Tim Andrews, of the Australian Taxpayer Alliance, makes six points about the persecution of Israel Folau. All are worthwhile but the two below are especially salient:
# No matter what you think of the specifics here, there is a wider precedent at play regarding the principle of being able to use someone’s religious opinions as grounds to break contract. If this is allowed to stand, the wider implications are horrific and this is why I strongly feel it must be fought.
# I would also note that Rugby Australia, whilst technically private, for all intents and purposes is essentially a government agency (given their subsidies and the regulatory regime they follow) and as such should be held to an even higher standard regarding such things than a private company or organisation.
Tim’s point about Rugby Australia being “essentially a government agency” is a bit of a stretch, but it can’t denied that RA has been the beneficiary of considerable government largesse — $28.4 million over the past two years, according to its annual report (highlighted below).
Given that Australian taxpayers have been committed by our elected representatives to support the code, the near-silence of the political class in defence of free speech in no way encourages faith that they will be any less supine in defending other liberties.