a controversial social media message.
The post said “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters” would go to hell unless they repented.
As the saga continues to roll on, the pressure has only amplified on Folau with his wife, Maria, now facing the heat after two major netball partners issued negative statements about the New Zealand and Adelaide Thunderbirds star.
But it hasn’t stopped the donations, in fact it may have only amplified the matter. Folau’s original GoFundMe campaign reached $750,000 over four days.
The alternative fundraising site was established after Folau’s original campaign on GoFundMe, asking for donations to help fight his legal battle, was taken down
After his page was pulled down on Monday morning, the ACL had set up the new fundraising page by Monday evening and in less than 24 hours it had surged past the seven figure mark.
The raised funds are to go towards Folau’s legal fight against RA over unfair dismissal which he believes could go all the way to the High Court.
After days of remaining silent, Folau responded to the astonishing generosity with a message on his Instagram account. He also stated he held no “ill will” towards people who have criticised him.
In a video released on Tuesday night, ACL Managing Director Martyn Iles called for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to make a stand.
“It’s time for our politicians to lead. It’s time for Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese to outline in detail how they will protect people of faith and the important principles of freedoms that are raised by Israel’s case,” he said.
“This sort of public lynching is unacceptable in a supposedly tolerant and ethnically and religiously diverse country like Australia and our politicians cannot simply wash their hands like Pontius Pilate.”
At the rate the donations are rolling in, the goal of $3 million could be reached by Thursday evening. Of course the website won’t close once the target has been hit.
Mr Iles said he could “not go into detail” about where any money above the $3 million mark would go.
Asked by the Today Show host Deborah Knight about the potential excess donations, Mr Iles said: “It will be distributed in a way that is consistent with …”
Knight interrupted: “Distributed where though?”
“It will go to different causes that are completely consistent with the intentions of the original donors,” Mr Iles replied.
Pressed for where that will be exactly, Mr Iles said: “I am not able to go into the detail at this stage.”