The Future of Freedom of Speech and Religion after Israel Folau

Saturday 7 December 2019 | 9am–5pm
Law Institute of Victoria

Event details

Israel Folau is one of Australia’s most prominent rugby players, known for sharing provocative content on social media. His sacking by Rugby Australia has been highly controversial, with some suggesting it influenced the outcome of the 2019 federal election.

This Folau affair implicates numerous areas of law and raises fundamental questions for the future of public debate in Australia, and has potentially significant implications for freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
Join Deakin Law School as we welcome leading experts from around Australia to investigate the major aspects of the Folau matter and its implications for Australian law and society.

This conference will make an important contribution to the public debate on religious freedom and the proposed Religious Discrimination legislation, providing a forum to facilitate informed discussion.

Conference Speakers

Professor Jack Anderson, Director of Studies, Sports Law, University of Melbourne – Folau v Rugby Australia – The Instagram Post That Made it All the Way to the Federal Court

Associate Professor Patrick Emerton, Law Resources, Monash University – Religious Freedom as an Instrumental Good

Professor Helen Fenwick and Dr Andrew Hayward,
University of Durham – Conflicts Between Free Expression, Freedom of Religion and Avoidance of Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation within the ECHR Framework

Professor Anthony Forsyth,
Graduate School of Business and Law, RMIT University – Thou Shalt Not... Make Public Comments which Damage the Business Interests of the Employer

Professor Beth Gaze,
Co-Director of Studies, Employment and Labour Relations Law, University of Melbourne – Religious Speech and Anti-Discrimination Law

Professor Matthew Groves,
Alfred Deakin Professor of Law, Deakin Law School – From Netball to Football – The Principles and Problems of Decision-Making by Sports Tribunals

Anja Hilkemeijer,
Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania – The Flip Side of Folau: The Dismissal of Employees by Religious Organisations for Breaches of Codes of Conduct – A Human Rights Balancing Act

Dr Harry Hobbs,
Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney – Israel Folau and the Legal Protection of Human Rights in Australia

Ghassan Kassisieh,
Equality Australia – On Behalf of The Sinners: The Case For Balanced Religious Discrimination Protections

Dr John McClean,
Vice Principal, Christ College, Sydney – More than ‘do unto others’: Jesus’ Surprising Relevance to Freedom of Religion

Professor Patrick Parkinson, Academic Dean and Head of School, TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland – The New Totalitarianism: Freedom of Speech in an Age of 24/7 Employment

Professor Paul Redmond,
Sir Gerard Brennan Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney – Corporate Power, Corporate Responsibility and the Israel Folau Matter

Mark Sneddon
Institute for Civil Society – Robust Civility, the Right to be Wrong and Freedom of Religious Expression

Conference Convenor
Dr Ben Saunders,
Senior Lecturer and Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Deakin Law School

Like more information?

Please email Dr Ben Saunders with any questions you may have regarding the conference.

Key information

Date and time

Saturday 7 December 2019


Law Institute of Victoria
Level 13
140 William St
Victoria 3000


Tickets range from $80 – $120
(early bird prices until Thursday 31 October)  

Purchase your tickets

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