The future of freedom of speech and religion after Israel Folau

Saturday 7 December 2019 | 9am–5pm
State Library 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.

The Folau affair implicates numerous areas of law. It raises fundamental questions for the future of public debate in Australia and has potentially significant implications for freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

Hosted by Deakin Law School, this conference will investigate the major legal aspects of the Folau matter and its implications for Australian law and society. Our leading experts from around Australia and the world will bring interdisciplinary perspectives from marketing, politics and political science.

With the re-election of the Morrison Government – and its promise to deliver on the enactment of a religious discrimination and freedom legislation – the conference will make an important contribution to public debate and provide a forum to facilitate dialogue between these sectors and the many divergent stakeholders.

Topics to be discussed

Papers will be presented on the following topics:

  • The legal aspects of the case under employment law.
  • The constitutional aspects, such as freedom of political communication and section 116 of the Constitution.
  • Implications for human rights, including free speech and freedom of religion.
  • The relevance of discrimination law in relation to action by and against Folau.
  • What difference would a Religious Freedom or Religious Discrimination Act make?
  • Implications for the public/private divide in Australia.
  • Corporate social responsibility and the behaviour of sporting associations and their sponsors.
  • Decision-making by sport tribunals.
  • The interface between marketing, sponsorship and sport.

Like more information?

Please email Dr Ben Saunders with any questions you may have or to express your interest of contributing to the conference.

Key information

Date and time

Saturday 7 December 2019


State Library Victoria
328 Swanston Street 
Victoria 3000


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

Purchase your tickets