Defence fights Gaynor's dismissal win
The chief of the Defence Force has launched an appeal against a court order to reinstate a reservist who posted anti-gay comments online.
Special Broadcasting Service
December 22, 2015
The Australian Defence Force will fight a Federal Court ruling to overturn the sacking of an army reservist who posted anti-gay comments online.
Bernard Gaynor was fired as a Defence Force major in December 2013 for making a string of "offensive and divisive" public statements about gay and transgender people, as well as adherents of Islam.
"I wouldn't let a gay person teach my children and I'm not afraid to say it," Gaynor tweeted in January 2013.
Later, he berated the ADF in a series of press releases for allowing its officers to wear their uniforms at Mardi Gras.
He also engaged in a social media stoush with high-profile transgender Army officer Cate McGregor, and spoke out against the alleged violent threat Islam posed to Australia.
The ADF sacked Gaynor after deeming his comments jarred with military rules, breaking a ban on posting material offensive towards any group based on personal attributes.
However, a Federal Court judge this month found Gaynor's comments were made in a personal capacity and protected by the freedom of political communication, ordering his sacking be set aside.
The chief of the Defence Force has launched an appeal against the decision.
On Tuesday, the Federal Court was told every day Gaynor's reinstatement was delayed further eroded his rank and reputation.
Gaynor's lawyer, Peter King, said his client was a decorated officer who needed full access to Army bases to undertake training exercises.
He said Gaynor wanted his Army Reserve pass, service number and base access back while the "flimsy" appeal against him progressed.
But barrister Jeremy Kirk, appearing for the chief of defence, said immediately installing Gaynor to his former position would risk him speaking out against the military while the appeal was afoot.
Mr Kirk instead offered to formally recognise Gaynor's reinstatement without allowing him access to military bases and activities.
Justice Jacqueline Gleeson ordered Gaynor be officially "rehired" but that he not be granted full service rights until the matter returns to court on January 29.
Related Topics: Free Speech Legal Case
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