On this Democracy Sausage Extra, award-winning journalist and author Malcolm Knox joins Mark Kenny to discuss the saga of Israel Folau – former star rugby union player sacked for sharing anti-LGBTQ views on social media – and how free speech got so complicated.
The sacking of former star player Israel Folau by Rugby Australia for his comments on social media once again revealed faultlines which had recently been laid bare during Australia’s marriage equality plebiscite. So what did the saga reveal about freedom of expression in Australia? What is the significance of groups like the Australian Christian Lobby in Australia’s public discourse? And, with ‘free speech’ very much a political battleground, what might the future hold? On this Democracy Sausage Extra, Professor Mark Kenny speaks with Australian journalist and author Malcolm Knox about the Israel Folau issue, Australia’s evangelical movement, and the ‘culture wars’. This episode was recorded live as part of the ANU/Canberra Times ‘Meet the Author’ series.
Malcolm Knox is the former literary editor and an award-winning journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald. Malcolm is the winner of three Walkley Awards. His novels include A Private Man, winner of the Ned Kelly Award, The Life, The Wonder Lover, and Bluebird. His most recent book is Truth Is Trouble: The Strange Case of Israel Folau, Or How Free Speech Became So Complicated.
Mark Kenny is a Professor in the ANU Australian Studies Institute. He came to the university after a high-profile journalistic career including six years as chief political correspondent and national affairs editor for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and The Canberra Times.
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This podcast is produced in partnership with The Australian National University.