According to his own account (published in On Line Opinion this morning), Bernard Gaynor’s commission as a major in the Australian Army Reserve is to be terminated because of his conservative Roman Catholic views on homosexuality and Islam.
If his account is correct, and we’re happy to publish an Army response, then it appears to be a breach of his “traditional rights” of freedom of speech and freedom of conscience.
It is these rights that Tim Wilson has been appointed to the Human Rights Commission to defend, so this would appear to be a matter he should look into.
The army has looked at charging Gaynor for various his views, but this has come to nought:
My crime was to express personal opinions, based on my Catholic beliefs, regarding homosexuality and the Islamic religion.
In doing so, I did not breach any Defence laws or policies. In fact, Defence hierarchy tried charging me, but all 12 counts were discontinued when they reached the Director of Military Prosecution’s desk. He found that there was no prospect of conviction. Prior to this, the ADF Investigative Service reported that I had not breached any military laws. A second high-level administrative investigation with extensive powers examined whether I was anti-homosexual, anti-woman, anti-transgender and racist. It also concluded that allegations against me were unsubstantiated. However, despite being cleared in every investigation, the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF), General David Hurley, has proceeded with administrative action to terminate my commission.
This sets a dangerous precedent that is detrimental to ADF capability, internal discipline and retention of public support. This can be seen with the ADF’s approach to the controversial subject of Islam.
In our current society, Gaynor’s views are extreme, but that doesn’t mean he should be punished for holding them.
After surviving three tours of duty in the Iraq War, it would appear that he could be a martyr in another war – that of culture.