Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Izzy Folau repeats an obligato in the OLO score

By Graham Young - posted Monday, 15 April 2019

It also reinforces a human tendency to only mix with people who agree with you, and when you only mix with people that agree with you the group will polarise its opinions more in the direction in which you all already agree.

In Folau's case there is a two-fold consequence. Not only is he attacked on social media in increasingly hysterical terms, but in order to retain or grow audiences, mainstream media, all of which is basically electronic these days, even if they have hard copy legacy editions, become increasingly hysterical.

The gatekeepers, and there are still a lot left, have become co-opted by the mob.


I've read a number of commentaries on Folau's case by now, and most of them start by saying how offensive his views are.

But offense is something subjective that people take. Without a social framework nothing can be offensive.

17 months ago we had a postal vote on gay marriage. 38.4 per cent of Australians voted against it. That means that almost 40% of Australians are likely to have some sympathy to Folau's views.

52% of Australians are Christian, and while many Christians don't regard homosexual activity as a sin, theologically most denominations do. The same is true for Muslims, with a little more flexibility in Hinduism and Buddhism, but with most clerics being opposed to homosexual activity.

We have a problem if the majority of our citizens belong to organisations which forbid homosexual activity, and yet most commentators feel they have to preface articles effectively dismissing this position by saying it is offensive.

I may be wrong, but I suspect the reservation is expressed merely because they want to avoid being crucified by the mob, like Folau.


Of course, none of this would have happened if it were not for social media. Without social media Folau wouldn't have 337,000 followers, and his audience would be restricted to a small congregation.

So is it the ability to see what more of our fellow human beings are thinking as they expose themselves on social media that is driving this intolerance, or has something shifted in Australian society?

I'm not sure, but the Australia I grew up in had a high tolerance for ratbags. We had a live and let live attitude to tolerance.

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. Page 3
  5. 4
  6. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

39 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Graham Young is chief editor and the publisher of On Line Opinion. He is executive director of the Australian Institute for Progress, an Australian think tank based in Brisbane, and the publisher of On Line Opinion.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Graham Young

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Graham Young
Article Tools
Comment 39 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy