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'Targeting his wife': Folau move slammed

The Australian Christian Lobby has responded to the ANZ Bank publicly condemning the wife of Israel Folau.

The bank approached the New Zealand netball team the Silver Ferns to condemn Maria Folau and then issued a public statement distancing itself from her views.

Maria has made no public statement about her husband's stance, but did share a link on social media to his fundraising page.

Ex-Wallaby Israel Folau's new fundraiser has raised more than $1.5 million, putting him halfway to his goal to build a multi-million war chest to fund his unfair dismissal case.

The appeal hosted by the Australian Christian Lobby has now amassed more than Folau's successful GoFundMe campaign raised in four days, before the fundraising website shut it down on Monday.

Speaking on Today this morning, the ACL managing director Martin Iles said he was not surprised by the ANZ Bank response.

"They have condemned her for sharing a post by her husband and putting her employer, the New Zealand national netball team, on notice as well," Mr Iles said.

"It doesn't surprise me at all. This is precisely the reason why people are supporting Israel Folau.

"They see time and time again, whether it is ANZ Bank targeting his wife, whether it is people targeting GoFundMe with complaints, whether it is Israel being targeted with lies being able to persist in the media about him, whether it is him losing his job, it is all under this language of inclusion, but not so inclusive they can include somebody with beliefs they disagree with.

"People hear this every day in their workplaces, every day in conversations that they have. They hear it and think that means shut up and that pinch of political correctness is very, very real. I think that is why there is such energy behind this."


But the Australian Christian Lobby is not able to confirm what any excess money raised for Israel Folau's legal funds will be diverted to.

Mr Iles said he could "not go into detail" about where any money above the $3 million mark would go.

As of this morning, the Christian group's fundraiser has topped $1.5 million, raising more money in less than 24 hours than the defunct GoFundMe appeal did over four days.

Asked by host Deborah Knight about the potential excess donations, Mr Iles said: "It will be distributed in a way that is consistent with …"

Knight interrupted: "Distributed where though?"

"It will go to different causes that are completely consistent with the intentions of the original donors," Mr Iles replied.

RELATED: Unresolved legal question at heart of Folau's case

RELATED: Ellis backtracks on attack on Maria Folau

What will happen to any excess money raised for Israel Folau?
What will happen to any excess money raised for Israel Folau?

Pressed for where that will be exactly, Mr Iles said: "I am not able to go into the detail at this stage."

At this point, Knight asked him to confirm it would not be used personally.

"Absolutely not personal use, absolutely not the ACL," he replied. "They bought into Israel because they see him as somebody they want to champion. They see him as somebody they identify with, and there is a great deal of trust built up there.

"That is not misplaced at all. This money will be used well and will actually end up making a difference regardless of where it goes."


Deborah Knight asked ACL managing director Martin Iles where any excess funds raised for Israel Folau would go.
Deborah Knight asked ACL managing director Martin Iles where any excess funds raised for Israel Folau would go.

Asked about whether Folau really needs the financial help - given his multimillion-dollar contract and assortment of properties - Mr Iles said there were "two angles to that question".

"One is that it is a very Australian thing to say that someone has been on a good wicket, therefore we just leave them alone. I think that the cost to Israel Folau has been serious in the sense that he lost his career, he has been banned for life from the two sporting codes he can play," he said.

"He has the funds to live on for a very long time. He is a human. This has taken its toll on him. He found it is a great challenge. People want to say there is more with you than against you, but there is the other side. Look what he has been able to achieve.

"We can talk about this for days in the media. They have been able to achieve giving a voice to so many people who want to buy into his campaign, and these people feel like they are part of a movement. They are being heard and are actually making a difference."

Mr Iles believes the campaign has been driven by "people feeling stifled", a "pinch of political correctness" and the "language used against Israel".

"When GoFundMe shut it down, it only confirmed their concerns. They said, 'Here you go, here it is again'," he said.

"As a result they gave a whole lot more. They feel like they are having their voice heard, so that is having an impact.

"They want to be able to put more money in, raise their voice for their freedom and make a difference. These are what we call the quiet Australians."

He could not say where the excess money would be distributed.
He could not say where the excess money would be distributed.

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