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Sunday, 6 October 2013. An Open Letter to General David John Hurley AC DSC Chief of Defence Force

Re: Major Bernard Gaynor

Dear Sir,

I was born in 1950 some three years earlier than you and I too served in the Australian Army, and trained as an officer. Many of my colleagues also served in the Vietnam Conflict as officers; and for you to consider removing his Queen's Commission as a result of the comments he (Major Bernard Gaynor ) made is a step in the wrong direction.

Having seen first-hand the attitudes and views the Australian Army had during the Vietnam Era it is refreshing at last to see a much needed about face on policy towards homosexuality and sexual equality. Recent events such as the Skype scandal and the “Jedi Council” scandal only demonstrate the diversity of human nature and its inherent problems for the Army.

However, when a member of the Army expresses personal views which I believe he is entitled to and is subject to show cause why he should not be terminated from the military then Sir, you have taken a step too far!

I personally do not condone or condemn the comments made by Major Gaynor, but as a parent he has the right to choose who educates his children as do/did you or I and whether we opt for public or private schooling is also  a matter of choice. I would also suggest strongly that the only way to overcome bigotry is by educating and not dominating to the extent that officers may no longer express personal opinions openly without threat of termination.

My question to you Sir is: Can the Army succeed where the community has failed to embrace an all-encompassing love thy neighbour way of existence on matters of sexuality, equality and conduct? I think not? Having been raised a Christian I now follow the philosophies of Buddha, and try very hard not to demean or belittle others by my actions or by my inactions allow injustice or unfair events to occur.

To get to crux of the matter now, does the Army have the right to remove the commission that Bernard Gaynor justly earned because of his comments I think not! Tolerance and understanding will always serve us better than a one size fits all approach, I quote now from the Bible Ephesians 4:2 “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love”

To allow people the chance to grow and rise above bigotry we need to educate not dominate, and in the words of Buddha “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

I therefore strongly request that you do not remove/terminate Major Gaynor’s commission, but instead allow for some guidance that all can appreciate and show that the Army has in a small way become humanised for the betterment of all of it members past present and future.

The author is a graduate of OTU ScheyvilleGeoff Houghton

Further Reading 

Petition launched to Minister for Defence to stop General Hurley sacking Army Major Gaynor