The tribes of Israel

The latest Essential Research poll turns up a mixed bag of views on the Israel Folau controversy. Also featured: prospects for an indigenous recognition referendum and yet more Section 44 eruptions.

The latest of Essential Research’s fortnightly polls, which continue to limit themselves to issue questions in the wake of the great pollster failure, focuses mostly on the Israel Folau controversy. Respondents registered high levels of recognition of the matter, with 22% saying they had been following it closely, 46% that they had “read or seen some news”, and another 17% saying they were at least “aware”.

Probing further, the poll records very strong support for what seem at first blush to be some rather illiberal propositions, including 64% agreement with the notion that people “should not be allowed to argue religious freedom to abuse others”. However, question wording would seem to be very important here, as other questions find an even split on whether Folau “has the right to voice his religious views, regardless of the hurt it could cause others” (34% agree, 36% disagree), and whether there should be “stronger laws to protect people who express their religious views in public” (38% agree, 38% disagree). Furthermore, 58% agreed that “employers should not have the right to dictate what their employees say outside work”, which would seem to encompass the Folau situation.

Respondents were also asked who would benefit and suffer from the federal government’s policies over the next three years, which, typically for a Coalition government, found large companies and corporations expected to do best (54% good, 11% bad). Other results were fairly evenly balanced, the most negative findings relating to the environment (26% good, 33% bad) and, funnily enough, “older Australians” (26% good, 38% bad). The economy came in at 33% good and 29% bad, and “Australia in general” at 36% good and 27% bad. The poll was conducted last Tuesday to Saturday from a sample of 1099.

Also of note:

• A referendum on indigenous recognition may be held before the next election, after Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt’s announcement on Wednesday that he would pursue a consensus option for a proposal to go before voters “during the current parliamentary term”. It is clear the government would not be willing to countenance anything that went further than recognition, contrary to the Uluru Statement from the Heart’s call for a “First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution” – a notion derided as a “third chamber of parliament” by critics, including Scott Morrison.

• A paper in the University of Western Australia Law Review keeps the Section 44 pot astir by suggesting 26 current members of federal parliament may fall foul by maintaining a “right of abode” in the United Kingdom – a status allowing “practically the same rights” as citizenship even where citizenship has been formally renounced. The status has only been available to British citizens since 1983, but is maintained by citizens of Commonwealth countries who held it before that time, which they could do through marriage or descent. This could potentially be interpreted as among “the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power”, as per the disqualifying clause in Section 44. Anyone concerned by this has until the end of the month to challenge an election result within the 40 day period that began with the return of the writs on June 21. Action beyond that point would require referral by the House of Representatives or the Senate, as appropriate.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

1,966 comments on “The tribes of Israel”

  1. SK

    The lived experience of survivors doesn’t matter if your a bigot. Applies to all the haters whatever the ism.


    I am referring to the ACL Folau and all others ignoring the LGBTI community because of their “belief”.

  2. ‘Diogenes says:
    Friday, July 12, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    Has there ever been an indigenous revolutionary/freedom-fighter/terrorist movement (you know what I mean) ?’

    Scads in the Frontier Wars. But since then:

    I would say that in recent years and at a higher level there has been a general tendency for Indigenous Leaders to try to work within the system to achieve significant outcomes. I am aware in a general way that that has never meant that they gave up their larger vision. I am not aware of a single singnificant Indigenous Leader who has placed him/herself at odds with the Uluru Call from the Heart. Not one. (Although Wyatt, if he sticks to Scott’s Law, is tacitly dropping two of the three important elements.)

    At the same time, IMO, there is pervasive resistance at a personal level in rural and remote Indigenous communities. Some facets of this is highly susceptible to leadership at the local level. Example:

    IMO the Apology was never going to be anything other than a waypoint, albeit a significant one, for Indigenous People. Whites who thought that it was the end of Indigenous-specific politics were engaging in Whitefella dreaming.

  3. BW
    Foley sounds a lot like one of our fellow bludgers when asked about the way forward.

    “I don’t advocate anything. I’m an educator. I’m a professor of history. I was an activist for 30 years or so. I’m no longer that. I’m a pessimist.

    I believe that the only hope for black Australians, probably for Australia itself, is within this younger generation who’ve emerged recently. The generation both in the Aboriginal community, and the broader Australian community, who followed my generation politically were a waste of space.

    The younger generation today are the only real hope for the future of both black and white Australia.

    If they don’t succeed in shaking the foundations sufficiently to bring about significant change then, among other things that will happen in 50 years time, there will be no Aboriginal people. The assimilation project will be complete. The genocide will be over.”

  4. Folau reckons I’m going to hell, cause I’m an atheist…. so what? he’s a fuck wit, I reckon that’s a nice balance, so no need for him to lose his job. Let him mouth his crap and people are free to ridicule him. It’s called free speech! Snow Flakes rule

  5. clem

    He has rights, and his employer has rights. It’s equally unreasonable to insist that his employer continues to employ him against their will.

  6. Dio

    I have had to confront deep anguish and/or despair in Indigenous people many times.
    The reported suicide rates are no surprise. Nor are all the self-harming behaviours.
    I marvel at those Indigenous individuals who persist and make a go of their lives.

    The Uluru Call from the Heart did not just happen. The very, very extensive Indigenous consultation that came up with the Call was paid for by the Coalition Government. When the Indigenous leaders tested the water with the Coalition Government from time to time with the leadership (Turnbull) they were encouraged to continue.
    IMO the Call is a serious, considered and united attempt to work with whitefellas and within current Australian governance arrangements.
    IMO the Call provides the basis for a capital R reconciliation and not the penny ante minor reconciliations here and there.
    The Call was made. Within days one of its three core elements had been ditched by Turnbull on spurious grounds.

    The reason was that Turnbull was busy protecting his job from the race hate merchants in his Party Room. Once again whitefellas have fucked up the response to a major peace offering by Indigenous people.

  7. It’s all well and good until they come after you because you say something that is considered unacceptable. Free speech is free, it’s like you can’t be half pregnant. This is the sort of identity issue that drives people away from the left. Guytaur, didn’t I say he was a fuck wit. Jonathan Pie is on the left and he agrees with me re all this identity shit. Folau is a nut job. I’m happy to be able to say that. Now thanks to all this, the happy clappers are going to pass legislation restricting my right to say that. Thanks.

  8. What if your employer doesn’t approve of you being a member of Labor..what then Zoomster? Talk about Pandora’s box. All because Folau said gays would not go to his happy place. WTF?

  9. Biggles Morrison now aping Biggles Abbott with this photo op today on the USS Ronald Reagan. But why is that smirk welded to his face?

  10. Clem Attlee

    Identity politics. The cry of the oppressors doing the oppressing. It’s no coincidence the right loves using it.

    The same people who scream blue murder when their hate speech is called out. It’s not a free speech issue. It’s a hate speech issue. Not even in the US can you yell fire in a theatre

  11. Maybe the chopper blade might start spinning and hit Biggles in the head? Why else would he keep the flying helmet on whilst the cameras are snapping?

  12. guytaur

    The RW totally love ‘Identity politics”, they would not want to see it go. It keeps everyone occupied with multiple ‘culture wars’ as they are being robbed of even more of their share of the economy.

  13. clem

    The point is, there are conflicting rights in society which have to be balanced. Very few things are black and white.

    There are jobs which are closed to me because I’m a member of the ALP. I can’t work for the electoral commission, for example.

  14. And spotted today on the Sydney Metro, an apparently ‘tired and emotional’ former PM – housing the disabled seating..

  15. Poroti

    Yes. In fact calling it “identity politics” is a way to put down those advocating for equality of the oppressed. Just like the use of Snowflake.

    Having empathy with others who are different from you means you are very likely to support civil rights movements

  16. Labor’s whole economic policy just took a hit. Its official, Australia overtakes Luxembourg to have the highest minimum wage in the world according to the Australian.

  17. BB

    Elisabeth Farrelly is wrong.

    So I guess you must be right? Phew! That was lucky!

    Must be so nice to be able to condemn others, simply by stating they’re wrong, without having to worry about all that argument and evidence and stuff. “They’re wrong”. End of story.

    If you could show that someone, anyone, self-harmed as a result of reading Folau’s message, that’d be a start down Evidence Lane.

    What Farrelly is saying is that she fears it is not Folau’s statement as such that is doing (or may do) harm, but more the hue and cry from the Usual Suspects, ready to find offence, vilification and hatred where there may well be none at all, and certainly none with any practical adverse effect. In other words, make a song and dance about it and this will guarantee a reaction, even government action in support of Folau which (it looks like) we are seeing now.

    This is similar to infection with some viruses, in that it’s not always the virus that kills people. It’s sometimes the violent over-reaction of immune systems responding too aggressively to the virus.

    Whatever you (and others like you) may think, Folau has a perfect right to hold and express the opinion he holds and expresses. It wouldn’t be the first time someone has stated that sinners (sinners in their mind at least) are destined for hell. As I have stated before, millions of Catholic school children received a similar sentence, for “crimes” far more mundane than being queer. This is not Folau overtly acting, but merely holding and expressing a point of view. As much as you’d like to think so, there’s no crime in that. We don’t put people in the clink for holding and expressing opinions just yet (if we did, why hasn’t someone already charged Folau with such a crime?)

    It’s not even established that Folau actually hates homosexuals (or any other if the other classes of sinners on his laundry list… I haven’t heard of any robbers, fornicators or blasphemers committing acts of self harm either). All that’s been established is that he seems to have been sacked because his comments were against the ARU Code Of Conduct, and maybe a specific clause in his employment contract. Whether Folau is homophobic or not is likewise un-actionable, unless he acts in a damaging way based on that belief, which he has not done.

    It boils down to this: while disagreeing with Folau (I don’t believe in either God or Hell for a start, and in addition I have no particular dispute with homosexuality or homosexuals) I respect his right to hold and exress beliefs which are, to my mind, repugnant for several reasons. In claiming to want to protect young, impressionable gay people from all anti-gay statements, you’re probably doing them more harm than good, because you’re not allowing them to develop an immunity to religious claptrap like Folau’s.

    How many young, gay, Rugby fans there are who idolize Folau and who are prepared to self-harm as a result of his opinion is unknown. But making more of a Federal case of it than it deserves is a guaranteed (and self-defeating) way to keep the issue alive, increasing the polarization of society, thus in my opinion risking more potential harm to impressionable young gay people, not less. For evidence of this look at the marshalling of forces on the Right, there to join battle for “Religious Freedom”. There’s hardly be an oubce of religion between the lot if them, but there they are taking up the Culture War cudgels with relish.

  18. BB

    Facts are facts despite all your prose of denial. Belief has to take second place to fact. No matter what the Pope Folau Fred Nile or Lyle Shelton says.

    Go look at the expert advice that formed the Hawke Keating government response to HIV/AIDS if you don’t want to listen to American experience and wonder why Stonewall happened and why the protest turned celebration is called Pride

    Edit: the bigots used the same language and arguments to stigmatise those with HIV/Aids. The Hawke government unlike Reagan and Thatcher rejected hate. By doing so those Labor politicians saved millions of lives as their model was copied around the world.

  19. BB

    So the reasonable Left should just let the Unreasonable Right walk all over them, for fear that by not standing up to them they’ll spark a Culture War.

    Very few worthwhile changes in society have been won by either (a) not upsetting anyone; or (b) letting the other side walk all over you.

    The Snowflakes slur applies equally to Folau squealing because he has to face the consequences of his actions as it does to those who think he needs to be protected from the outrage of those who object to his statements.

    The Right see freedom of speech as the right to say what they want to without consequence. That’s just as dangerous an attitude.

  20. ‘3z says:
    Friday, July 12, 2019 at 6:24 pm


    Green former MP Lidia Thorpe opposes the Uluru Statement from the Heart.’

    Oh. Thanks.

  21. ‘sprocket_ says:
    Friday, July 12, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    Biggles Morrison now aping Biggles Abbott with this photo op today on the USS Ronald Reagan. But why is that smirk welded to his face?’

    Was Bomber Beazely Parlaiment’s first military aeronaut?

  22. What I am saying is that, generally speaking, over-reaction to anything risks a backlash.

    Note I did not say any reaction. I was talking about over-reaction.

    It’s getting so you can’t express a reasoned opinion here without being howled down by any number of people with particular axes to grind.

    Their insults and condemnation remind me of nothing less than their diametrically opposed antagonists on the Right. The main distinguishing feature of bigotry is that bigots believe it’s only the other side that’s blind to reason.

  23. I wonder IF Australia had won the world cup what Sam Kerr would have said if the gays burn in hell no indigenous recognition happy clapper had asked her to Parliament House.

  24. Clover Moore
    ‏Verified account @CloverMoore

    At short notice, WestConnex have advised Council they will use the Roads Act 1993 to override Council’s permissions to force their way into Sydney park to undertake investigation work for tunnelling associated with the project.

  25. BW

    She is a lame duck but May is Prime Minister. So hopefully she will not roll over for Trump. She has form with the Ambassador

  26. Guytaur, I prepared to believe that the very fact people hate someone for what they are can tip the object of hatred over the edge. Rarely, but I’m sure it happens. And it’s a rotten thing indeed that it does.

    But we can’t shield every vulnerable and sensitive person from every adverse comment (and certainly not thought) every time. They have to build up a certain level of toughness (for want of a better word) in order to survive in the real world.

    It mightn’t be their homosexuality. It might be their body shape, their ethnicity, the way they speak, or the characteristics of their face, or a disability or disfigurement they have. It could be anything over which they have little or no control.

    You can’t stop others from commenting, even unkindly, about other people. Legislating against hate is doomed to fail. That will only send the hate underground, full of resentment and perhaps amplified in ferocity. Education is the key.

    Punishing Israel Folau has no hope of changing his mind. Persuasion and counter-argument, no matter how bleak the prospects may seem, are the only hopes.

  27. Guytaur… of course the irony is that Folau is right, gays aren’t going to heaven.. nobody is because it only exists in his imagination. Oppression. What seriously? That must be some real wam bam first world oppression you’re referring to. Get real mate. All he said was that I would not be going to his special place in the sky. Get a grip.

  28. BB

    You may hate it but the truth is it’s hate speech. It’s not about Religious Freedom. The very reason Ruddock and his report could not shoehorn it through pretending it’s free speech.

  29. @clem attlee

    How about church-up-their-asses keep their war mongering selfish attitude out of other people’s faith or sex.

  30. Hey Zoomster a dissident is blindfolded in front of a firing squad, as he’s being given his last cigarette he says “you told me I had freedom of speech.” The Nazi replies “yes, but we said nothing about freedom from consequences.” That is your world.

  31. The Tories just love all this identity crap, because it splits the left and the real issues (decent wages, security of work, decent health care and public education and care for the environment ) are getting smashed. All this is happening right in front of people’s noses, but all they’re worried about is whether gays and atheists are going to heaven. What a bunch of mugs.

  32. Is Folau an “employee” of the ARU, as lots seem to be implying.

    He’s probably on some sort of contract. Such contract would include things like not bringing the game into disrepute through his off-field behaviour. So if he had been caught drink driving, it may have terminated his contract. If he had publicly criticised fellow players, the game or the ARU / its officials, ditto. His prominence means that it would have been damaging.

    Now if he had been a normal employee, say a functionary buried in the admin section of ARU head office, the chances are none of this would matter. Unless he was drunk at work or had to drive as part of his job, the drink driving conviction would be a personal matter. Likewise, his social media postings would not have mattered – no one would have seen them.

    Someone like Folau cannot plea to be regarded as an employee when it suits him.

  33. Hey Gutaur where is the money to pay these women going to come from. they play in a Mickey Mouse league? You reckon they should be on Ronaldo’s wages then? More irrational bull shit.

  34. Gay teens are more likely to experience mental health struggles and self-harm and more likely to suicide than heterosexual teens. The reason is a culture of stigmatisation and rejection. It isn’t a matter of one specific statement by one person leading to a suicide. The problem is the climate of verbal abuse and bigotry and exclusion faced by gay people, especially young gay people.

    Rugby Australia has a policy of not wanting its name and platform associated with contributing to that oppressive culture.

    Some people are acting as though Folau was hard done by and that Rugby Australia was acting capriciously or out of the blue. They had anticipated this specific issue to the point of including a clause about it in his contract.

    It ought to be acceptable for organizations to decide that they will not associate with people who choose to contribute to a culture of abuse that increases the rate of mental illness and suicide.

  35. Clem

    You just outed yourself. You are no equality advocate. You are all for misogyny.

    Amazing you think you can get away with such a spurious argument after the US media has debunked it all with facts.

  36. Players like Ronaldo, Kane amd Messi earn huge wages because they have a huge audience, so advertisers pay huge amount to sponsor their product, the women… not so much. When women’s football generates the same income, then they will get the same money.

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