Alan Jones has hit out at Rugby Australia’s decision to terminate high-profile rugby player Israel Folau’s contract saying the decision has “completely corrupted” free speech in Australia.
The Conservative Party is a strong defender of the right to free speech and freedom of expression and leader Cory Bernardi introduced a Protected Freedoms Act into the Senate earlier this year.
The Australian reports, the broadcaster’s broadside comes as the sport star’s $4 million contract with Rugby Australia is set to be scrapped following a social media post condemning homosexuals, drunks and liars where Folau says “Hell awaits you”.
“It’s got nothing to do with Israel, or rugby, or religion, or homosexuals. Where are we in this country on free speech?” Jones asked on his 2GB radio show this morning.
“It has completely corrupted free speech in this country. It wouldn’t be the first time, in my opinion, that Rugby Australia have got it completely wrong and I think if they have signed this contract or demanded of Israel certain matters outside the playing of the game … then that, I believe, is outside the ambit of what they are able to do,” he went on.
“We’ve got an issue here because we’re going down a very, very narrow road here. This has gone on and on and on this crap. Out there, people now are terrified of saying anything, they don’t know what they can say,” he said.
Folau posted his religious views to Twitter and Instagram on Wednesday warning people to “repent” their sins.
“Those that are living in sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him,” his post said.
Rugby Australia Chief Raelene Castle and NSW Rugby Union CEO Andrew Hore yesterday announced their intention to terminate Folau’s contract and a string of sponsors including Qantas, have distanced themselves from the player.
Queensland Conservative Party Senate candidate Lyle Shelton has told ABC Radio Melbourne’s John Faine, the right to free speech must be protected.