Kennett to be sued over gay comment
16th October 2008
A PROMINENT Sydney gay activist plans to sue former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett over comments he made about the sacking of a bisexual trainer from a country football club.
Gary Burns, who successfully sued Sydney radio station 2UE over comments made by former 2UE announcer John Laws about homosexual men, says he will take Mr Kennett to the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal.
Mr Kennett, chairman of the national anti-depression body beyondblue and AFL football club Hawthorn, said in July this year the Bonnie Doon Football Club was right to dismiss bisexual trainer Ken Campagnolo because of his sexuality.
At the time, Mr Campagnolo was fighting his dismissal.
"The club felt that once this had been pointed out and you had this gentleman there who was obviously close to young men - massaging young men - it ran an unnecessary risk, and that's why it decided it was best that he not perform those duties again. So the club was trying to do the right thing," Mr Kennett said at the time.
"When you are in charge of a group of young boys, as this club was, as I understand it, it's got to make sure.
"It's the same if you have a pedophile there as a masseur, right?"
Mr Burns said he would use NSW anti-discrimination laws to take action against Mr Kennett because the comments "are inciting hate against gay men".
"Linking pedophilia to a characteristic of male homosexuality is abhorrent. There's no figures to back that up. This is all basically to place fear in the minds of parents who have male children," he said.
If he wins, Mr Burns said he would donate any monetary damages to Twenty10, a group that assists young gay men, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people forced to leave home because of family conflict.
But Mr Burns said money was not the issue.
"We have to use litigation in some areas just to remind people that with their alleged free speech comes responsibility," he said.
In response, Mr Kennett said he was surprised by Mr Burns' legal action.
Source: The Australian