To Folau or Not Folau

TAFKAS suspects that the very mention of Folau in the heading of this post will trigger a number of comments.  But with the benefit of time and reflection, TAFKAS believes that he can summarise the Folau matter in 3 points:

  1. Israel Folau should be free to sign away/sell his speech and expression rights in an enforceable contract.
  2. Israel Folau should not be required to sign away/sell his speech and expression rights in an enforceable contract.
  3. There is no role, absolutely no role for Government in regulating whether Folau sells his speech and expression rights in contract and whether any such contract is enforced – except through the provision of Courts to arbitrate whether the contract has or has not been applied correctly.
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103 Responses to To Folau or Not Folau

  1. pbw

    And, of course, Israel Folau should be free to sign himself into bondage as a slave. Enlightened societies have allowed this.

  2. Infidel Tiger

    This is some confused shit.

    What an australian does in their private time, as long as it remains legal is no concern of their employer. Particularly their tax hoovering employer.

  3. Bruce of Newcastle

    If Folau was theirs you’d hear the Left screeching about kanakas and blackbirding.
    I’ve heard no mention at all of that obvious allusion.

  4. MPH

    Disagree with Point 1 because the flip side of that position is that a company can insist that you sign away said rights as a condition of employment. Not a world we want to go into and yet another reason why the first amendment is so brilliant.

  5. Tel

    Israel Folau should be free to sign away/sell his speech and expression rights in an enforceable contract.

    Disagree.

    Some individual rights should be inalienable, and freedom on conscience is one of those. Property rights are useful, but not absolute. No man should ever be able to own another man, not even by contract.

    This is what the Western Liberal Tradition was based on, and it’s the thing that shows modern “liberals” up for not really believing in that tradition. More pragmatically though, groupthink of all kinds is bad because it leads to stagnation and domination by a narrow set of ideas. The reason Western thinkers are ahead of the world in technology is because of free thinkers.

  6. Tel

    There is no role, absolutely no role for Government in regulating whether Folau sells his speech and expression rights in contract and whether any such contract is enforced – except through the provision of Courts to arbitrate whether the contract has or has not been applied correctly.

    Without a system of law, you can’t have enforceable contracts.

    Like it or not, our current system of law comes from Parliament. I’m aware that alternative proposals have been put forward, and could even be worthy of consideration, but none of them have ever been demonstrated to work. Our modern Parliamentary system is a hybrid of the Roman Senate, the ancient Germanic “Thing”, the Greek concept of Democracy, and some religious traditions imported from the Middle East. If you think you have a better idea … you almost certainly do not.

  7. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    Israel Folau should be free to sign away/sell his speech and expression rights in an enforceable contract.

    That is an impossibility because it would require his contract to have him agree to a restraint of trade; note that restraint of trade does not need to be contractual per se (and also prevents choice of law decisions to avoid such rules).

    The common law and subsequent legislation in NSW and Federally sever the contract to the extent of the inconsistency.

  8. egg_

    There is no role, absolutely no role for Government in regulating whether Folau sells his speech and expression rights in contract and whether any such contract is enforced – except through the provision of Courts to arbitrate whether the contract has or has not been applied correctly.

    That’s my unedumacated opinion.

  9. Davey Boy

    In supporting Mr Folau (and Mrs Folau, his wife, who is a woman) apparently I am a hardcore hom0phobe, hence I have no right to hold, let alone express, any opinion on this matter.

  10. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    So basically, IT said what I said but earlier and more concisely.

  11. egg_

    To Folau or Not Folau

    AKA “He died with a felafel Folau in his hand”?

  12. nb

    Tel #3098048, posted on July 5, 2019 at 10:19 pm says:
    Like it or not, our current system of law comes from Parliament.
    Don’t forget common law, equity, etc. Much of contract is common law.

    MPH #3098044, posted on July 5, 2019 at 10:10 pm says:
    another reason why the first amendment is so brilliant.
    First amendment only applies to government – ie cannot make laws limiting speech. First amendment does not apply to private contracts.

    Seems to me the artist now known as TAFKAS has applied the correct formula here. So I say yes, yes, and yes. Now, as far as first amendment goes, and laws of parliament, when are we going to ditch the thing formerly known as the Human Rights Commission, now known as the Star Chamber.

  13. The BigBlueCat

    Section 772 of the Fairwork Australia act sets out what a person can’t be sacked for … religion and political views are 2 reasons.

    Tel is right when he says:

    Without a system of law, you can’t have enforceable contracts.

    Without a system of law, you have anarchy. And while certain libertarians might say that agreements built on trust can work quite well (and I agree, they can), unless an agreement is penned and signed, it’s not worth the paper it’s written on.

    And while “the best argument against Democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter” (Churchill) and “democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time” (also Churchill), unless someone actually comes up with a better form of political system, democracy is what we have including all its faults. Churchill also said:

    At the bottom of all the tributes paid to democracy is the little man, walking into the little booth, with a little pencil, making a little cross on a little bit of paper—no amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of that point.

    We seriously need to reject those who think that politics should be left to a political class. Waleed Aly and others can be heard in various media decrying the average voter and how wrong they get election results. Of course, the answer is the voter is never wrong when they go to the ballot box. It’s the dunderheaded elites who think they know better than the average voter who gets it wrong – just look at the last election and the various pro-ALP pundits on each of the televised media coverage.

    Naturally, these same types don’t get the Folau/RA situation either and see the sacking of Folau as a big “shut up” to those who might wish to follow Folau’s example. When ultimately those like Fitzsimons, Roberts, Castle, Beattie, et al end up with egg on their face (as I am sure they will), they should be justly pilloried and mocked for their wrong-headedness on the issues at hand.

  14. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    I am at odds with Folau and religious conservatives, but his cause is worthy.

    The ARU sacked the highest Super Rugby try scorer of all time, 100 days from the 2019 RWC.

    🤡🌎

    I hope Raelene Castle gets sacked and then sued for non-performance of her contract after this debacle is over.

    Fanatical? No. I just think competence and merit are good antidotes to clown world.

    Honk honk!

  15. none

    I liked it better when TAFKAS had retired and we didn’t have to read this sort of fascist dribble.

  16. Pyrmonter

    @ IT

    Is Michaela Benrji in the right, or wrong? Her activities were on her time. (and, fwiw, government is a special form of employer, being funded by us all, as taxpayers):

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-20/high-court-michaela-banerji–lalegale-canberra/10918304

  17. Trax

    Israel Folau should be free to sign away/sell his speech and expression rights in an enforceable contract.

    Not when it’s a monopoly associated with government creating a deliberately vague contract which the signee obviously does not agree with.
    He would not have done something they take issue with if he agreed with the contract in a free way and has the same interpretation as them. Unless you think he changed his mind and decided to deliberately antagonise them.

  18. Pyrmonter

    @ Frank Walker

    How is agreeing to conduct himself in a manner consistent with the ‘branding’ or ‘profile’ of his employer a restraint of trade? Taken to its logical limit, your argument seems to be that his agreeing to play football for them (and not someone else who might turn up with a gurnsey) is somehow a restraint of trade.

  19. Pyrmonter

    @ none

    A liberal society rests on freedom of choice. Those who insist that Folau has some inalienable right to spout scripture (Christian, or Muslim, or Spaghettitarian) would deny him the choice to forgo that right. Is that liberal, or fascist?

  20. Ben

    It’s ok for an individual to be religious and speak about their religious beliefs even if the religion has inherently discriminatory views. Words are not actions.

    The Folau saga is obviously caused by a combination of pressure from the sponsors and weak management, the sooner it comes out in court the better.

  21. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    How is agreeing to conduct himself in a manner consistent with the ‘branding’ or ‘profile’ of his employer a restraint of trade?

    Because it is intentionally vague. Part of his own personal branding, which has a definite market value, is his Pentecostal identity.

    It isn’t like Shane Warne being sponsored personally by Nicobate etc or who it was, and then getting caught out smoking durries. Clashing with QANTAS over their view (which is artificial) over gays, care bears or stuff white people like isn’t like Folau tweeting about how he loves Virgin Airlines.

    It also comes down to freedom of conscience. This begins to be Kafkaesque stuff when companies demand workers have the same political view as them. What happens when the company changes its mind?

  22. littledozer

    Another point is that RA as a monopoly is applying a catch all “code of conduct” that is open to interpretation and can be weaponised against a player at the administrations wont. It has only been applied to one player to my knowledge, while others with demonstrably worse indiscretions have been excused.

  23. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    So, litteldozer has demonstrated at least an apprehension of bias.

  24. Frosty

    Not only is this not right, it’s so confused that it is not even wrong.

  25. jupes

    To Folau or Not Folau

    I think in your case TAFKAS, it would have been far less embarrassing to Not Folau.

  26. Fair shake of the Sauce bottle

    I believe in a Wimbledon where every tennis player has the right to be judged by the swoosh on his shoes and not by the content of his serve. I have a dream!

  27. Tombell

    Not sure I agree in the majesty of the power of contract . Could Folau contractually agree to terminate his life if he failed to achieve a certain number of tries per season? Not in any enforceable way. It’s just that freedom of certain speech/ certain religious viewpoints is treated as a lesser right to which contact law may apply.

  28. Iampeter

    No Spartacus, no contract or employment issue will ever have anything to do with free speech.
    Free speech pertains ONLY to government regulation.
    In terms of the things people here are saying about contracts, it’s pointless to sign contracts, selling yourself into slavery, or allowing crimes to be committed against you, since such contracts cannot be enforced.

    These areas of confusion are the result of trying to discuss politics without first knowing how rights work and what a governments role should be with respect to rights and why.

    The Folau case is just another shameful example that not only are conservatives SJW-level leftists, but they are politically illiterate too.

  29. mem

    So a New Zealander and an Irishman have just taken out Australia’s best player. Certainly gives the advantage to some other countries in the tournament.

  30. P

    In the fallout of Folau, an opportunity to prevent another Porteous case
    by Chris Merritt, 12:00AM July 6, 2019
    The Weekend Australian (paywalled)

    A fairly long but interesting article.

  31. What has RA done that’s stopped other players from speaking up. Folau isn’t alone there. Why isn’t this also being put under the microscope.

  32. P

    I presume the Porteous case refers to this case reported here and not behind a paywall https://www.acl.org.au/archbishop_porteous_escapes_further_trial_but_anti_discrimination_laws_still_hinder_free_speech#splash-signup

    Andrew in the comments of The Weekend Australian article by Chris Merritt:
    Porteous was the dead canary in the cage. We ignored the warning.

  33. Percy Popinjay

    What happens when the company changes its mind?

    Then we’ll always have been at war with Eastasia.

    As much as I detest him as an individual, Alan Jones got it 100% correct when he said this:

    “We have people playing rugby league and rugby union in this country who have abused women, traded in drugs, stripped naked on pub balconies, gouged players’ eyes, have driven vehicles when drunk — they continue to play. A young Polynesian Christian quotes from his Bible and he is banned for life”

    The “optics” of this entire disgraceful farce are absolutely awful.

  34. Percy Popinjay

    These areas of confusion are the result of trying to discuss politics without first knowing how rights work and what a governments role should be with respect to rights and why.

    Utterly pretentious gibberish with zero relevance to the subject of this post (again).

  35. Tim Neilson

    pbw
    #3098039, posted on July 5, 2019 at 9:58 pm
    And, of course, Israel Folau should be free to sign himself into bondage as a slave. Enlightened societies have allowed this.

    Yes.

    This is why absolutes like TAKFAS’ 3 points are inevitably wrong.

    Surely even the “freedom of contract” fetishists would accept that the law shouldn’t enforce to the letter a contract by which a desperately impoverished person signed on for a lifetime of indentured servitude indistinguishable from slavery (say for example including a contractual clause to agree to a novation to any new owner – sorry I mean “employer” – that the initial contracting employer chooses).

    As usual, instead of starting with blind worship of an absolute and then demanding that reality be shoehorned into it, the real questions are:
    (a) whether Folau’s contract actually did preclude him doing what he did – if it didn’t it’s game over with Folau the winner and we need proceed no further, except to condemn the scum who are sneering at Folau for attempting to have that issue adjudicated;
    But presuming the contract would on its face preclude him doing what he did…
    (b) in what circumstances would we accept that, clearly, the law should not enforce of the letter of a contract of employment – e.g. effective slavery? Are there others?;
    (c ) can we draw some general principles from those circumstances to guide us as to the extent, if any, that an employment contract could legitimately be enforced to restrict the employee’s free speech?;
    (d) applying those principles to Folau’s case, what conclusion do we reach as to it?

    Assuming we need to progress to (b) etc., we’d presumably accept that if RA paid him out for the full four years that they’d freely contracted him for, and refrained from any actionable damage against him, there’d be no problem. (That is, we’d accept that the selectors can’t be forced to play him, though I suspect many rugby fans wish they could be).

    But RA didn’t do that. So we do get to the difficult bit.

    Factors touted in favour of enforcement seem to be that:
    it was a highly paid job – that’s not necessarily irrelevant, because if it could be shown that the level of compensation reflected relevant expectations as to off-field conduct, that weighs in favour of allowing the restriction to be enforced;
    it’s only for four years – hmm, if it had been e.g. for the few weeks of a world cup tournament then I’d imagine most people might accept it, whereas if it purported to be for life they wouldn’t – four years is debateable;
    Folau had at least some degree of forewarning about this issue – not sure that that makes a difference as a matter of principle. It just goes more to interpreting whether the contract does in fact restrict him the way RA are claiming.

    I don’t know how the law works in this instance but in an ideal world RA would lose unless they can prove not just that the contract did in fact impose the restriction but also that the restriction was clearly justified by reference to the needs of RA’s business.

    And my own view is that even if the contract does on its face preclude Folau from giving an honest and sincere description of his understanding of the genuine doctrines of his religion, with no malice intended towards anyone – which is very clearly what happened – RA should lose.

  36. Rococo Liberal

    Yes, Folau is able to enter into a contract whereby he agrees not to say certain things that otherwise he could say without hindrance. However, there are limits to this rule. I don’t think this is a case where those limits apply, simply because the real argument is whether what he said brought the game into disrepute. I would have thought the onus of proof on that score would lie with RA. It would interesting to see how they would adduce evidence to show that an expression of Christian doctrine could ever cause harm to any sporting code.

    I would have thought Folau had a counterclaim against RA under the anti discrimination legislation as they sacked him for expressing his religious views.

  37. Tim Neilson

    In terms of the things people here are saying about contracts, it’s pointless to sign contracts, selling yourself into slavery, or allowing crimes to be committed against you, since such contracts cannot be enforced.

    Poor old Iamashiteater, so hopelessly confused yet again.

    Yes, there’s a reason why those kinds of contracts can’t be enforced, as a matter of the laws of the land. The general principle of freedom of contract is qualified by prohibitions against contracting into certain situations which are so harmful to the contracting party that the law simply won’t enforce the contract.

    The question is whether, an any particular case of a contract restricting a person’s liberty to speak freely. the restriction is so harmful as to require the general principle of freedom of contract to give way in that case – i.e. whether contractual remedies (e.g. summary dismissal without notice, where the contract is for a fixed term) for that particular contractual restriction CAN”T BE ENFORCED.

    Only a simpleton or mental defective could fail to understand that that question can’t be answered just by reciting the “freedom of contract” mantra.

    In Folau’s case the answer may be that freedom of contract should prevail (though I think it shouldn’t). If it can’t, then RA is not obliged to keep Folau in the squad but they have to pay him four years’ wages.

  38. Roger

    Israel Folau should be free to sign away/sell his speech and expression rights in an enforceable contract.

    Er, no…a person cannot renounce or sell his human rights in a contract. The contract would thereby become invalid.

    And if you want to change this what the heck are you doing posting on a blog that purports to uphold human liberty?

  39. HP

    For the life of me, I do not understand why libertarians are trying to make this about contracts.
    It’s not about contracts. It never was.

    It is not in Folau’s contract, so he says. I am pretty sure he checked that.
    May be it is a way for libertarians to at least discuss the entire sordid Folau sacking. Since libertarians start from the premise that only the government can coerce, this whole Folau things has got them confounded. Coercion by non-government actors simply does not compute – to a libertarian, that is. It is their blind spot.

    Having worked in the private sector for 20+ years and being allergic to the sort of employer interference in private matters Folau experiences now, I bet this is not a matter of contract. That is: a contract as a document, written in black and white. This is about the signed contract, it is about what behaviour or actions an employer can or cannot imply, assert or otherwise bully their employers into on the threat of losing their job, not getting promoted, etc.. The stuff that is NOT in the written contract.

    A recent unrelated experience I had, for instance, is that an employer attempted to dictate how my personal LinkedIn page should look: that I use the company banner and format. I thought that was over the line. But at least that was commercially relevant.

    I am not an accountant, but I think this is what is going on:

    On the annual financial report, listed under Intangible Assets, are entries like Goodwill and Brand Names and Trademarks. These are sizable dollar amounts. For Qantas the Goodwill was $207mln and Brand names and trademarks was $25mln for the financial year 2017.

    The false premise that has been inserted in the Folau sacking: the lie on which the entire case to sack Folau rests, is that this valuation of either Goodwill, or Brand name or both, are negatively impacted by his Bible quotes. That is the lie.

    Companies are compiling Value Statements that read like a Greens’ manifestos. They are asserting that “these are our values”. And I suspect they would claim these “stated company values” increase the Intangible Asset entries like Goodwill, Brand name, or both.

    Now you can say a company like Qantas has no business inserting themselves in the SSM debate or Gay Rights, but they would point at their Intangible Assets section and claim that via their company values adding to Goodwill and Brand name value it actually is their business. And consequently, if an employee makes public statements contrary to their company values in their own time, they appear to claim that these Intangible Assets are negatively impacted.

    So basically:
    You take the false premise of left wing politics having value, implying right wing politics reduces value.
    Then you add some accounting trickery in how to calculate this value.
    And there you go: companies suddenly have made left wing activism their business. Accountant says so, so it’s legit.

    What worries me is this look like a path to making expressions of politically right ideas, punishable in quantifiable terms. Similar to CO2 being a quantifiable way to punish consumers. I have been warning about this for years, actually. I had already noticed that the hiring process of companies has become politicised – as in: post right wing views on the internet and you don’t get the job. Their reasons for discriminating based on political views is similar reasons, I bet.

    There is a lot you can write about this. And fortunately the CIS is picking this up. But it has nothing to do with contracts. This stuff is not in contracts. It’s the mechanism by which the companies make left wing activism their business that is the problem.

  40. Tim Neilson

    Since libertarians start from the premise that only the government can coerce, this whole Folau things has got them confounded. Coercion by non-government actors simply does not compute – to a libertarian, that is. It is their blind spot.

    Thanks HP, that is spot on.

    And in fact the distinction between “government” and “non-government” action isn’t always simple, so a binary categorisation based only on whether the protagonist is or isn’t “government” is simply unrealistic.

    Consider the following range of scenarios, as to whether X is “restricting” free speech:
    (a) X is acting a the government of a jurisdiction and is universally recognised as legitimate in international law. It decrees that publishing Mo cartoons is a criminal offence.
    (b) X is acting as the government of a jurisdiction, and there’s considerable controversy in international law as to whether it’s legitimate. It decrees that publishing Mo cartoons is a criminal offence.
    (c ) X is ISIS. It has de facto control over territory and purports to act as the “government” though it is not recognised as such in international law. It decrees that publishing Mo cartoons is a criminal offence.
    (d) X is a faction fighting in a civil war which claims to be the rightful government. Control over the relevant area is dubious and shifting. It decrees that publishing Mo cartoons is a criminal offence.
    (e) X is a Muslim insurgent group that can act with impunity for all practical purposes in an area of a non-Muslim country (say the Philippines), and wants “independence” (after which it expects to form the government). It warns people that anyone publishing Mo cartoons will be killed.
    (f) X is a Muslim mob in Muslim country. It threatens to kill anyone who draws Mo cartoons. The government has enacted laws supposedly forbidding such mob violence but those laws are never enforced.

    By breaking away from the libertarian fantasy that only governments can coerce we can free ourselves from the kind of angels on the head of a pin casuistry that libertarians would have to apply to some of these scenarios.

  41. I_am_not_a_robot

    It seems that defence of freedom of speech depends on whether people agree or not with the sentiment expressed, at least in her recent comments on Israel Folau Gillian Triggs is being consistent.

  42. I_am_not_a_robot

    To clarify Triggs in the end says McIntyre’s sacking was “disproportionate” (not a view expressed on Australia’s leading right-of-centre blog at the time) and has a similar view in Folau’s case.

  43. Angus Black

    I think the other question is whether a monopoly employer should be able to insist on Folau signing his freedom away if he wishes to work in his chosen career.

    …a publicly funded but not remotely security sensitive employer…

    …who appears to change/reinterpret employment conditions unilaterally and at random interests

    …and enforce its sponsors-of-the-moment’s prejudices without consideration of its “employees” (especially sine RA is arguably not an employer but a servant of the players.

  44. Tim Neilson

    Since libertarians start from the premise that only the government can coerce, this whole Folau things has got them confounded. Coercion by non-government actors simply does not compute – to a libertarian, that is. It is their blind spot.

    [Hopefully moderator-proof this time.]

    Thanks HP, that is spot on.

    And in fact the distinction between “government” and “non-government” action isn’t always simple, so a binary categorisation based only on whether the protagonist is or isn’t “government” is simply unrealistic.

    Consider the following range of scenarios, as to whether X is “restricting” free speech:
    (a) X is acting a the government of a jurisdiction and is universally recognised as legitimate in international law. It decrees that publishing Mo cartoons is a criminal offence.
    (b) X is acting as the government of a jurisdiction, and there’s considerable controversy in international law as to whether it’s legitimate. It decrees that publishing Mo cartoons is a criminal offence.
    (c ) X is lS!S. It has de facto control over territory and purports to act as the “government” though it is not recognised as such in international law. It decrees that publishing Mo cartoons is a criminal offence.
    (d) X is a faction fighting in a civil war which claims to be the rightful government. Control over the relevant area is dubious and shifting. It decrees that publishing Mo cartoons is a criminal offence.
    (e) X is a Mvsl!m insurgent group that can act with impunity for all practical purposes in an area of a non-Mvsl!m country (say the Philippines), and wants “independence” (after which it expects to form the government). It warns people that anyone publishing Mo cartoons will be killed.
    (f) X is a Mvsl!m mob in a Mvsl!m country. It threatens to kill anyone who draws Mo cartoons. The government has enacted laws supposedly forbidding such mob violence but those laws are never enforced.

    By breaking away from the libertarian fantasy that only governments can coerce we can free ourselves from the kind of angels on the head of a pin casuistry that libertarians would have to apply to some of these scenarios.

  45. Tel

    Don’t forget common law, equity, etc. Much of contract is common law.

    I would argue that the common law position is in Folau’s favour, because if you sign a “code of conduct” with your employer, the traditional interpretation has always been that it applies AT WORK and not in your personal life. The employer is hiring you for a particular task, they are not buying your entire life. Possibly if the contract explicitly says, “We own your entire life” maybe that would show a voluntary meeting of the minds, but that’s irrelevant because no employment contract every says that, nor does any normal person ever think that.

    That’s been the standard interpretation of the concept of employment as long as we have had the concept.

    Even based on that … if ALL EMPLOYEES sign the same code of conduct to be “inclusive” then saying that you have to be automatically in favour of the gay position and opposed to the Christian position is hardly even handed. Clearly this “code of conduct” is being applied in a one-sided manner. More than that, Folau made a fair effort to be “inclusive” and has supported gay rugby players in the past, he simply wants to make clear what the Bible says about sin and being saved by Jesus. I have not seen one employee of Rugby Australia make equivalent effort in Folau’s favour. That’s one of the fundamental things about equity law, the whole clean hands doctrine. RA doesn’t have clean hands in this case as far as I can see it.

  46. Iampeter

    For the life of me, I do not understand why libertarians are trying to make this about contracts.
    It’s not about contracts. It never was.

    It’s not even about contracts.
    This matter is as simple as an employee repeatedly refusing to comply with a perfectly reasonable request from his employer and being sacked for it. That’s it.

    But even if it was about contracts, no contract or employment issue will ever be a free speech issue.

    Since libertarians start from the premise that only the government can coerce, this whole Folau things has got them confounded.

    Personally not a libertarian, but that’s not the premise, nor what the issue is about.
    People trying to turn this into a free speech issue are the ones “confounded” to say the least.
    So to them, there’s an attempt to clarify, that it is only the government that can engage in the specific coercion that would lead to a violation of free speech or religion. No private actor can do that.
    This should be obvious on the face of it. I mean, if firing someone could violate free speech, no one could get fired.
    But no one is saying private actors can’t engage in other kinds of coercion/crime against you.

    All that’s being said is that none of this has anything to do with the Folau issue.
    Folau has not been coerced.
    No firing, right or wrong, would ever qualify as coercion.
    On a side note, this doesn’t go both ways. RA can argue quite a bit of coercion against them and I’ve said before that RA should have lawyers investigate counter suits for defamation and incitement, seeking millions of dollars in compensation, for the damages that Folau and the ACL have caused their business.
    Also, if the PM had said anything, or actually stepped in on this issue, like the ACL demanded, then we would indeed have a massive violation of free speech and religious freedom, among numerous other leftist violations.
    But RA just want this to go away ASAP, so nothing will happen.

    In any case, what those of us you label “libertarians” are pointing out, is that not only have many missed the actual issue here, but by trying to turn it into an issue of “free speech,” or “religious freedom,” they have demonstrated staggering ignorance of fundamental political concepts.

    The Folau saga has exposed professional conservatives as not merely wrong on an issue, but clueless on the subject of politics.

    Which is a bit of a problem for a political movement…

  47. stackja

    To freedom or not to freedom.

  48. stackja

    Petering out on many occasions.

  49. J.H.

    Can I sign a contract that sells me into slavery? Or would the courts rule against?…… It’s a contract after all.

    Why would courts not allow citizens to sell themselves into slavery?

    All rights are equal…. but some rights are more equal than others. I think Orwell wrote something similar about legs.

    I dunno…. Just musing.

  50. Old Lefty

    The public Left is furiously muddying the waters by drawi g bogus comparisons with church schools and the public service, so let’s make a couple of helpful distinctions.

    1. Folau is paid to score tries and goals, and assist other gem members to do so. His views on religion, buggery – and for that matter the price of peanuts – are utterly irrelevant

    2. A teacher in a church school is paid by parents who expect that their children will receive an education consistent with their beliefs. So public opposition to Christian precepts is relevant to their employment.

    3. Public servants are paid to give loyal and diligent service to Her Majesty’s government of the day. Therefore public opposition to government policy or public denigration of the government is incompatible with the terms of their employment.

    Comparison between 1 and either of 2 and 3 is thus bogus.

  51. Old Lefty

    That should have been ‘pubic Left’ at the start. Damn autocorrect!

  52. Old Lefty

    And ‘other team members’ in point 1.

  53. Percy Popinjay

    Personally not a libertarian, but that’s not the premise, nor what the issue is about.

    You are a total fuckwit, which we already knew. You are also claiming that the absurdity of an agent being deprived of his livelihood for transmitting a passage from a text on an electronic message board on his own time about nothing of any relevance to his profession is not what we are commenting about.

    FFS, just go away, you narcissistic staggeringly ignorant illiterate innumerate ahistorical imbecile.

    Enough.

  54. Tel

    Can I sign a contract that sells me into slavery?

    There’s no one who can stop you from signing it, but in Australia it is not a valid contract because Parliament has decided that the property right you are attempting to sell does not exist. Whether this is a State or Federal decision is an interesting question … but kind of irrelevant since almost everyone agrees that we don’t want slavery.

  55. Tel

    Why would courts not allow citizens to sell themselves into slavery?

    The courts can only rule on the laws that they are provided with … they cannot create new property rights out of thin air. There is a common law which is based on tradition and encompasses some very old property rights, but other than that the rest are decided by Parliament. It’s not a matter for the courts to “allow”, it’s only for the courts to judge the law as it stands.

  56. Tim Neilson

    it is only the government that can engage in the specific coercion that would lead to a violation of free speech or religion. No private actor can do that.

    Suppose:
    (a) in a Mvsl!m country the government passes a law that blaspheming Mo gets the death sentence – they carry out their threats against the first to overstep the line and reiterate the threat;
    (b) elsewhere a Mvsl!m terr0r!st organisation announces that blaspheming Mo is punishable by death – they carry out their threats a la Charlie Hebdo against the first to overstep the line and reiterate the threat.

    To say that (a) is violating free speech rights but (b) isn’t requires a level of detachment from reality that few sentient life forms could attain.

    Equating “violation” with “violation of the type that’s ultimately backed by edicts of general application that meet Hart’s ‘rule of recognition’ test” is the kind of thing that gives asinine bloviation a bad name.

  57. Percy Popinjay

    requires a level of detachment from reality that few sentient life forms could attain

    iampeta is neither sentient, a life form, nor in any way, shape or form remotely attached, even by sheer coincidence, to reality.

    It exists in the same way a blind immobile organism exists under a rock.

  58. Percy Popinjay

    Bluddee hell — that’s what happens when you raid Pedro FitzSimians comma jar.

  59. John A

    Iampeter #3098544, posted on July 6, 2019, at 5:56 pm

    For the life of me, I do not understand why libertarians are trying to make this about contracts.
    It’s not about contracts. It never was.

    It’s not even about contracts.
    This matter is as simple as an employee repeatedly refusing to comply with a perfectly reasonable request from his employer and being sacked for it. That’s it.

    There you go again, misunderstanding the key point.

    An employer, knowing already what their employee believes in, trying to command and limit the speech of said employee in their private life without any brands present, is NOT a reasonable request, is totally imperfect and does not carry with it a penalty of banishment from the sport for which the contract was signed.

    Also, the employer was already on notice that Izzy would not wear such a restriction because he had declined to agree to such a mid-term amendment to the contract. Therefore the requisite restraint was NOT a part of the contract, was NOT a part of the surrounding milieu and should NOT have been the reason for a hit job.

  60. The BigBlueCat

    This matter is as simple as an employee repeatedly refusing to comply with a perfectly reasonable request from his employer and being sacked for it. That’s it.

    If RA requested Folau to remove the post, it wasn’t a reasonable request, even by your standards, Iampeter. JohnA is correct.

    But it is a workplace law issue, and under Sec. 772 of the Fair Work Australia Act, employers must not terminate an employee for certain unlawful reasons (these reasons fall within your “any reason” category, making your claim null and void). Among those reasons are “religion” and “political opinion”. Which applies to Folau’s case?

    In terms of coercion, this is not limited to Governments as well you know. Individuals can be actors in coercion. All it takes is force. If you were tied and gagged and prevented from speaking or writing, you are forced into being unable to express yourself other than in grunts and eye rolls. But you couldn’t cry for help, or even quote the Bible! RA attempted to gag Folau under threat of being fired – “remove the offending post or you will be terminated”. Folau refused. But RA can be considered to have applied force (albeit not physical), but in terminating Folau there is also the implied threat that if he tried to take the field to play rugby in an RA-sanctioned game, he would be forcibly removed. His right to “work” for RA under his contract has been (allegedly unlawfully) removed by RA, and will be enforced (literally).

    Even Ayn Rand understood the application of force (physical or other) in preventing someone from exercising their rights (eg. the pursuit of their values) … why can’t you?

  61. Iampeter

    Can I sign a contract that sells me into slavery? Or would the courts rule against?…… It’s a contract after all.

    You can’t sign such a contract because it would be unenforceable.
    The function of government is supposed to be to protect rights and the legal system is supposed to facilitate that.
    It can’t violate your rights even if you agree to it.

    This is why I mentioned earlier in this thread that understanding of rights, the government role with respect to them and why, are pre-requisites to discussing politics.

    Without this you get all sorts of zany confusion like potentially supporting crimes because the word “contract” is involved.

  62. Iampeter

    You are a total fuckwit, which we already knew. You are also claiming that the absurdity of an agent being deprived of his livelihood for transmitting a passage from a text on an electronic message board on his own time about nothing of any relevance to his profession is not what we are commenting about.

    I’m not saying that’s not what you’re commenting on, but that what you’re commenting on is not what the Folau issue is about.
    I know it’s what you wish it was about, because that’s the only thing that lines up with your mindless, NPC talking points.

    To say that (a) is violating free speech rights but (b) isn’t requires a level of detachment from reality that few sentient life forms could attain.

    Example (a) is indeed censorship, specifically of the people that live in a country with such law.
    Example (b) is no more censorship than any other crime. That’s why we don’t charge terrorists with “censorship” LOL.

    I do love how you guys can’t even wrap your heads around things like “free speech” and “censorship,” yet still think you’re the ones in a position to be scornfully laughing at anyone.

    The sheer ignorance and stupidity at the Cat, together with total evasion and projection of your own deficiencies onto others, makes this one of the best lolcow websites on the internet.

  63. Iampeter

    There you go again, misunderstanding the key point.
    An employer, knowing already what their employee believes in, trying to command and limit the speech of said employee in their private life without any brands present, is NOT a reasonable request, is totally imperfect and does not carry with it a penalty of banishment from the sport for which the contract was signed.

    That’s not the main point. That’s what you wish the main point was so you could regurgitate your talking points and pretend you’re discussing the issue.
    Phrases like “reasonable request” have specific meaning, not what you feel it should mean at any given point in time.
    For example, an unreasonable request would be something that is outside an employee’s skill sets or a criminal action of some kind.
    Requesting your million dollar walking advertisement to stop mouthing off on social media, is not unreasonable and happens all the time.

    On the other hand, a millionaire sports star, that’s employed on million dollar contracts for years and years, accusing same employer of religious discrimination, should be laughable on the face of it.

  64. dover_beach

    For example, an unreasonable request would be something that is outside an employee’s skill sets or a criminal action of some kind.

    According to IamMengele, it would not be unreasonable for an employer to sack an employee who refused to stop eating meat having made repeated requests to the employee to do so, since this can be neither beyond his ‘skill set’ nor criminal.

  65. Iampeter

    No dover, nothing in your absurd non-sequitur has anything to do with anything.
    You are autism and Dunning-Kruger incarnate.

    Although, the same can be said about so many posters here that I probably shouldn’t just single you out…

  66. dover_beach

    No dover, nothing in your absurd non-sequitur has anything to do with anything.

    Not at all. It was on point and demolished your claim completely.

  67. Tel

    You are autism and Dunning-Kruger incarnate.

    No you are!

  68. Iampeter

    Not at all. It was on point and demolished your claim completely.

    All I’m saying, is that a business should be able to fire people for repeatedly refusing to follow reasonable instructions.
    How was what you posted, “on point?”
    How did your post demolish this claim?

  69. Iampeter

    You are autism and Dunning-Kruger incarnate.

    No you are!

    Yep. This is the serious level of “political discourse” at Australia’s leading Libertarian and Centre-Right blog, LOL.

  70. dover_beach

    All I’m saying, is that a business should be able to fire people for repeatedly refusing to follow reasonable instructions.
    How was what you posted, “on point?”
    How did your post demolish this claim?

    Because I gave an example that satisfied ‘skill set’ and ‘not criminal’ and was nevertheless still patently unreasonable.

  71. Tel

    Yep. This is the serious level of “political discourse” at Australia’s leading Libertarian and Centre-Right blog, LOL.

    Precisely at your own level. I was hoping to come up with something childish enough for you to understand.

  72. Iampeter

    All I’m saying, is that a business should be able to fire people for repeatedly refusing to follow reasonable instructions.
    How was what you posted, “on point?”
    How did your post demolish this claim?

    Because I gave an example that satisfied ‘skill set’ and ‘not criminal’ and was nevertheless still patently unreasonable.

    Is that an answer?
    What do you think my claim was, that you think your response is “on point” about?
    How did your response “demolish” my claim?

  73. Iampeter

    Yep. This is the serious level of “political discourse” at Australia’s leading Libertarian and Centre-Right blog, LOL.

    Precisely at your own level. I was hoping to come up with something childish enough for you to understand.

    Like I said:

    The sheer ignorance and stupidity at the Cat, together with total evasion and projection of your own deficiencies onto others, makes this one of the best lolcow websites on the internet.

  74. dover_beach

    You’re floundering, IamMengele.

  75. Tel

    The sheer ignorance and stupidity at the Cat, together with total evasion and projection of your own deficiencies onto others, makes this one of the best lolcow websites on the internet.

    No you are!

  76. Crossie

    It also comes down to freedom of conscience. This begins to be Kafkaesque stuff when companies demand workers have the same political view as them. What happens when the company changes its mind?

    In this case company has changed its mind from no opinion on LBQT issue to be the same as that of the main sponsor. It could be that the opinion change was not influenced by the sponsor though it has still changed.

  77. Iampeter

    You’re floundering, IamMengele.

    I’m just giving you yet another chance to demonstrate you’re not a clueless idiot and putting it to you as straight as possible.

    What claim of mine did you demolish and how?

    How am I foundering, by asking you to say something clearly?

    See why I generally just ignore you?

    Bye, bye nut job.

  78. Crossie

    littledozer
    #3098095, posted on July 5, 2019 at 11:26 pm
    Another point is that RA as a monopoly is applying a catch all “code of conduct” that is open to interpretation and can be weaponised against a player at the administrations wont. It has only been applied to one player to my knowledge, while others with demonstrably worse indiscretions have been excused.

    That has been noted by the population at large but conveniently brushed aside by the media which leads to me think that speech they don’t like, not even against the law, is now considered the most heinous of crimes.

  79. Crossie

    air shake of the Sauce bottle
    #3098137, posted on July 6, 2019 at 12:11 am
    I believe in a Wimbledon where every tennis player has the right to be judged by the swoosh on his shoes and not by the content of his serve. I have a dream!

    Don’t think it can’t happen. In the former USSR and Eastern Germany only the children of good party members were trained and developed to perform on the international scene and then even they defected to the West at every opportunity. Where will we be able to defect to?

  80. dover_beach

    No, no, you are floundering, IamMengele. I directly quoted your most relevent assertion and directly exposed its obvious weakness. All you’re doing now is pretending that you haven’t been clearly and successfully rebutted.

  81. Tel

    Bye, bye nut job.

    No you are!

  82. Iampeter

    No, no, you are floundering, IamMengele. I directly quoted your most relevent assertion and directly exposed its obvious weakness. All you’re doing now is pretending that you haven’t been clearly and successfully rebutted.

    My “most relevant assertion” was that a business should be able to fire an employee for repeatedly refusing a reasonable instruction.
    Where did you quote this?
    What was it’s “obvious weakness?”

    You still haven’t answered your previous claims of being “on point” and “demolishing” my claim, which you can’t even identity correctly and I’ve now had to point it out to you myself, but you’re adding new points you won’t able to answer either?

  83. Tim Neilson

    Example (a) is indeed censorship, specifically of the people that live in a country with such law.
    Example (b) is no more censorship than any other crime. That’s why we don’t charge terrorists with “censorship” LOL.

    Why do you assume that any violation of free speech rights must be something that falls within the descriptive term “censorship”?

    Poor old Iamashiteater.

    And are you seriously suggesting that a crime can’t be a rights violation?

    Poor old Iamashiteater.

    PS “censorship” isn’t actually a crime, so how could we “charge” terrorists with it?

    Poor old Iamashiteater.

  84. Tim Neilson

    Example (a) is indeed censorship, specifically of the people that live in a country with such law.
    Example (b) is no more censorship than any other crime. That’s why we don’t charge terrorists with “censorship” LOL.

    Basic lesson in logic:

    The mere fact that two concepts aren’t synonymous doesn’t mean that they’re mutually exclusive.

    Here, “crime” and “rights violation” are not synonymous, but one action can be both a crime and a rights violation.

  85. egg_

    a level of detachment from reality that few sentient life forms could attain.

    That would be the parallel Clown Universe.

  86. Kneel

    Another point is that RA as a monopoly…

    Monopsony, actually – the single purchaser (suppliers are paid by them) from a vast array of potential suppliers (players).
    The point is well made, never the less. Even more so when one realises that they are affiliated with the only other potential purchasers – overseas ones – and those potential purchasers would be heavily influenced not to purchase from this particular supplier.
    I keep using “purchaser” and “supplier” because it puts a very different light on it, does it not? If we were talking about GaffTech5000 Wunda-Widgets, would we consider the “purchaser” to be acting appropriately? Hmmm… perhaps contract law and rights be damned – it’s an anti-trust case!

  87. Iampeter

    Why do you assume that any violation of free speech rights must be something that falls within the descriptive term “censorship”?

    The sentence is gibberish. There is no “any” violation of free speech.
    Only government can violate free speech, by regulation and enforcement and the word “censorship” is used to describe this activity and nothing else.

    What you’ve described in example (b) is just an act of violence and that alone isn’t censorship, otherwise every act of violence would be censorship, which would render the word meaningless.

    Basic lesson in logic:

    The mere fact that two concepts aren’t synonymous doesn’t mean that they’re mutually exclusive.

    What? You haven’t understood the concept of “censorship” and your second concept has no relationship to it and is a non-sequitur. Ie how did you go from (a) censorship, to therefore another random activity (b) also being censorship?

    You are not in a position to give anyone lessons in logic. Or anything really, so take it down a couple of notches.

  88. Tim Neilson

    Poor old Iamashiteater.

    There is no “any” violation of free speech.

    Even if every violation of free speech were identical, “any” is still the correct logical tool for the analysis e.g. “any proton” or “any photon” is perfectly sound in logic even if every proton or photon is identical.
    Pathetic logic fail at step 1, Iamashiteater.

    Only government can violate free speech, by regulation and enforcement and the word “censorship” is used to describe this activity and nothing else.

    Another epic logic fail. Even if it were true that the word “censorship” described only government restriction on free speech by regulation and enforcement*, that wouldn’t prove that “censorship” was the only form of free speech violation.
    “All A is B, and A is a C” doesn’t lead to the conclusion that all C is B.
    “Only government can violate free speech” is an unsubstantiated mantra that is simply at odds with observable reality. You’re starting with your own “all swans are white” delusion and then insisting that a black swan can’t really be a swan (or can’t really be black).
    (* BTW, so a private school can’t censor its students’ social media?)

    You haven’t understood the concept of “censorship”

    See above. I think you’re the failure on that point. But it’s irrelevant. I never purported to restrict my analysis to “censorship”. Indeed I didn’t mention it at all.

    your second concept has no relationship to it

    Irrelevant – see above.

    Ie how did you go from (a) censorship, to therefore another random activity (b) also being censorship?

    I didn’t. Epic logic fail again, Iamashiteater. I said it was a violation of free speech.

    If you want people to accept that “censorship” as defined by you is the only “violation of free speech” you’re going to have to prove it, not just bloviate it in total defiance of observable reality.

  89. dover_beach

    My “most relevant assertion” was that a business should be able to fire an employee for repeatedly refusing a reasonable instruction.
    Where did you quote this?
    What was it’s “obvious weakness?”

    You are still floundering, IamMengele. You said upthread:

    It’s not even about contracts.
    This matter is as simple as an employee repeatedly refusing to comply with a perfectly reasonable request from his employer and being sacked for it. That’s it.

    So what I did above (an employer requiring an employee to abstain from meat) exposed your argument by means of a reductio ad absurdum, given you said that an unreasonable request entailed asking an employee to perform an action he lacks the skills to perform (skill set) or asking them to steal or defraud another (criminal), since abstaining from meat neither requires skill nor is it criminal.
    Now, you might want to merely assume that requiring an employee to abstain from expressing their religious beliefs, etc. on social media constitutes a ‘reasonable request’ but to do so is to beg the question. given that the reasonableness of such a request is precisely what is at issue.

  90. Iampeter

    Tim, it’s really easy.
    A private actor can no more censor you than they can dictatorship you, or any other concept used to denote specific actions of the state.
    Speech codes at universities, tech companies refusing conservative content, firing someone, etc, will never be censorship. In fact, those actions are examples of free speech in action, among numerous other freedoms, like property rights, freedom of association, etc.

    You and many others, are simply using terms you don’t understand, in contexts you also don’t understand. You simply don’t get it and keep projecting your own shortcomings onto me.
    You have doubled down on this too much now that there is no recovering.
    You have no business on political blogs.

    Dover, you can clearly see my argument was not about what constitutes a reasonable request or not, which is what you have confused it with, thus making your posts non-sequiturs.
    So you’ve clearly not been “on point,” or “demolished” anything.

    At no point have you understood what I’ve said and have just been trying to have a debate on a point I wasn’t debating.
    So your post was not, “reductio ad absurdum,” it was just absurdum. An absurd non-sequitur, just like I said.

    Also, if we were going to debate what constitutes a reasonable request or not, we would not be doing it by listing absurd examples. You would argue it by putting forward an argument.
    This is something you cannot do, which is why you always rely on non-sequiturs instead.
    You also don’t belong on political blogs.

  91. Percy Popinjay

    A private actor can no more censor you than they can dictatorship you

    Speech codes at universities, tech companies refusing conservative content, firing someone, etc, will never be censorship

    You truly are an irredeemable incoherent imbecile.

  92. dover_beach

    Dover, you can clearly see my argument was not about what constitutes a reasonable request or not, which is what you have confused it with, thus making your posts non-sequiturs.
    So you’ve clearly not been “on point,” or “demolished” anything.

    IamMengele. you are still floundering. In your own words:

    This matter is as simple as an employee repeatedly refusing to comply with a perfectly reasonable request from his employer and being sacked for it. That’s it.

    My response was on point and it completely demolished your argument, such as it was. And I did it while having breakfast.

  93. Tim Neilson

    Poor old Iamashiteater.

    No matter how clearly it’s spelled out to him he can’t get over his “all swans are white – therefore that black swan can’t really be a black swan” delusion.

    A government passes a law “if you say X you’ll get 10 strokes of the rattan cane”.

    Antifa announces “if you say X we’ll beat you up”.

    Pathetic logic fail imbecile Iamashiteater says the government are violating free speech rights but Antifa aren’t violating free speech rights because they’re not “government” and therefore can’t impose “censorship”, and a crime can’t be a rights violation.

    As a textbook example of category error and non sequitur it’s hard to beat.

  94. Tim:

    As a textbook example of category error and non sequitur it’s hard to beat.

    Realistically, Tim, you need to factor in Genius Level Stupidity.

  95. Tel

    Antifa announces “if you say X we’ll beat you up”.

    While local government conveniently looks the other way. Notice how Linwood Michael Kaine does the fascist thuggery gig, while his dad Tim Kaine does the political candidate gig. Almost like they could be related … huh!

  96. Iampeter

    Yea you guys are right.

    You are too big brained and genius for me.

    A lot of exceptional individuals here.

  97. Tim Neilson

    Iamashiteater, one of the major reasons you beclown yourself so regularly is that you consistently use purely descriptive terms as if they were definitive, and then attempt to base “reasoning” (in your case I use the term loosely) on them, when only genuinely definitive terms (or purely algebraic concepts) can be used as the basis for rigorous logic.

    As a matter of logic, the meaning of the word “censorship” is actually utterly irrelevant to the points I’ve been making all along, for all of the reasons I’ve outlined above, but just for the record, below is the American Civil Liberties Union’s definition of “censorship”.

    Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are “offensive,” happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. Censorship can be carried out by the government as well as private pressure groups. Censorship by the government is unconstitutional.

    As I said above, the word is descriptive, not definitive, so anyone is at liberty to assert that the ACLU definition could be improved, but it is the mark of an inferior intellect to refuse to recognise the inherent limitations of descriptive terms in reasoned discourse.

  98. Iampeter

    Yes Tim, I’m the one beclowning myself.
    By knowing what words mean and how to use them correctly, like an idiot!

    If only I could be a confused sperg, with no clue, posting cringe-inducing gibberish, like the rest of you exceptional individuals.

    You guys are just so smert.

  99. dover_beach

    Yes Tim, I’m the one beclowning myself.

    He’s learning, guys.

  100. Iampeter

    That’s right dover. Whatever you say buddy.
    Now go back to your lessons.

    Today you’re learning to color within the lines…

  101. Dover Beach:

    Yes Tim, I’m the one beclowning myself.

    He’s learning, guys.

    But it’s like watching paint dry…

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