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Deborah Knight's tense clash over Israel Folau controversy: “I'm not able to go into detail"

Deborah Knight's tense clash over Israel Folau controversy: “I'm not able to go into detail"

The Australian Christian Lobby has not been able to confirm where the excess money raised for Israel Folau’s legal funds will be diverted to.

Speaking on the Today show this morning, Martyn Iles said he could “not go into detail” about where any money above the $3 million mark would go.

The Christian group’s fundraiser is growing rapidly, after their original crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe was taken down by the organisation. As of this morning, supporters have helped raise $1.5 million in less than 24 hours.

After Deborah Knight asked the question about excess donations, Mr Iles said: “It will be distributed in a way that is consistent with …”

Knight then interjected, asking: “Distributed where, though?”

“It will go to different causes that completely consisted with the intentions of the original donors,” he responded.

When asked for further information, Mr Iles said: “I am not able to go into the detail at this stage.”

Which is when Knight prodded further, as she asked if the money raised will be used for personal reasons.

“Absolutely not personal use, absolutely not the ACL,” he said. “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.”

She later questioned Folau’s need for money, as he was previously on a multi-million dollar contract and is the owner of a number of properties.

To that, 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 this campaign, and these people feel like they are part of a movement. They are being heard and are actually making a difference.”

According to the leader, the campaign is being championed 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.”