One man’s war

On Saturday, the Courier Mail published the article below by Des Houghton.


BRISBANE Catholic Bernie Gaynor’s one-man war began four years ago when he was booted out of the Australian Army for criticising military brass who gave homosexual troops permission to march in Sydney’s Gay Mardi Gras in uniform.

Gaynor is a former intelligence officer who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East and he had no idea his comments would plunge him down a legal rabbit hole that seems to have no end.

He refused to go quietly. And for that he has been hauled before the Human Rights Commission, anti-discrimination tribunals, the Federal Court, the Full Court of the Federal Court and the High Court.

His case has stunning implications for freedom of speech, yet has attracted little media attention.

Gaynor now faces $1.6 million in fines and jail time over a social media feud with Garry Burns, a well-known gay activist who made more than 30 complaints against him to the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board. The board has accepted 16 of them.

(I had a long conversation with Burns, but he declined to comment on the record.)

Bernie Gaynor served for 15 years in the Australian Army. Picture: Glenn Barnes

Gaynor said: “Our anti-discrimination tribunals have become the Thought Police.”

Gaynor is right. His saga highlights bedevilling contradictions between the states’ laws regarding perceived discrimination and vilification and our centuries-old traditions of freedom of speech and religion.

Regardless of what you think about Gaynor’s provocative right-wing commentaries, there is no ­denying that he is a champion of free speech in an age when it seems unfashionable, especially among left-wing media elites.

Gaynor traces his troubles back to the 2013 decision to let serving homosexuals march in the gay parade.

It offends Gaynor’s Catholic sensibilities when military men and women in uniform march with groups such as the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Shellharbour Hard Shaggers, GlamCocks, and Pup Pride Australia, which advocates the sexual fetish of humans crawling on all fours, with collars and leashes.

Gaynor’s commission was “terminated” by none other than Defence chief General David Hurley.

Gaynor further angered Defence chiefs for opposing women in combat roles and telling the army it underestimated the threat of militant Islam.

Hurley said Gaynor’s employment was “not in the interests of the Australian Army” and his behaviour “inconsistent” with new equity and diversity rules.

Hurley added: “The manner in which you publicly expressed your personal disagreement with Defence policy, particularly the support offered to homosexual and transgender members of the ADF and the decision to permit women to serve in combat roles is significantly below that expected of an officer in the army.”

Gaynor got sacked for little more than voicing an opposing opinion. Where was the media outrage?

Incredibly, he won his appeal in the Federal Court and his termination was set aside. However, he lost when Defence appealed to the Full Court and had that decision overturned.

Last week, he lost his bid to go to the High Court, although he is involved in another case there brought by Burns.

Gaynor said he loved his 15 years in the army and is proud of his family’s long association in the military. He can point to seven close and distant relatives who fought in Gallipoli.

“What I find very sad is the Australian Army and Australian Defence Force who are there to protect our freedoms have inflicted one of the ­biggest blows on those freedoms,” he said.

Gaynor wears his Catholicism on his sleeve. He has seven children and another on the way and this week he and his wife were out buying more bunk beds.

Gay activist Garry Burns.

He said not many people know that if you express a view in Queensland you can be dragged before a tribunal in NSW. And I believe you could be sacked at work for expressing views strongly against the Yes case if someone complains.”

When he spoke out against Muslim immigration, gay activists sent his home address to Muslim groups.

“There were threats and intimidation against me and my family and we had to move house for our own safety,” he said.

He survives on donations generated by his blog espousing traditional values. Last month, he got 294,000 page hits.

“I was sacked for expressing private political views, nothing more,” he said. “They found my views were in conflict with the Defence department’s cultural change agenda, even though I expressed my views in my own time outside the workplace.”

About the time Gaynor was sent packing, a homosexual soldier breached protocols by appearing on national television to condemn military chiefs for covering up abuse in the forces.

Unlike Gaynor, he kept his job and was not even reprimanded. So much for equality.

The latest High Court refusal to re-examine the case again was a blow to Gaynor.

“Essentially, it means the workers’ political views now belong to the company or the government department they work for.

“In the current debate over same-sex marriage, there are significant implications for free speech and freedom of religion.

“People should be aware that even before the law is changed, you can now be sacked for expressing traditional views in support of the current law on marriage.”

He still contends Defence was in breach of its own rules because the gay parade is a political rally as much as anything.

He also riled Defence chiefs when as a Katter Party official he put out a statement saying he didn’t want his children taught by homosexuals.

“Other people can live their lives however they want, but my wife and I want to be able to send our children to a Catholic school with Catholic teachers where they can get a Catholic education. Homosexual teachers do not fit into that.

“That statement had nothing to do with Defence or national security.

“However, I was still called in to my commanding officer and told my view was unacceptable and homophobic and could not be repeated.”

In truth, Gaynor was simply too hot to handle.

Gaynor has wide support inside and outside the military.

He needs to find another $60,000 for his legal ­defence and is planning a series of public speaking events to raise funds.

He said his ordeal shows the perils of voting Yes in the same-sex poll.

“You can already be sacked in Australia for defending the current law on marriage and the law hasn’t even changed yet. The question is, what is it going to be like when the law on marriage does change?

“If you vote Yes one of the consequences will be that your job security will be thrown out the window.’’

Workers would have to adhere to “politically correct agendas” in the workplace. He points to moves by Qantas to have staff wear marriage-equality rings.

“If they insisted you wear the ring and you said no, you could probably be sacked.”

The NSW Anti-Discrimination Board declined to comment.

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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