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New Israel Folau fundraiser passes $1.5m in first 24 hours

Israel Folau's fresh fundraiser has raised over $1.5 million within 24 hours of its launch.

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

The ACL relaunched a campaign for the former Wallabies star on their website at 12.01am yesterday and donations raced in at a rate of nearly $1000 per minute.

By 10pm last night, it had raised more than NZ$1.52 million.

Folau has been trying to raise a $3.14 million war chest from public donations to fund his legal battle against Rugby Australia, which terminated his $4.2 million contract in May.

Rugby Australia sacked Folau after he paraphrased a biblical passage on social media saying "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters" would go to hell unless they repented.

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GoFundMe says former Wallaby’s campaign violated its terms. Source: 1 NEWS

The committed Christian said he had been discriminated against on religious grounds and set up the GoFundMe page, which had raised more than $750,000 since its launch on Friday.

On Monday, GoFundMe took the page down, citing a breach of its terms of service and announcing it would issue refunds to the more than 7000 donors.

A spokesman for Folau denied his campaign was incompatible with GoFundMe's terms of service and said he was the victim of a campaign of discrimination.

One of Australia's most senior Anglican leaders backed Folau, saying his right to express his faith was being denied.

"It is of great concern to many Australians that this right is being denied and vilified," Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies said in a statement.

"The way in which Folau's motives have been impugned and his avenues of support have been cut off smacks of a new and ugly Australia where dissent from narrow cultural views is not tolerated.

"It had nothing to do with rugby and it should have been his right as a citizen to speak of what he believes without threat to his employment."

Folau's wife, Silver Ferns netballer Maria Folau, has also come under scrutiny with sponsor ANZ reportedly raising concerns with Netball New Zealand regarding her support of her husband.

However, the Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday reported ANZ would continue to back the game.

Israel Folau has launched legal proceedings with the Fair Work Commission against Rugby Australia and is seeking up to $10.5 million in damages.

More than 95,000 people had signed an online petition calling on GoFundMe to take down Folau's page.

Mitsubishi Estate Series 2nd Test, AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia 16/6/2018
Australia vs Ireland
Australia's Israel Folau dejected after the game
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Wallabies star Israel Folau. Source: Photosport


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