At 11:53am on Tuesday 22nd January, Bernard Gaynor announced via social media that he would be running for a seat in the Senate, as a member of Bob Katter’s Australia Party. Not long after, the deluge of bizarre tweets had begun:
2:42pm 22 Jan @BernardGaynor: As a KAP senator I’ll have the courage to close borders to those who do not accept Aussie values – burkas are not a sign of tolerance. #auspolI’m quite certain that not accepting the women who wear burkas is a far stronger sign of intolerance, particularly from a man who has spent considerable slabs of his life in Iraq, and a flying visit to Afghanistan.
By 7:38pm, the Sunshine Coast Daily was reporting that Mr Gaynor has said that “Climate Change is crap”. Despite the overwhelming weight of science, in this country the debate on climate change continues, so Mr Gaynor’s position is not rare. It’s just dumb. Mr Gaynor is a proud climate science denier though, and tweeted a link to the story.
The tweeting continued, on topics as diverse as denial of climate change to defence of his Catholicism to the boganisation of Australia Day and the use of the Aussie flag in Australia Day celebrations. Controversial, conservative, and largely unsurprisingly.
Wednesday 23rd January was to be the retired army major’s own chapter of revelations.
8:11pm 23 Jan @BernardGaynor As a KAP senate nominee in Qld and former Party National General Secretary, I fully support Tess Corbett.Tess Corbett is another now-former KAP candidate whose claim to infamy is her statement that she considers gays and lesbians to be in the same category as paedophiles. Its Ms Corbett’s dicey version of the slippery slope: if we accept homosexuality as normal, we’ll eventually accept paedophilia too. That’s a slippery slide that is usually occupied by Liberal Cory Bernardi, who thinks acceptance of homosexuality will lead to acceptance of polygamy and bestiality. Isn’t it just possible that acceptance of homosexuality will lead to a decrease in depression and suicide within the gay community?
But I digress.
Less than a minute after his tweet supporting Tess Corbett, he tweeted again.
8:11pm 23 Jan @BernardGaynor I wouldn’t let a gay person teach my children and I am not afraid to say it. #auspolAnd there endeth a political career.
8:12pm 23 Jan @BernardGaynor If we value free speech and democracy then we would respect the right of Christians to hold their views about right and wrong.Fair enough, too. I sincerely agree with this point, at least. What Mr Gaynor doesn’t mention is that in every state and territory in this country, it is illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of a lawful sexual preference.
Mr Gaynor was less than 36 hours into the role of candidate, so perhaps we should forgive him for being so naïve in the ways of Twitter:
8:47pm 23 Jan @BernardGaynor Woah! Just said prayers & put kids 2 bed. Came back to find many ppl tweeting against discretion over teachers. #goodluckwiththat
8:49pm 23 Jan @BernardGaynor Parents should have discretion over who teachers their children. #auspolAround about this time, one of two things happened: Either Bob Katter phoned Mr Gaynor and told him to get off Twitter before he does any more damage, or Bernard himself realised that he was facing a whole world of twitter-related pain, and decided to pray about it. Mr Gaynor’s increasingly popular twitter account went dark. There were no new tweets until the following day when he tweeted a link to a press release containing “clarifying comments”.
It’s always a concern when a politician needs to issue clarifying comments – surely politicians should be able to communicate at a professional level, with honesty and precision, and not need to elucidate their comments later. But no – serial clarifiers include Andrew Laming and Barnaby Joyce. Australians are lucky though – at least none of our politicians have tweeted their Anthony Weiners at us yet. I wonder what a clarifiying statement on that one would look like!
|The shortlist (so far) of things Bernard Gaynor doesn't like|
Of course, if you can’t afford a private school that reflects your values, you can enjoy the widely varied range of qualified teachers available in the public school system, and stop making sexual orientation an issue. Alternately, give up your day job and home-school the children.
Mr Gaynor has received a swag of hate-tweets and death-wishes since making his homophobic comments on twitter, and that makes both of us sad. It’s a shock when it happens. I’ve received twitter death-threats from a political candidate because I (politely) challenged his views. Twitter can be a trial because of a handful of people with strongly held extremist perspectives and no idea how to conduct themselves in public.
And that’s it. He has been suspended from Katter’s Australia Party, and which means he won’t be standing for the senate as a member of the KAP. That should have been the end of the shortest, saddest political career since Mal Meninga tried to run as an independent in the ACT. Big Mal lasted a mere 28 seconds; Bernard Gaynor still hasn’t accepted that his race with the Katter stable is over. He’s still tweeting.
25th Jan @BernardGaynor I agree with KAP candidate Jamie Cavanough. I don’t want to buy meat that has been faced towards Mecca and blessed.The rationale provided by Mr Cavanough is that if he buys Halal meat, some of the money from his purchase might find its way to the Muslim Community. It’s nice to have his position on Muslims confirmed; it wasn’t quite clear after his comment about burkas.
Meanwhile, just after 2pm today, Mr Gaynor released a statement confirming that he would be fighting his suspension from the KAP. It’s worth reading.
And that’s one helluva hate list to have put out there in just a few tweets: Bernard Gaynor’s 35 tweets have indicated that he does not tolerate gays, Muslims, climate scientists, Bogans and even Bob Katter. It’s fortunate that he has his faith and his family; it appears that he doesn’t have much else right now.
BTW, there is no mention of Mr Gaynor on the official Katter's Australia Party website.