Why my High Court case is important for every Australian worker

Long-time readers of this website will know that I was sacked by the Chief of Defence Force, that I appealed the decision in the Federal Court and won, and that the Chief of Defence Force then appealed to the Full Court of the Federal Court and successfully defended his decision.

The matter is now before the High Court and we wait for it to make a decision on whether it will hear an appeal.

In late May this matter was dissected by Barry Nilsson Lawyers.

It described the background of this matter (in part) this way:

Gaynor further criticised the government and the ADF’s policy regarding the conflict in Afghanistan and expressed the view that Islam was linked to a culture of violence which posed a threat to Australia.

The ADF formally warned Gaynor not to make any further comments of an offensive nature and to remove his controversial posts. Gaynor refused and continued to publish press releases incorporating material from his website. Consequently, in July 2014 the ADF exercised its power under Regulation 85 of the Defence (Personnel) Regulations 2002 to dismiss him. Gaynor commenced proceedings against the ADF challenging his dismissal.

That’s interesting if you want to know the background of this case.

But what is more important is the assessment detailed under the heading, ‘Implications for you’:

Employers may, in certain circumstances, terminate an employee for the making of social media comments in a private capacity where those comments are extreme and unacceptable in accordance with the position the employee holds. However, the circumstances of each individual case will first need to be considered taking into account the nature of the employee’s employment and applicable policies.

My comments have been characterised as extreme. I find it kind of laughable that my comments about Islam have been characterised this way, given the ASIO Director General himself has admitted a link between Islam and terrorism in the last few days.

Nonetheless, they have been labelled extreme even though they accord with objective truth. Furthermore, it has been accepted in both cases that my comments had no adverse impact on Defence at all.

Yet I was sacked anyway.

And this is the point. My comments were considered extreme, as detailed by Barry Nilsson Lawyers, not when tested against objective truth but when tested against the position held by the employer (in my case the Chief of Defence Force).

He decided that it was extreme and offensive to state – even privately – that there was a link between Islam and violence.

And this is the problem now facing all Australian workers.

They can now be sacked because they express political views in their own time and outside of the workplace that their boss decides to be extreme.

It does not have to be over Islam. It could be that your views on the pay rates of female cricketers do not gel with a White Ribbon accredited workplace.

This view of the law is tyrannical.

And it explains why the ABC did not sack Yassmin Abdel-Magied – the ABC simply did not consider her attack on Anzac Day to be extreme.

It also explains why the Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, is able to express views supporting homosexual marriage and link them with Qantas but a baggage handler who happens to oppose homosexual marriage can be sacked for stating so on his Facebook page.

Under this interpretation of the law, Joyce has unfettered power to impose a cultural and political view within Qantas. And unfettered power to sack anyone who dares to disagree – even, almost, for statements they make around the kitchen table.

In a nutshell, the Australian Human Rights Commission view of the world has been injected into every HR department in Australia.

This is why I have fought my case. This situation is insane, wrong and a direct attack on freedom.

I will keep you updated as this matter progresses.

And if I lose, we do have fall-back option. We simply need to gain power and fire anyone with left-wing views.

It will be entirely lawful.

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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