Freedom of contract or freedom of speech

A number of comments on the Folau case have made the point that Folau failed to pay attention to the terms of his contracts with Rugby Australia [1] and also with GoFundMe, with the implication that he has only himself to blame for the outcome .

That’s a cute debating point, but it’s not one that should be used by those of us concerned with protecting workers’ rights. The use of contractual terms to constrain what workers say and do outside working hours is a misuse of the power of employers and a danger to free speech on issues of all kinds. The fact that we don’t like Folau’s use of this freedom shouldn’t lead to a retreat from the principle that, within very broad limits, what we do and say in our own time is no business of the boss.

The issue with GoFundMe is less problematic: funding a legal dispute is not obviously part of the site’s mission[2]. But we should be wary of the idea that Internet platforms should be able to set whatever terms of service they like and interpret them as they wish.

fn1 As with just about everything in this case, the exact status of the contract is a matter of dispute

fn2 neither is this much-mocked request by two layabouts for money to fund a trip to Africa that is beyond the resources of the mother who is currently working two jobs to support them in idleness)..

108 thoughts on “Freedom of contract or freedom of speech

  1. I totally agree with you that private Catholic school ought to be able to run themselves however they like. Not with my money though. And they’re not to pretend to be part of a public education system for all – they aren’t.
    The Catholic system should decide whether it’s reasonably secular (and state-funded) or not (and can abuse and persecute people they don’t like within looser limits).
    The Catholic school system has committed a sin by threatening my fiance’s employment, by actually sacking gay people because they hate them etc. They can make amends if they like. If they don’t, let’s close it.

  2. “…publicly advocating adultery or fornication would be asked to leave. A teacher who regularly got drunk and would not change would be asked to leave.”

    These part privately funded state funded religionist schools, hospitals, etc, take money from all beyond their gates regardless of any particular view outside of any particular religionist view within, so in turn such schools etc ought extend to all paid employment on terms according with the wider societal norms for appropriate workplace conduct regardless of any particular view within or without.

  3. How Catholic schools, or any other religious or whatever creed school runs themselves is entirely their choice BUT regardless of the source of their funds they are still subject to the law.

    The law states that employers cannot discriminate against applicants.

    Employers must judge applicants on their merits, not their particular characteristics.

    End of story.

  4. “End of story..”

    Apparently it isn’t AND currently $50billion plus per year skimmed from everyone says so.

  5. Curt Kastens says July 1, 2019 at 9:25 am https://johnquiggin.com/2019/06/26/freedom-of-contract-or-freedom-of-speech/comment-page-4/#comment-211950

    “I think that the US decided way back in 2003 that it was going to Russia, China, Iran Venezuela, and North Korea at some point in the mid term future.”

    Curt, my reply is in a Sandpit:
    https://johnquiggin.com/2019/05/20/sandpit-135/comment-page-1/#comment-211972

    PS. Unfolding the Future of the Long War Motivations, Prospects, and Implications for the U.S. Army (2008) document search term results: … Germany 5.

  6. What Hugo proposed is extremely radical, and I LOVE it. Schools can teach what what Jews, and Catholics, and the Orthodox, and Lutherans and all the spin offs from the Lutherans, and Calvanists and all the spin off from the Calvanists believe, and what all the different schools of Sunnism,and the Shias. and the reformist Ahmadyans and Bahai teach, not to forget about the Mormons, or of course all of the different schools of Buddhism, that is teaching HISTORY. But they can not tell students that any of these beliefs are TRUE. That really is CHILD ABUSE. Therefore to prohibit saying that these beliefs are true is constiututional because it has already been clearly decided in the western world that freedom of religion can be curtailed when there is an overriding public interest.
    I had previously taken this view in reference to public schools. But I thought that religous schools should be allowed the freedom to try to counteract the indoctrination of the state. That is still my view.
    But Hugo has convinced me that religous or even secular private schools should not be allowed to carry out psychological warfare on young minds to succeed in their goals. Private schools can teach the Story of Adam and Eve, or Cain and Babble, or the story of Jacob and Esau but only in the context of the history of sociolgy(in terms of what were the influences on past societies) or the history of literature.
    To teach young minds that they the cult that they are being raised in is supirior to all the other cults that they move among becuase the cult that they are being raised in KNOWS PROFOUND TRUTHS that the other cults reject is not only a form of child abuse it plants the seed of civil strife in a society.
    That is not one but two reasons that an end can be put to this tomfoolery. (Everywhere)
    Just as a point of clarification, I think that Buddhism blurrs the line between a religion and a philosophy.
    Just as a second point of clarification I am an unrepentant supporter of the temperance movement.
    That is similar to but not the same as the prohibitionist movement. Temperance means no more than one shot of hard liquor, or one glass of wine or two glasses of beer per wweek. Of course if it is hard liquor it should be mixed with something non alcoholic. Without using prohibitionist tactics any society that tries should be able to reduce the negative consequenes of alcohol abuse in the same way that some societies have managed to curb the consumption of cigarrettes.
    Way to go Hugo. You made an impact crater in the mind of another person.

  7. https ://www.change.org/p/praying-the-gay-away-nearly-killed-me-outlaw-conversion-therapy/u/24766996

    Really fabulous news! Last night the Brisbane Anglican diocese passed a motion on LGBT+ Conversion with overwhelming support …

    Also passed was: ‘Affirming Anglican Schools Support of Gender Diverse Students’
    1. Affirms that Anglican Schools are to be places where all people, including those who are transgender and gender diverse, are welcomed, loved and respected …

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