January 31, 2014 | Graham

One for new Human Rights Commissioner?

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.

Posted by Graham at 7:42 am | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. This demonstrates the power of the disease of political correctness. Any wrongheaded idea proliferated by a vocal minority can become accepted by an unthinking majority; in this case to the extent that they ere so misled as to believe that there was a legal basis for objection to a person’s rightfully held opinion.

    The victim, having wrongfully sustained the full force of the Army against him, is now limited to his own resources to seek justice. It is to be hoped that the Army will see fit to rectify this of its own volition, and to ream political correctness out of its system

    Comment by Leo Lane — January 31, 2014 @ 1:29 pm

  2. As a Major in the army, Gaynor would exert influence over his subordinates. It is unclear whether he kept his intolerance to himself, or obeyed the injunctions of his faith and proselytised, thus causing pain to those of whom he disapproved. Nothing is ever simple.

    Comment by Saki — February 3, 2014 @ 5:08 pm

  3. ‘It is unclear’ writes Saki.
    Ie ‘I am arguing from ignorance’.

    No evidence has been proffered that the dismissal was over discriminatory speech in the workplace or proselytising. Why do you need to invent charges that have not been made?

    The part that interests me is that the Major’s claims have not been supported by independent evidence.

    Comment by Chris — February 9, 2014 @ 1:29 pm

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