I issued the following press release a short time ago, following General David Hurley’s decision to terminate my commission as a reserve officer in the Australian Army.
On his last day as Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley signed a document terminating the commission of Army Reserve major, Bernard Gaynor. The decision will take effect by Monday.
Mr Gaynor came under the fire of Defence hierarchy after objecting to uniformed ADF involvement in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. He also lodged several complaints internally with Defence highlighting that lawful orders prohibit uniformed attendance at political events and religious vilification.
In his decision, General Hurley states that Mr Gaynor’s commission is being terminated because the manner in which he expressed his Catholic beliefs was inconsistent with the standards required of Defence members.
Surprisingly, General Hurley’s letter admits that Mr Gaynor’s complaints have not been properly addressed. The letter also acknowledges that Defence investigations have found that Christianity was vilified at the Mardi Gras. However, General Hurley then went on to say that he is satisfied that Defence’s response has been adequate.
This response has been to continue allowing ADF participation in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
Mr Gaynor now says that he is looking at taking legal action.
“I am currently receiving legal advice and I can tell you that this battle may have been lost, but the war is not over,” Mr Gaynor said.
“The termination letter from General Hurley is an admission that a Defence investigation has found that he allowed ADF members to participate in an event that vilified Christianity.”
“The same document that General Hurley has finally admitted exists also stated that the Mardi Gras was a political event and that soldiers would be severely dealt with if they participated in an event that vilified Islam in the same way that Christianity was attacked at the Mardi Gras.”
“This is an unacceptable situation. Christians in this country expect the Australian Defence Force to protect them. Instead, we are in a situation where the military is protecting the religious beliefs of this nation’s enemies, while ridiculing Christianity.”
“Furthermore, Western democratic conventions and our Commonwealth law prevents the military from participating in domestic political activity.”
“There is a very strong case that the incoming New South Wales Governor has committed military offences by ordering Defence participation in a political activity. He is also responsible for allowing subordinates to breach lawful general orders prohibiting religious vilification.”
“The Chief of Defence Force does not have the power to suspend these orders because they are not simply military commands. They are based on Commonwealth law and Defence is bound by those laws.”
“This issue is much bigger than Bernard Gaynor. It is about our democracy and the right for Christians in Australia to practise their religious beliefs freely and without harassment from the military.”