Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Where’s the Prime Minister on the free speech crisis?

By Augusto Zimmermann - posted Thursday, 27 June 2019

GoFundMe's shutdown of Israel Folau's fundraising page for "violation of … terms of service" is a troubling development for religious freedom and has disturbing implications for freedom of speech. GoFundMe has basically declared Folau persona non grata due to his religious convictions and the right to express such convictions.

As correctly noted by the Human Rights Law Alliance managing director, John Steenhof, in the Nine Network tabloids, "GoFundMe's conduct should alarm all Australians interested in fair and equal access to justice. Anyone who wants to fundraise to have their day in an Australian court now has an extra barrier".

Apparently, however, the newly re-elected Coalition still does not fully appreciate the fight we are in. When asked about the closure of Mr Folau's fundraiser, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: "I think that the issue has had enough oxygen."


By contrast, NSW Legislative Councillor Mark Latham, who defended Mr Folau in his maiden speech to parliament earlier this year, said GoFundMe's decision was "excessive use of corporate power". He tweeted: "Lefties scoffed when I said the absence of religious freedom protections would lead to a reign of terror against Christians. In all aspects of the Folau matter, it's easy to see what's happening."

This is a rather interesting situation. The agnostic Latham defends freedom of religion and freedom of speech for Christians, but the Christian PM cowardly refuses to make a comment.

As Paul Collits correctly puts it in, 'The Prime Minister failure to see the Folau case as a flagship freedom-of-speech issue is chilling for anyone with a modicum of understanding of how and why freedom is important'.

This is the same Prime Minister who previously stated that Folau's comments were unacceptable. "I thought they were terribly insensitive and obviously that is a matter for the ARU and they've taken that decision," Morrison said.

Here you have a "Christian" Prime Minister who appears to have no regard for freedom of speech and freedom of religion. He is literally throwing a fellow believer under the bus – joining the lynch mob against a brother in Christ who simply dared to exercise his freedom of religion by freely manifesting his opinion.

Folau was simply quoting the Bible. What is next? The Bible banned in Australia?


After all, GoFundMe has shut down the fundraiser of thousands of Australians who want to support a religious person who has been punished for simply expressing a mainstream Christian viewpoint. They were charged a fee to use this disconnected service.

And yet, as correctly stated by Christian activist Bernard Gaynor, 'it is illegal to discriminate in the terms on which goods or services are supplied… And, just to make it clear, it is even prohibited to treat another person unfavourably in any way in connection with the supply of goods or services".

Our Prime Minister not only needs to know better what the law says, but also to realise that he has been returned not because he has done anything particularly good for our country.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

This article was first published in The Spectator.

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

56 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Augusto Zimmermann, LLB, LLM, PhD is a Lecturer in Law at Murdoch University, Western Australia.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Augusto Zimmermann

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Augusto Zimmermann
Article Tools
Comment 56 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy