Friday, August 02, 2019

Israel Folau launches legal action against Rugby Australia and NSW Waratahs

Their political correctness could send them broke, which would be great!  They may even end up having to pay Folau's legal fees

Armed with a multi-million dollar warchest, Israel Folau has launched legal action against Rugby Australia and can “bleed them dry”.

Rugby Australia and Israel Folau are headed to the Federal Court after conciliation failed at the Fair Work Commission.

Rugby star Israel Folau has begun legal action against his former employers Rugby Australia and the NSW Waratahs for unfair dismissal.

The decision comes after the former Wallaby and RA failed to reach an agreement at a mediation hearing at the Fair Work Commission on June 28.

“Unfortunately, our conciliation before the Fair Work Commission did not resolve the matters between us and I have been left with no choice but to commence court action,” Folau said in a statement on Thursday.

RA terminated Folau’s multimillion-dollar contract over a social media post in which he paraphrased a Bible passage, saying “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters” would go to hell unless they repented.

The committed Christian argues he was unfairly dismissed on religious grounds. Folau, 30, is seeking $10 million in damages from RA and wants his contract reinstated.

The Australian reports his legal team insists he should still be playing for the Waratahs and the Wallabies, including in the upcoming Rugby World Cup.

“His form and natural talent suggests he would continue to be a star player for both teams,” the unfair termination claim says, per The Australian.

More than 20,000 people have donated about $2.2 million to help fund Folau’s legal battle via a campaign page set up by the Australian Christian Lobby. The ACL effort replaced an earlier campaign on GoFundMe, which was taken down by the platform for breaching its service guidelines.

Folau thanked his many supporters in the statement. “I have been blessed to have received the support of tens of thousands of Australians throughout my journey, and I want to say thank you to everyone who has offered their prayers and support. It has meant so much to (wife) Maria and me over the last few months and gives us strength for the road ahead,” he said.

In a segment on Sky News, digital editor Jack Houghton said Folau could bleed Rugby Australia dry.

“The broader point that got missed when people were raising funds for this particular legal challenge was not that they were specifically endorsing anything he said — or the intentions behind it — but they were making the broader case, ‘should you be able to be fired for holding certain religious views, if those views are controversial?’. That’s the question we all want to know right now,” he said.

“It really looks like Rugby Australia is in a lot of hot water here and financially they’re not doing that great, we know this, and he (Folau) doesn’t have to pay for any of this, so he can just sit there bleeding them dry and the benefit to the rest of Australia is some clarity over an issue which is getting a lot of people who may be haven’t read much about the legislation weighing in prematurely.”

“Rugby Australia was very foolish to pick this fight and they’re now starting to pay for it,” added The Advertiser columnist Caleb Bond. “You reap what you sow and while their sponsors might have been happy with the decision they’ve made they might lose more money out of this than they would have out of the sponsorship situation.”

According to a previous report in The Daily Telegraph, the future of rugby in Australia could be decided if Folau is successful in his challenge of RA’s move to rip up his contract.

The report claimed Rugby Australia is privately bracing for a $12 million financial loss this season — pushing the code to the brink of collapsing.


Geoffrey Blainey says giving away citizenship too easily is a problem for our democracy

Noted historian Geoffrey Blainey says Australia gives away cititzenship too easily — and that creates a problem for democracy.

Professor Blainey told a Sydney audience that the essence of democracy was accepting defeat at an election, even if the electorate did not know much.

“And that is a problem,” he said. “I think we give away citizenship rather too easily. Why should someone who has been in the country two or three years and does not know the language or the common discourse, why should they necessarily have a vote if voting is compulsory?’’

Professor Blainey’s remarks were in answer to a question at a wide-ranging discussion at the think tank, the Sydney Institute, held to celebrate his newly published memoir Before I Forget.

He told the audience that governing in a democracy was difficult and he would not be surprised if democracies did not exist in the same numbers in 100 years’ time.

“I am very much a democrat but my view is that democracy is a difficult form of government,” Professor Blainey said. “We think it is easy and we blame the politicians… but we elected the politicians.

“I think democracy depends not only on having parliamentarians but 15 to 20 per cent of the population (taking responsibility for democracy). It depends on that segment of the population but I think that segment of the population is diminishing.”

He said that more than half the nations in the world could not by any definition be called democracies.

The period since 1945 was probably the most fortunate period of human history but we should understand that government was much more difficult now than in earlier decades and democracy was a more challenging form of government.

“There is so much to be optimistic about … I remain optimistic but I remain wary in assuming that democracy will go on and on,” he said.

Asked if he believed the study of history had become corrupted, Professor Blainey was circumspect but said there was no doubt the teaching of history was a “bit skewed”.


Big tech must be treated like media: Regulator

ACCC chair Rod Sims has described technology giants Facebook and Google as publishers, who should be regulated in a similar way to traditional media. Following the release of the ACCC's final report into the market power of digital platforms, Mr Sims said Google and Facebook should be subject to the same laws as publishers and broadcasters.

Mr Sims told Sky News Business Weekend a new code of conduct regulating the relationship between digital platforms and traditional media would have "real teeth". He said if implemented media companies would start to receiving more revenue for their original content being used by the likes of Facebook and Google to make money.

"In many ways they are publishers and so we have to make sure we break that distinction that's been there before," Mr Sims said on Sky News' Business Weekend this morning. "Really you should have Google and Facebook being subject to...the same laws that apply to traditional media otherwise it's simply an unfair playing field. "They should be regulated in a very similar way to traditional media and in many senses, they are publishers."

Mr Sims, who described the final report as "very hard hitting", said as a regulator, the ACCC were capable of following through with its proposed recommendations, including the potential creation of a digital markets branch of the ACCC, which would enforce a code of conduct on Google and Facebook.

"I don't think in recent years the ACCC has been accused of lacking mettle," he said. "We've taken on some of the biggest companies around the world including Apple, Visa, Heinz. No, there's no problem there. We do need some changes to the laws and of course we do need to have a focused unit looking at this, because you can't just do this alongside your other business. "We definitely need a dedicated unit, and have no doubt we've got the mettle."

Labor Opposition communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland says she does not trust tech giants Google and Facebook to crackdown on "fake news" without new regulatory intervention. Ms Rowland this morning said the owners major tech platforms have proven they are motivated by profit rather than what is in the public interest. She does not believe they would take adequate initiative to stop the spread of false information without being forced by government. "I don't, but that is my personal view.

The very fact that these organisations are there to make a profit, the profit is the primary driver. That is not to say they are very conscious of their public relations side," Ms Rowland told Sky News "I think you would need to question whether the Australian consumers at large would trust them to do that, particularly given the privacy breaches."

But Ms Rowland also urged caution on establishing a government body to decide what fake news is. "While instinctively we would be anti-fake news, I think that you would need to exercise caution in how that is done," she said. "You don't want a regulator, for example, who is censuring what actually goes out to people. "Because the whole idea of the internet is that it provides freedom of information and democratisation on that platform."

On Friday, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission released its report into digital platforms, with the government to respond to its 23 recommendations by the end of the year. Under the recommendations, Facebook and Google could be forced to share revenue from journalism with traditional media, face investigations by a new digital branch of the competition watchdog and be fined for the spreading of fake news.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher this morning said the government would consider creating a new digital markets branch of the ACCC and forcing a new code of conduct on Google and Facebook. "The government accepts the ACCC's overriding conclusion that there's a need for reform. We accept the recommendation or the proposal that there needs to be a harmonisation of the media regulatory framework," Mr Fletcher told the ABC. "At the moment, there are very different ways in which traditional media businesses like free-to-air television providers are regulated, for example in relation to Australian content, compared to the digital platforms.

"Clearly one of the questions is obligations on free-to-air television network and on subscription TV for Australian content. Does it stack up for Netflix not to have such obligations? Those are questions that we'll consider."


Biggest native title deal in danger of dissident defeat

Payoff wanted

The biggest land rights deal in Australian history is in danger of being killed off, four years after the Noongar people of Western Australia voted for the $1.3 billion land-and-cash package to benefit 30,000 Aboriginal people.

A dissident Noongar group — among the minority who voted “no” in 2015 when the South West Native Title Settlement was put to the Noongar people at six ­regional meetings — have successfully stalled the deal in the Federal Court for years. Until now, their arguments were not widely regarded as likely to succeed and politicians from both sides have referred to the settlement as a fait accompli.

It has been described as Australia’s first treaty and has bipartisan support in WA.

A Federal Court decision about a small land deal in the Northern Territory in May has handed opponents of the Noon­gar settlement a fresh argument that reopened their case. The Cox Peninsula deal outside Darwin was thrown out by the court on May 20 because it was certified in 2017 by the Northern Land Council’s then chief executive, Joe Morrison, rather than by a full board. The Noongar deal was also signed by an employee of a land council, the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council’s then chief executive Glenn Kelly, so opponents of the $1.3bn deal rushed back to court.

Represented pro bono by one of Australia’s most respected nat­ive title lawyers, Greg McIntyre SC, the dissident group is arguing the Noongar deal was not signed off correctly and therefore incorrectly registered. The Federal Court is considering written arguments before deciding if more hearings are necessary. Opponents object to surrendering their native title. They are now hopeful they can kill off the Noongar settlement by the end of the year.

Mr McIntyre told The Australian the Federal Court’s decision about the Cox Peninsula land deal in May was important for many such deals across Australia that had been decided the same way.

“There could be hundreds of decisions affected by that ruling,” Mr McIntyre said. He said if a land deal was thrown out by a court, it was not always simple to start again. The deals were usually reached after large meetings of traditional owners and it cost tens of thousands of dollars to bring all the relevant people together.

Former Liberal premier Colin Barnett oversaw the South West Native Title Settlement after more than a decade of litigation.

In 2006, the Federal Court found the Noongar people held native title rights to occupy, use and enjoy lands and waters; it was hailed as the first decision recognising native title over a capital city, but it was overturned by the Full Federal Court two years later.

Instead of more court battles, the Barnett government and South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council agreed to negotiate. In July 2013, the government released the terms of its settlement offer and these were approved by the Noongar people at a series of authorisation meetings between January and March 2015.

The settlement is considered the most comprehensive as well as the largest in Australia. Up to 320,000ha of southwest land will be transferred to the Noongar Boodja Trust for development and cultural purposes. The WA government will also contribute $50 million annually for 12 years to the Noongar Boodja Trust, and $10m annually for 12 years to the Noongar Regional Corporations.

Noongar people will jointly run the state’s national parks.


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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