After more than four years of legal hell the New South Wales Attorney General, Mark Speakman, has admitted that there is a problem with the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board (ADB). From The Australian today:

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman has said the “door is never closed to reform” of anti-discrimination laws after it emerged one person was responsible for lodging more than 100 complaints that were then referred to the state’s administrative tribunal.

Serial litigant Garry Burns pursues people who make homophobic comments in public, primarily by complaining to the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board.

The Australian revealed his one-man legal crusade has resulted in the bankrupting — and potential jailing — of a former cabbie whose family says is brain damaged, and taken up countless court hours at significant cost to taxpayers, prompting calls to overhaul the law.

Mr Burns has lodged 77 complaints about former Newcastle cab driver John Sunol, leading to about 24 tribunal or court matters and about 29 days of hearings.

Mr Sunol suffered a serious brain injury in 1978, and his family says he does not properly understand the consequences of his actions. He faces a federal criminal charge and a possible charge of contempt for failing to abide by tribunal rulings.

Mr Burns has also lodged 36 ADB complaints about conservative Christian blogger ­Bernard Gaynor, leading to 18 NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal cases, three NSW Local Court cases and litigation in the NSW Supreme Court, NSW Court of Appeal and High Court.

The litigation has cost Mr Gaynor, a former army officer and father of eight, more than $200,000 and forced him to sell his house.

This follows reporting on the front page of The Weekend Australian on Saturday:

Burns was back in court on Thursday, in a defamation matter involving one of his key targets: former army officer and conservative Christian blogger Bernard Gaynor, who lives in Brisbane. Gaynor, a father of eight, says Burns’s action has cost him “well over $200,000” in legal fees and forced him to sell his house.

It is hard to know how many complaints Burns has filed over the years, or how many have in turn been referred by the ADB to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Burns says he lodged his first complaint in 2002, but does not keep a record, while the ADB says it “cannot comment on any aspect of its statutory complaint-handling functions”.

Gaynor, however, has been keeping a tally. He says he has been the subject of 36 ADB complaints by Burns, leading to 18 NCAT cases and litigation in the NSW Supreme Court, NSW Court of Appeal and High Court — requiring about 26 trips to Sydney. He has also had three matters ­referred to the NSW Local Court and is expecting another seven — although Burns says he will discontinue some of these.

He has also now been sued by Burns for defamation over a Facebook comment posted by a third party, which the judge on Thursday warned was a “very difficult case” for Burns to win. But that is of little comfort to Gaynor. “I am sucked into this black hole at the moment,” Gaynor says. “It has had a terrible impact on our lives, it has destroyed us finan­cially and put enormous stress on our family. There is no escape, even when you win in the High Court.”

There is no cost to file a complaint with the Anti-Discrimination Board, and no cost to have a complaint referred to NCAT. There are also usually no costs awarded against complainants if they lose in the tribunal.

On the other hand, there is a potential upside for complainants, who can be awarded up to $100,000 in compensation — a situation Gaynor says creates a potential “gravy train”.

Gaynor points to figures from 2014-15, when he says he was the subject of about 26 Burns complaints. Analysis of NCAT decisions and Burns’s website reveals complaints against five other people, he says, meaning Burns was responsible for more than half the 48 homosexual vilification and victimisation complaints to the ADB that year. Burns has at least 12 court matters listed this month…

The ADB cannot be reformed. It is a parasitical organisation of activists that believes it is above and beyond the reach of law.

The fact that the ADB has referred further complaints to the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal even after the High Court unanimously upheld a Court of Appeal ruling that it had no power to do so is proof of that.

This scandal was not an accident. It was always going to occur.

Please keep the pressure up and sign the petition below to the Attorney General calling for an inquiry into the conduct of the ADB.

It will be an important first step in a long process that we must undertake to restore freedom in Australia.

Hold an inquiry into the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board


Dear Hon Mark Speakman SC MP

The New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board (ADB) is an out of control body of political activists that is a threat to free speech in Australia.

Over the past four years it has:

- unconstitutionally referred more than 24 complaints to the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT),
- refused to accept evidence that serial complainants are lodging complaints to financially hurt those they oppose,
- refused to accept evidence that serial complainants are lodging complaints to harass and damage the reputation of those they oppose,
- failed to pass this evidence to the NCAT, instead labelling it irrelevant,
- accepted complaints from activists who have complained about their own comments on the Facebook pages of those they harass,
- accepted racial vilification complaints against those who express concern about Islamic immigration,
- accepted homosexual vilification complaints against those who condemn naked homosexual men who stand naked in front of children,
- claimed it is unbiased even though it marches in the Mardi Gras, has pledged allegiance to 'Wear it Purple Day' and campaigned for homosexual marriage,
- allowed a serial complainant to lodge hundreds of complaints against a brain-damaged man incapable of understanding the law, and
- met regularly with a group that seeks to decriminalise sex in public.

In the case of Bernard Gaynor, more than 60 legal matters have been commenced as a result of the ADB's failure to abide by the Constitution. This has clogged up the NCAT and court systems. It has cost Bernard more than $200,000 and forced him to sell his home even though none of the complaints against him have been substantiated. Nor did he act outside the Constitution, as the ADB did.

Now the President of the Anti-Discrimination Board refuses to accept the ruling made by the Court of Appeal, upheld by the High Court, that it is unconstitutional for the President of the ADB to refer matters to the NCAT.

All of this has occurred because one activist who dislikes Bernard's view about marriage expressed in Queensland has been aided and abetted by an out of control 'Thought Police'.

In the case of Sonia Kruger, the ADB has sent a message that anyone who criticises Islam could wind up in costly legal proceedings.

And in the case of John Sunol, a brain-damaged man, the ADB has allowed hundreds of complaints even though the defendant is entirely incapable of defending himself or even understanding the consequences of the situation he faces. He may well end up in jail as a result.

None of this is in the public interest. None of this benefits the people of New South Wales. None of this should continue.

But all of it should be exposed to scrutiny.

I petition you to hold an inquiry into the conduct of the ADB, its culture and its failure to act within the Constitution.

**your signature**

7,443 signatures

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Author: Bernard Gaynor

Bernard Gaynor is a married father of eight children. He has a background in military intelligence, Arabic language and culture and is an outspoken advocate of conservative and family values.

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1 Comment

  1. It is not enough for the Attorney General to say “oh, we have a problem with the Anti Discrimination Board”. Victims of the serial complainant working with activists on the staff of the Anti Discrimination Board have suffered serious damages in time, cost and stress, for no valid justification apart from expressing an opinion on a Facebook or blog. So what is to be done about the serious damages done to victims of the ADB’s serial stalker? I will certainly join any class action against the ADB. This serial complainant stumbled across a 1 paragraph comment I made on social media in December 2013 – on the subject of same-sex marriage and child protection. It cost me $10,000 to robustly defend that single paragraph in the Civil and Administrative Tribunal , over a period of 2 years involving 3 public hearings. It took the presiding member another 2 years to come out with an 85-page decision that as far as I can tell was neither a win nor a loss for the serial applicant. I think of the 5 sentences in my 1-paragraph social media comment, only 1 was found “partially substantiated”. There was no punishment handed out to me in the decision, and there was no damages paid to the applicant. Overall a total waste of time and money. But maybe useful for ADB and NCAT staff and consultants to justify their existence. On the positive side, the damages done to victims seem to be resulting in an admission by Attorney General that the system was broken and hopefully he will put reforms in place to clean out this institutional corruption.

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