(Miscellaneous debris)

Labor, Liberal, Greens, Democrats? Here's the place to discuss.

Re: (Miscellaneous debris)

Postby Magellan » Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:58 pm

"Religion is like a blind man looking in a black room for a black cat that isn't there...and finding it." - Oscar Wilde
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Re: (Miscellaneous debris)

Postby DOC » Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:27 pm

I won't speak ill of the dead.

Just hope that country finds stability and prospers.
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Re: (Miscellaneous debris)

Postby stan » Sat Sep 07, 2019 11:58 am

DOC wrote:I won't speak ill of the dead.

Just hope that country finds stability and prospers.
That's doubtful
Read my reply. It is directed at you because you have double standards
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Re: (Miscellaneous debris)

Postby Jimmy_041 » Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:06 pm

Labor's existential nightmare
http://www.afr.com/news/politics/nation ... 52obi?btis

To understand the dimensions of the Australian Labor Party’s post-election slump, there would have been no better place to be an observer than at a quiet family gathering held in Brisbane last month.

Far from ICAC revelations of Tammany Hall-style corruption at the NSW ALP, the gathering was held to mourn the passing of Graham Freudenberg, speech writer to ALP figures like former Labor prime ministers Gough Whitlam and Bob Hawke, former federal ALP leader Arthur Calwell, and former NSW Labor premiers Neville Wran and Bob Carr.

Freudenberg was an unusual figure. A late riser, his day began and ended in a cloud of smoke, and late-in-the-evening, liquid reinforcement. But Freudenberg was also incredibly well-read, had an almost unparalleled mastery of Australian, European and American politics; was a brilliant writer and author of three books; generous and considerate to a fault; and had a rare thespian turn of phrase.

According to Don Watson, a one-time speechwriter for former Labor prime minister Paul Keating, Graham Freudenberg was the ALP’s "great articulator, its poet", and belonged to "the national pantheon". He wrote Gough Whitlam’s iconic ‘It’s Time’ speech at the start of the 1972 campaign and Arthur Calwell’s withering 1965 parliamentary denunciation of Australia’s military participation in the Vietnam War.

Indeed, Freudenberg’s "belief in Labor was unbreakable", Watson wrote in the Monthly magazine. But it was sorely tested. In 1989 he was nominated as a Labor candidate for the NSW upper house, but the geniuses at NSW Labor head office in Sydney’s Sussex Street replaced him - believe it or not - with Eddie Obeid, now serving a five-year jail term for misconduct in office.


Graham Freudenberg helped write Gough Whitlam's famous 'It's Time' speech. Fairfax Media
Not to be outdone in the annals of political bastardry, last year the NSW ALP held a testimonial for Freudenberg. Writing in the Pearls and Irritations Blog, Eric Walsh, who was Gough Whitlam’s press secretary for three years in the `70s and a close friend and colleague of Freudenberg, reported it was a “high-ticket item” and most attending "believed they were contributing to Freudenberg’s retirement".

Pocketing the proceeds

However, Sussex Street pocketed the bulk of the proceeds, Freudenberg told Walsh later, “with little thought being given to Freudy’s wellbeing in retirement". Labor’s “pantheon” died in penury in July, and members of his family later held a quiet memorial function in Brisbane.

AFR Weekend asked NSW Labor where the money was directed but did not receive a response.


Anthony Albanese's Labor is adopting a “small target” profile over the next two years. AAP
The most recent chapter in the Sussex Street saga has been unveiled in extraordinary testimony over the past couple of weeks at ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) hearings in Sydney. The nub of the matter is that political donations by property developers are banned in NSW.

It nevertheless emerged at the ICAC hearing that billionaire property developer Huang Xiangmo in 2015 handed a plastic Aldi shopping bag containing $100,000 in cash to the then general secretary of the NSW ALP, Jamie Clements. According to sworn testimony, Labor officials then covered up the source of the funds. They confabulated a yarn that the money inside the Aldi bag consisted of a range of small donations from people in Sydney’s Chinese community, many of whom worked in restaurants close to the ALP headquarters in Sussex Street.

One of these "donors", Leo Liao, who - the NSW ALP yarn went - had "contributed" $5000 to ALP coffers, was severely depressed by the ignominy he had brought down on his family’s honour through this lie. He committed suicide just prior to a scheduled appearance before an earlier ICAC hearing into the matter. According to a suicide note, Leo Liao decided to “leave this world” because he could not face the ignominy of family members being linked to a "criminal".

Three years later, Huang Xiangmo was revealed as an agent of influence of the Chinese Communist government in Beijing and banned from re-entering Australia. One of those Labor figures Huang Xiangmo "helped" along the way with personal donations, Labor Senator Sam Dastiyari, was forced to resign from his parliamentary position in disgrace.

Dastiyari was also – you guessed it – a former general secretary of the NSW ALP.

As these squalid details emerged in a dramatic ICAC testimony, blood was finally spilled at Sussex Street.

Kaila Murnain, NSW Labor’s general secretary, was suspended for her part in the scandal. As the first day of spring – traditionally a time of promise and renewal – arrived, Labor was in a world of pain. Its federal leader, Anthony Albanese, himself a one-time assistant secretary of the NSW ALP, acknowledged the whole mess was "diabolical".

Spivs and time servers

Coming after the shock federal election loss in May, this “diabolical” story suggests Australia’s oldest political party has been coarsened by a group of spivs, time servers and mendacious mediocrities. Their political playbook seems to be inspired by the immortal words of that 19th century New York Democratic Party machine - or "Tammany Hall" - figure, George Washington Plunkitt, who said "I seen my opportunities and I took them".

To be fair, it’s not all beer and skittles working out the role for a social democratic party in an era of Trump, Brexit, widespread populism, digital disruption, rising anti-immigrant sentiment, and the US-China trade war. Looking abroad, the ALP observes not so much a road map to the future as a cluster of confusing tracks full of political pot-holes and policy no-go areas.

In the past, the ALP has had a close relationship with its UK sister Labour Party. This reached its height in the `80s and `90s when the Hawke-Keating Labor governments effectively pioneered what UK Labour prime minister Tony Blair later rebadged "New Labour". Prime Minister Bob Hawke opened up the Australian economy by floating the Australian dollar and cutting tariffs, but he also ensured workers’ wages and conditions were protected in a period of rapid disruption through what was called the "social wage".

It was one year after the end of the 13-year Hawke-Keating era that UK Labour leader Tony Blair was elected on his moderate, partly Australian inspired, “New Labor” platform. As it transpired, Blair Labour was in office in Britain for a similar period to the 13-year tenure of its Australian counterpart. All the while Tony Blair maintained close contact with Australian Labor figures including former Oxford University chums like one-time federal Labor leader Kim Beazley, and former WA Labor premier Geoff Gallop.

But amid last week’s unprecedented scenes of chaos in the UK Parliament over the Brexit imbroglio, the British Labour Party has taken an extraordinary, radical, turn. Shedding its moderate, late 20th century New Labour clothing, it has developed a policy program under hard left leader Jeremy Corbyn that entails nothing less than the wholesale transformation of the British economy, and a massive redistribution of power and wealth.

The Corbynistas’ policy manifesto mandates that a future UK Labour government will seize 10 per cent of major companies’ shares from their owners and allocate them to the company’s workers; nationalise the railways, water supply system, the UK Mail and electricity distribution companies; impose much higher taxes on the wealthy; launch a massive government borrowing program to fund ambitious new public investments; and implement sweeping reform of tenants’ rights, including a vaguely defined "right" to buy out the property.

Four-day week

According to recent UK press reports, the Corbynistas are also developing plans to introduce a universal basic income, switch to a four-day working week, impose pay limits on senior company executives, notably those in the finance industry; mandate an end to City of London bonuses; and impose new property taxes on wealthy landlords and estate owners.

Indeed, as the new, but already beleaguered, UK Tory Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, plays his high stakes political poker game, his tactics seem to be partly predicated on a view that, in the final analysis, UK voters will decide the Corbyn plan is just too radical. Johnson hopes that instead a majority, or at least a plurality, of voters, will settle for the politically unedifying spectacle of a split, strife-torn UK Conservative Party which, like the ALP in Australia, is Britain’s oldest political party.

Elsewhere in Europe, the future of ALP-style social democracy is also in jeopardy. The French Socialist Party, which can trace its origins back to the 1789 French Revolution, suffered a terrible drubbing in the May, 2017, French presidential election, and has been relegated to near irrelevance in an era of French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrism, and the recent rioting on Paris’ streets by members of the so-called "gilets jaunes".

In Germany, the Social Democratic Party, or SPD, may be a member of centrist Chancellor Angela Merkel’s "Grand Coalition", but electorally it has been relegated to third or fourth position behind the Christian Democrats and the nativist, far right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in recent state polls. Some commentators claim the AfD displays recidivist, neo-Nazi tendencies.

According to Stewart Jackson, a lecturer in Australian politics at Sydney University, Albanese's Labor is adopting a “small target” profile over the next two years. Maybe the ALP is hoping, like Charles Dickens’ Mr Micawber, that "something will turn up".

But Labor "has to stand for something", Jackson avers. Albanese knows this and a riding-high Liberal Prime Minister Scott Morrison knows political fortunes can turn on a proverbial five cent piece.

On the surface nothing has changed since Labor’s shock, albeit narrow, election loss - except that in the wake of the ICAC revelations about the ALP’s black hole in NSW, Morrison is now master of all he surveys. This is despite operating on a narrow parliamentary majority.

If "Freudy" was still around, he might be tempted to declare – holding a glass in one hand and a cigarette in another – that his beloved ALP has descended into an "existential nightmare".
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Re: (Miscellaneous debris)

Postby Jimmy_041 » Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:10 pm

I met Dastyari once. Most unimpressive effwit I’ve ever met. Makes his doppelgänger Mr Bean look like a Nobel Prize winner.
His next address should be 1300 Anzac Parade, Malabar NSW 2036
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Re: (Miscellaneous debris)

Postby DOC » Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:03 pm

I read this article yesterday and I have just re read it twice. I can not work out the Brisbane family gathering reference and apart from a general bashing it is devoid of what makes a good article.

I would guess he wrote this three sheets to the wind. And, as if he has access to what was written in a suicide note by Leo Liao.

What editor would let this go to print?

His father would turn in his grave.
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Re: (Miscellaneous debris)

Postby DOC » Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:13 pm

Jimmy_041 wrote:I met Dastyari once. Most unimpressive effwit I’ve ever met. Makes his doppelgänger Mr Bean look like a Nobel Prize winner.
His next address should be 1300 Anzac Parade, Malabar NSW 2036


I saw him last week turning up at the ICAC hearing on a bike. It looked like Bean. Then he spoke. Sounded like Bean.
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Re: (Miscellaneous debris)

Postby Jimmy_041 » Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:23 pm

DOC wrote:I read this article yesterday and I have just re read it twice. I can not work out the Brisbane family gathering reference and apart from a general bashing it is devoid of what makes a good article.

I would guess he wrote this three sheets to the wind. And, as if he has access to what was written in a suicide note by Leo Liao.

What editor would let this go to print?

His father would turn in his grave.


The piece is about how corrupt NSW Labor is.
The reference to the Brisbane family gathering is the wake for Graham Freudenberg who faithfully served Labor. NSW Labor held a fundraiser for him because, basically, he was broke. They kept the money.
Leo Liao’s suicide notes were made public in an ICAC hearing.
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Re: (Miscellaneous debris)

Postby Magellan » Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:04 pm

World oil prices about to skyrocket courtesy of the Yemeni/irani (depending on whether you believe those claiming responsibility or Mike Pompeo) bombing of Saudi oil reserves?
"Religion is like a blind man looking in a black room for a black cat that isn't there...and finding it." - Oscar Wilde
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Re: (Miscellaneous debris)

Postby Jimmy_041 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:53 pm

Magellan wrote:World oil prices about to skyrocket courtesy of the Yemeni/irani (depending on whether you believe those claiming responsibility or Mike Pompeo) bombing of Saudi oil reserves?


Lucky I filled up last week 8)
Will last me until the end of the year

Ziggy Stardust may have to seriously consider getting rid of her Nissan Pathfinder now although she says she cant afford an electric vehicle on her $207k base salary

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/world/the-times/zali-steggall-i-still-cant-afford-an-electric-car/news-story/0f42727361c8fa755dcc7ca235f4657d
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Re: (Miscellaneous debris)

Postby Jimmy_041 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:54 am

Good to see we make such a difference to climate change

https://www.ft.com/content/1902158a-d99 ... 216ebe1f17
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Re: (Miscellaneous debris)

Postby Jimmy_041 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:34 pm

Richo on PMO tonight: “Tony Abbott is a much better bloke than most of his detractors”
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Re: (Miscellaneous debris)

Postby Q. » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:25 am

Jimmy_041 wrote:Richo on PMO tonight: “Tony Abbott is a much better bloke than most of his detractors”


Was this said before or after he was visiting his good friend and convicted pedophile George Pell in jail?
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Re: (Miscellaneous debris)

Postby Jimmy_041 » Mon Dec 23, 2019 3:42 pm

Whether you agree with him or not - its an interesting read
Inside story: how Israel Folau's legal team played Rugby Australia
A PR campaign that turned a weak hand into a strong suit proved pivotal in the battle to extract a huge payment and apology from rugby authorities.

Folau.png
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Rugby player Israel Folau with his legal team in Melbourne. From left to right: Eddy Gisonda, Stuart Wood AM QC (seated), Chris Newman, George Haros, Nico Burmeister, Israel Folau (seated), Michael Harty, Jason Aldworth, Stella Gehrckens. Paul Jeffers

Aaron Patrick
Senior Correspondent
Dec 21, 2019 — 12.00am

The document that would propel Israel Folau into court – and quite possibly a debate over God in the highest court in the land – was marked "Privileged and Strictly Confidential".

Before one the greatest Australian rugby players in a generation had even been sacked, Melbourne solicitor George Haros had some prescient, private advice: the contest would be fought as much in the emotion-driven hearts of rugby fans as in the cold courtrooms of the legal system.

Haros, a brash extrovert who had captained the Old Ivanhoe Grammarians Australian Rules team to four premierships, told Folau on May 17 that if Rugby Australia decided to terminate his $5.7 million contact, he might be able to sue for breach of employment law, discrimination, breach of contract and defamation.

"Work on the overall defence plan must commence as soon as possible," Haros wrote in a three-page letter sent to Folau's hotmail account. "In legal battles, early decisions are crucial to success, and early mistakes can end up being fatal. Accordingly, long-term planning must be done now and not later."

Folau's case operated at the intersection of the law, business, politics and public opinion.

Haros didn't speak too soon. Folau was fired that day, for damming homosexuals and other "sinners" to hell. The termination letter was written in convoluted legal language that ignored, or perhaps dismissed, the fact it was ending the career of a man who aspired to become the greatest Australian try-scorer in international rugby union history.

"For the avoidance of doubt, by this letter, Rugby AU terminates, to the extent necessary, the Contract with immediate effect," chief executive Raelene Castle wrote. "We draw your attention to the obligations which continue to apply following the termination of your employment the [sic] Contract."

Two days later, the morning after fellow fundamentalist Christian Scott Morrison had won the federal election, Folau and his wife Maria, a champion New Zealand netballer, walked into deep-carpeted offices on the 22nd floor of 200 Queen St, Melbourne.


Auckland lawyer Zeljan Unkovich met the Folaus through his partner, physiotherapist Madeline Hernon.

The Folaus were ushered into a conference room along with their travelling companions, Zeljan Unkovich, a retired Auckland lawyer, and his partner, Madeline Hernon.


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Haros, who had just sent the confidential memo to Folau, was sitting on the other side of the table, along with industrial relations Queen's counsel Stuart Wood, two of Wood's junior barristers, Nico Burmeister and Eddy Gisonda, and publicists Jason Aldworth and Chris Newman.

The meeting, assembled at 48-hours' notice, would form the basis of a legal-media strategy that drove Rugby Australia to offer deal after deal out of desperation to end a campaign that was not only challenging the sport's very identity, but Australia's relationship with religion.

The pitch
Wood and Unkovich did most of the talking. Maria Folau lightened the mood now and then. Israel, a shy man, was mostly quiet. Unkovich had watched Folau tried by Rugby Australia's hand-picked tribunal, which had determined that the Instagram post constituted a "high-level" breach of his employment contract.

Unkovich knew Folau through his partner of five years. Hernon, a prominent sports physiotherapist, had been friends with Maria Folau since she was a 17-year-old netballer in the New Zealand national team. Caught in a process he didn't understand and couldn't control, the 30-year-old rugby player had reached out to Unkovich, 24 years his senior.


Maria Folau competing for New Zealand against Uganda during the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018. AAP

Appreciating the case operated at the intersection of the law, business, politics and public opinion, Unkovich went looking for an aggressive Queen's counsel backed by a strong legal and public relations team.

A retired MinterEllison partner, Lloyd Baggott, suggested Stuart Wood, a 51-year-old Victorian barrister. Wood had worked on some of the biggest cases in industrial law, including the firing of marine scientist Peter Ridd from James Cook University, the construction union's boycott of Boral concrete in 2012, and the famed Patrick stevedores waterfront dispute of 1998.

Unkovich introduced himself on the phone to Wood, and asked who he would use as a solicitor. Even though the barrister had started his legal career at Collins Street institution Freehill Hollingdale & Page, he was concerned a big-firm corporate lawyer would struggle to bond with the Folaus through what was almost certainly going to be an emotional fight.

He proposed Haros, a 45-year-old industrial relations specialist at mid-sized firm Macpherson Kelley. Another Freehills graduate, Haros carried himself with the intensity and sociability of a successful sportsman and business owner. Unkovich agreed to fly to Melbourne with the Folaus to scope out the team face-to-face.


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PR versus the law
In the conference room, which was on the same floor as his chambers, Wood introduced the team. He talked up publicists Newman and Aldworth, who had run public relations for his cousin, hockey gold medallist Danni Roche, in her unsuccessful 2017 challenge against John Coates for the Australian Olympic Commission presidency.

Rugby Australia's media briefing needed to be aggressively countered because it was harming Folau's reputation, Wood said. As a junior barrister on the Patrick waterfront case, Wood had seen the massive media coverage leave the lawyers subordinate to the public relations strategy.

Instead of a high-paid sportsman who broke his contract, the story was of a humble man denied the right to express his religious beliefs by an employer.

When it came to the Folaus – and Maria's reputation would be damaged by the case too – Wood proposed a co-ordinated PR-legal strategy.

"The two most important people in this room are Jason and Chris," he said, according to a person present. "It's very important to get your story out there so people understand what is going on."

They were going to reframe the debate. Instead of a high-paid sportsman who broke his contract, the story had to become the defence of a humble man denied the right to express his religious beliefs by an employer.

Coverage needed to be moved from the sports sections to the news and op-ed pages, the PR experts said, where larger audiences would maximise the pressure on Rugby Australia. Instead of subjecting Folau to questions at press conferences, he would communicate through professionally produced videos, which sympathisers could distribute across the internet.

The other side
Over at Rugby House, the sport's Sydney headquarters, Raelene Castle knew she had a public relations disaster on her hands. Castle had offered to pay Folau to leave the game quietly.


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He had decided to fight the code in a tribunal hearing that took two-and-a-half days. He had lost, but didn't look like he was going to give up.

Representing fans stretching from Church-going Christians to same-sex married couples, Castle didn't want a fight with a rugby superstar. But she wasn't going to reverse her decision. Activists said Folau's post would contribute to an anti-gay stigma that could lead to violence, especially against young people.


Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle tried to settle with Folau five times. AAP

Advertisers, drawn to rugby's popularity with the upper middle classes, didn't want the sport sucked into a bitter debate over religion and homosexuality. Jaguar Land Rover, HSBC, Accenture, InterContinental Hotels, RM Williams and Bose were all Wallabies sponsors. If the fight got too nasty, it was possible some would walk.

'Our bulldog'
Wood's main legal advice was to forget about appealing against Rugby Australia's own tribunal, which had given Castle the green light to fire Folau, and included barrister Kate Eastman, a prominent gay rights advocate. The tribunal was limited to interpreting Folau's contract, leaving him unable to claim protection from the law.

Wood dismissed the tribunal as a "kangaroo court", and sketched out an alternative plan. Folau would claim unlawful termination under the Fair Work Act. Not only would he have far more legal options, but if he lost Folau would not have to cover the other side's legal costs, which would be considerable if the case ended in the High Court.

"This case might go all the way so it has got to be set up properly and we have got to make every claim we can possibly make," Wood said, according to a person present.

The option of appearing before the Supreme Court of NSW was dismissed. Wood was worried the Sydney bench would be receptive to Rugby Australia arguments that what was a contract dispute had been resolved by rugby's in-house tribunal. In the federal system, it would be easier to introduce evidence to show that Folau's contract was a sideshow.

The tribunal appeal cut-off was 11.38am the following day. If Wood and his team were hired, it would be ignored.


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Unkovich was impressed with the presentation. "This is the A-grade team," he said. "We need to get on board."

The Folaus, Unkovich and Heron went on their own into Wood's wood-panelled office, where a portrait of the barrister hung from a wall. When they came back, they told Wood he had been hired.

"We've found our bulldog," Unkovich said.

"He even looks like a bulldog," Maria Folau chipped in.


George Haros (left) and and Stuart Wood on August 13 in Melbourne after the Federal Circuit Court chief justice agreed to an expedited hearing. It was a turning point in the case. AAP

Free advice
Wood's lawyers identified 60 possible legal challenges to Folau's firing. They included the Australian constitution, international treaties Australia had signed, and the common law of torts, which allows a person to sue for damages for harm.

There was no shortage of advice. Folau, a Christian of Tongan descent, was an international sporting star. Despite having played the sport for only seven years, he had represented the Australia national team 73 times, had scored the most tries in Super Rugby history and the fourth-most for the Wallabies.

Lawyers from New Zealand, South Africa and elsewhere added to the cacophony of voices at home expressing outrage at what they felt was religious persecution. Folau's broader social circle fed the views to him. Simultaneously, the government was writing a law to protect religious free speech, a step critics said was an unnecessary sop to the Christian right.

Some political figures wanted Wood to turn the case into a fight over whether the constitution protected religious beliefs. A High Court showdown over the right to quote the Bible on Instagram could have marked the apex of the culture wars, and provided the political impetus for the Coalition's religious freedom bill.


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The team had three weeks to file with the Fair Work Commission. Folau's termination letter was included as an annex to the 10-page document, which placed an X in a box next to religion in a list of 13 forms of unlawful discrimination.

"As a manifestation of Mr Folau’s religion, he is compelled to communicate the word of God and the message contained within the Bible (Biblical Teachings) (the doing of which he considers to be a loving gesture to others)," the claim said.

"In this context, in April 2019, Mr Folau communicated certain Biblical Teachings on his personal Instagram account. Rugby Australia and Waratahs demanded that Mr Folau renounce the April 2019 Religious Message. Mr Folau refused to do so, and Rugby Australia and Waratahs terminated his employment."

'Without fear of retribution'
Wood and the team were concerned that Rugby Australia might try to wear down the Folaus by dragging out the case over two years – if roles were reversed, they would have done the same. Relentless public criticism quickly destroys the negotiating willpower of almost any person.

Their best chance of a quick hearing was in the Federal Circuit Court, a lower-cost version of the Federal Court. After two years in charge, Chief Judge William Alstergren had sped up trial times and come down on delaying tactics.

Before the case could be switched to Alstergren's court, however, there had to be a genuine attempt to settle.


Israel Folau at Sydney Olympic Park in August, about halfway through his fight with Rugby Australia. Steve Christo

On June 27, a Thursday, both sides gathered in conference rooms at the Fair Work Commission offices on William St in East Sydney, a short walk from the once-seedy Kings Cross nightclub strip.

Interest from the media was intense. The previous night Folau had been followed by paparazzi from the city to the Sky News offices at Macquarie Park, in the city's north, where he told sympathetic broadcaster Alan Jones that he wanted an apology.

He was then followed back into the city, according to his team, which posted a video on YouTube of Folau reading from a script that publicised his position without subjecting him to journalists' questions.

"First and foremost, I am hoping for an apology from Rugby Australia and an acknowledgement that even if they disagree with my views, I should be free to peacefully express my religious views without fear of retribution," Folau said.

"I want to thank you all for your prayers and your support. You have made it possible for me to stand up for every Australian of faith."

Followed by photographers
On the street, press photographers became so aggressive that Haros was smacked in the head with a camera. Paparazzi raced Folau to the Westin Hotel, where one journalist walked in after him. A fed-up Unkovich called the police for help, who arrived quickly and escorted the entourage inside.

The negotiations failed, which meant the case could be switched to the court system. But Folau was under huge pressure, and the physical confrontations with the media had put everyone on edge.

Intense media interest: Israel Folau after the June 28 conciliation hearing at the Fair Work Commission in Sydney. AAP

Many fans hoped Folau could play in the World Cup in Japan, which started on September 20. But people who know him said Folau was jaded about his treatment by rugby authorities and concerned about working with Castle and teammates who opposed his position on homosexuality and other people described as sinners in the Bible.

Castle, for her part, said Folau had promised her several times he wouldn't post inflammatory material on the internet and was undermining a game trying desperately to attract fans.

Folau started spending more time in Adelaide, with Maria. Wood and Haros decided the case needed to be shifted to Melbourne, where Folau was barely known and there was less interest in the story. They convinced the Fair Work Commission to issue a statement that Folau had "reasonable prospects of success" in court, which under the industrial relations system maintained his shield from the other side's legal costs.

Meanwhile, Aldworth's publicity team had set up a call for donations to cover Folau's costs (which included their fees) on GoFundMe.com. After raising some $650,000, the website shut down the appeal, which it deemed to be against its pro-gay rights position.

The Australian Christian Lobby's managing director, Martyn Iles, offered to host the campaign. With the encouragement of conservative media outlets, it was swamped with $2.2 million in two days. Experts wondered how he would spend it. Industrial relations lawyer Josh Bornstein estimated Folau's legal bills should top out at $400,000.

The donations gave Folau huge leverage. He could fight all the way to the High Court, at little financial risk. Even if Rugby Australia won, it would have to cover its own legal costs.

In the meantime, the case was dividing the nation over religion – it was even raised during a leaders' debate in the election campaign – and imposing a heavy cost on Rugby Australia's reputation.

Despite what the other side alleged, Castle said there was no public relations campaign to denigrate Folau. Damaging information that could have hurt him was kept private.

Castle tried again to settle. Over the six months Rugby Australia would make Folau five separate offers, according to a person involved in negotiations. He would reject each one.

Legal conference
On the weekend of June 29 and 30, Folau's team gathered in Macpherson Kelley's Sydney offices. Almost everyone was there: Folau, Unkovich, Wood and his juniors, Burmeister and Gisonda. Haros brought along Stella Gehrckens, a recent law graduate and the only woman working on the case. Aldworth was present too.

Burmeister and Gisonda had spent six weeks analysing 60 legal arguments. Over an exhausting two days, the team went through every one. There were pros and cons for each. Some were legal. Others were strategic or practical.

A constitutional challenge was attractive from an intellectual perspective. Defining the law on religious freedom in the High Court would have made legal history.

It would have also exponentially complicated the case by involving the federal Attorney-General, Christian Porter, and possibly his state counterparts, who might be tempted to take political positions.

Another option was to sue Qantas Airways, the code's biggest sponsor. Led by Australia's most prominent gay businessman, Alan Joyce, the airline had sided against Folau, and many believed its position was pivotal in his sacking.

Dragging in Qantas would embarrass the airline and Rugby Australia. But Qantas was far wealthier than the sporting code, making it a dangerous legal adversary.

The arguments were whittled down to six: restraint of trade, unlawful termination, termination that was contrary to public policy, misconstruing Folau's contract, a lack of good faith over Folau's in-house trial, and that it was absurd to punish Folau for the post.

Qantas was left out. There was no constitutional challenge. Wood asked for an injunction, reinstatement, compensation and a financial penalty against Rugby Australia. The total would start around $10 million and rise to $14 million as a trial drew nearer.

The chief decides
On August 13, lawyers from both sides gathered at the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne for a hearing to decide the path of the case through the legal system. Alstergren, the chief justice, officiated.

Rugby Australia's barrister, Adam Hochroth, asked for the case to be moved to the Federal Court or the Sydney branch of the Federal Circuit Court. Wood accused Hochroth of delay tactics that would increase Folau's legal costs – without mentioning they had already been covered multiple times over by donors.


Will Alstergren, the chief judge of the Federal Circuit Court, promised a prompt trial.

Alstergren then gave Wood exactly what he wanted: a Melbourne trial in six months. “I am not going to allow anything to delay proceedings,” the judge said.

After the hearing Haros spoke to reporters, Wood by his side, silent. He reiterated that Folau was prepared to settle in return for an apology, and emphasised that the rugby star hadn't wanted to hurt anyone. He portrayed Folau as the unfortunate victim of religious prejudice who hoped for a fair settlement.

A bishop's evidence
Facing the trial of their lives, the pace accelerated. The team met for a full day twice a week. They debated everything. Unkovich, known to all as Zell, acted as Folau's supporter, confidant and negotiator. He was also the team's devil's advocate, probing the arguments and decisions.

Some 100 witnesses needed to identified, approached and convinced to give evidence. Some lived overseas.

Two Wallabies players planned to testify they weren't offended. The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, a former theological college lecturer, agreed to explain the Bible and the theological questions raised by Folau's post, which included a quote from Saint Paul in the ninth book of the New Testament, Galatians, that lists un-Christian sins (homosexuality isn't included).

In between the celebrity witnesses, two little-known business experts – one in crisis management, the other in sports sponsorship – were going to be pivotal.

Wood planned to use the witnesses to make two primary arguments. Folau's post hadn't damaged the popularity of professional rugby, which relies on on-field success. On the contrary, by firing Folau, Rugby Australia had turned a short-lived burst of outrage into one of the biggest news stories of the year. Presumably, Wood wouldn't emphasise that the controversy was fanned by Folau's own publicists.

Folau's cross
Before a trial, a final, formal settlement attempt was required. Folau had long insisted on an apology, which would reflect he hadn't acted out of malice and believed he was spreading the word of God.

Without one, he had vowed not to give up. "This is my cross and I am still carrying it," he had told Unkovich.

On the morning of Monday December 2, both sides gathered at the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne. Photographers and cameramen had camped outside Haros' offices looking for the Folaus, who were secluded at the Westin, five blocks on the other side of the city.

Haros emerged shortly before 10pm, and revealed there still was no agreement. The talks were scheduled to resume on Wednesday morning. It was probably the last chance to avoid a trial.

The team was waiting for news at the Westin, where a kindly manager had given up a private dining room. Mid-morning, Folau and Maria were standing alone together in the corridor outside the room when Unkovich approched.

There had been a breakthrough. Both sides had a deal they could live with, including mutual apologies. Maria burst into tears.

“While it was not Rugby Australia’s intention, Rugby Australia acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused to the Folaus," the statement said. "Similarly, Mr Folau did not intend to hurt or harm the game of rugby and acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused."

Folau gathered the team in a circle. Wood, Haros and the other lawyers bowed their heads. "Dear Heavenly father," Folau began.

The rugby prodigy thanked God for delivering him a capable team, which answered in unison, "Amen".



Aaron Patrick
Senior Correspondent
Aaron Patrick is The Australian Financial Review's Senior Correspondent. He writes about politics and business. Connect with Aaron on Twitter. Email Aaron at apatrick@afr.com.au
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Re: (Miscellaneous debris)

Postby Magellan » Mon Dec 23, 2019 3:55 pm

A victory for the underdog.
"Religion is like a blind man looking in a black room for a black cat that isn't there...and finding it." - Oscar Wilde
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Re: (Miscellaneous debris)

Postby Jimmy_041 » Mon Dec 23, 2019 6:23 pm

Magellan wrote:A victory for the underdog.


Best justice money can buy?
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Re: (Miscellaneous debris)

Postby Jimmy_041 » Sat Feb 01, 2020 1:46 pm

Just to show this “The science is settled” Is a load of bollocks.
https://www.thegwpf.com/peter-ridd-scientific-misconduct-at-james-cook-university-confirms-my-worst-fears/
Science is not always black and white when humans are involved
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Re: (Miscellaneous debris)

Postby Magellan » Sat Feb 01, 2020 2:05 pm

Jimmy_041 wrote:Just to show this “The science is settled” Is a load of bollocks.
https://www.thegwpf.com/peter-ridd-scientific-misconduct-at-james-cook-university-confirms-my-worst-fears/
Science is not always black and white when humans are involved

Because of one study from one institution with questionable standards in one person's view who has an axe to grind?
"Religion is like a blind man looking in a black room for a black cat that isn't there...and finding it." - Oscar Wilde
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Re: (Miscellaneous debris)

Postby Jimmy_041 » Sat Feb 01, 2020 2:08 pm

Magellan wrote:
Jimmy_041 wrote:Just to show this “The science is settled” Is a load of bollocks.
https://www.thegwpf.com/peter-ridd-scientific-misconduct-at-james-cook-university-confirms-my-worst-fears/
Science is not always black and white when humans are involved

Because of one study from one institution with questionable standards in one person's view who has an axe to grind?


Exactly my point!
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Re: (Miscellaneous debris)

Postby Magellan » Sat Feb 01, 2020 2:26 pm

Jimmy_041 wrote:
Magellan wrote:
Jimmy_041 wrote:Just to show this “The science is settled” Is a load of bollocks.
https://www.thegwpf.com/peter-ridd-scientific-misconduct-at-james-cook-university-confirms-my-worst-fears/
Science is not always black and white when humans are involved

Because of one study from one institution with questionable standards in one person's view who has an axe to grind?


Exactly my point!

Ridd's not exactly an unbiased commentator, although he's well versed in that area and may have a valid criticism. If he's right, then it only proves that perhaps JCU are shit at measuring the effect of carbon dioxide on coral reef fish. It has no bearing on all other research undertaken on anthropogenic impacts on the environment.
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