Activist contests his dismissal from army

Noel Towell

One of Australia’s highest-profile anti-gay activists has recruited one of the nation’s busiest anti-Islam campaigners to help him get his job back as an Army Reserve officer.

Bernard Gaynor, sacked by the army over his online comments about gays, Muslims and women, has hired Sydney lawyer Robert Balzola to represent him
in a Federal Court challenge to his sacking, which came into effect on Friday [11 July].

Mr Balzola has been involved in the groups “Concerned Citizens of Canberra” and “Concerned Citizens of Bendigo”, which have campaigned against mosques being opened in the Australian Capital Territory and the Victorian regional city.

The Sydney lawyer and Liberal Party member has also taken part in similar campaigns in Sydney, including the opposition to an Islamic school in Camden, while Mr Gaynor has lent his support to the latest “Concerned Citizens” campaign in Bendigo.

But the team has lost its first legal gambit against Mr Gaynor’s sacking by failing to secure a last-minute injunction on the dismissal.

Federal Court Judge Robert Buchanan has found no need for an emergency injunction and told Mr Gaynor and Mr Balzola to lodge their application to challenge the army’s decision in the usual way.

The former intelligence officer, father of five, and Iraq veteran said he was keen to pursue the case but would make a final decision after more talks with his legal team.

“The Chief of the Defence Force acted to terminate my commission in a biased manner,” Mr Gaynor said. “There’s a whole bunch of reasons why this decision is wrong; what you’ve got is a black-and white case of political discrimination in the Australian Defence Force.”

Mr Gaynor declined to discuss how he teamed up with Mr Balzola.

Mr Gaynor’s dismissal from his Army Reserve position came after Defence Force Chief General David Hurley questioned his ability to up-hold the values of the Australian Army.

“Your public comments demonstrate attitudes that are demeaning and demonstrate intolerance of homosexual persons, transgender persons and women, and are contrary to the . . . cultural change currently being undertaken within the army,” General Hurley wrote in a minute.

Mr Gaynor’s sacking was set in train in December last year, despite the former officer claiming he had been cleared of wrongdoing by two military investigations, and became final at midnight, 11 July.

From: http://www.smh.com.au/national/antigay-and-antiislam-activists-team-up-2...