Bernard Gaynor has sued the Chief of Defence Force


Brisbane 8 August 2014. Bernard Gaynor has sued the Chief of Defence Force for terminating his commission as a major in the Army Reserve on 11 July 2014. The former Chief of Defence Force, General David Hurley, signed off on the decision during his last day in office and will soon become the next Governor of New South Wales.

Mr Gaynor’s legal team lodged documents with the Federal Court last night, objecting to the decision on 20 separate grounds. These include breach of natural justice, improper exercise of power, errors of law, lack of evidence and exercise of discretionary power in bad faith.

Mr Gaynor will also argue that the decision conflicts with the implied freedom of political communication and conflicts with section 116 of the Constitution. This states that no religious test shall be required to hold a Commonwealth office.

Mr Gaynor has asked the Federal Court to issue orders overturning the termination decision and has sought damages for loss of military wages and reputation.

“This legal action will put the hierarchy of the Australian Defence Force on trial. Defence investigations have cleared me of wrongdoing and I will produce that documentary evidence in court.” Mr Gaynor said.

“I will be alleging that it is not me who has breached Defence policy and lawful general orders but the Chief of Defence Force.”

“I will lodge as evidence Defence’s own documents that show the Defence Intelligence Training Centre monitored and reported on the internal activities of a registered political party (Katter’s Australian Party) and that the Commanding Officer of this institution is concerned about conservative political opinions.”

“Defence’s own Quick Assessment reports also admit that the Mardi Gras is a political event in support of gay marriage and that Jesus Christ was vilified during this parade. These same documents state that Defence members would be severely dealt with if they attended an event in uniform that vilified Mohammad.”

“Additionally, Defence documents implicitly admit that participants at the Mardi Gras performed sexual acts in front of children. The Chief of Defence Force will be required to justify why he has terminated the commission of an officer for objecting to Defence support of this parade.”

“These actions appear to be a blatant violation of Defence policies prohibiting uniformed attendance at events of a political nature, sexually-explicit activity in the workplace, inappropriate advocacy of a particular sexual orientation and religious and political vilification.”

“Furthermore, the Chief of Defence Force has relied upon a military policy that states Defence should recognise and value difference and respect religious belief to terminate the commission of a Catholic officer with Arabic language skills.”

“This is the same Chief of Defence Force who wrote to me on 22 August 2013 that the public articulation of my religious beliefs undermined confidence in my ability to uphold the values of the Australian Army.”

“I will be alleging that this decision violates the very policy on which the Chief of Defence Force based his decision to terminate my commission.”

“This is an important legal action. It will determine whether it is lawful to object to military involvement in domestic political activity and how much freedom Christians in the military have to express their views.”

“It will also determine if the organisation charged with defending the freedoms of all Australians has the power to deem that those who publicly express a view that homosexuality is immoral cannot serve this nation,” Mr Gaynor said.

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