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Folau Case Settled, But Not Religious Freedom Laws

Now that the Israel Folau issue has been settled – a few things need to be noted.

Firstly – under the agreement, Rugby Australia acknowledged and apologised for any hurt or harm caused to the Folaus.

Secondly – Israel Folau said he did not “intend to harm or offend” anyone with the post on Instagram. Folau himself looked forward to the new religious discrimination laws – for which we saw another draft prior to Christmas.

But it has to be said that religious discrimination laws are not simply, or even not mainly, about the Folau case. After all the Folau case was settled by negotiation, and might have been settled by law. But so many other situations are not settled so easily (and are not high profile enough to provide any protection for the participants).

There is a sex discrimination act, there is a racial discrimination act – there is no such protection for people of faith – and there should be.

I’m Russell Powell for the NSW Council of Churches.

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