About Garry Burns

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Gary Burns is an Australian anti-discrimination campaigner.

He successfully tested the homosexual vilification provisions of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 with a complaint of personal homosexual vilification against broadcaster John Laws and Sydney radio station 2UE that concluded in his favour in 2002.[1]

Burns went on to front public interest cases against high profile figures and media establishments for unlawful homosexual vilification.[2][3][4][5]

In November 2007, during the lead up to that year’s federal election, Burns endorsed the Australian Labor Party and volunteered for its candidate for the seat of Wentworth, George Newhouse. After publicly verballing Lucy Turnbull, a former Lord Mayor of Sydney and wife of the incumbent Liberal candidate, Malcolm Turnbull, Burns was dumped from the campaign and an apology issued by Newhouse.[7]

In 2009, Burns initiated action against Jeff Kennett, a former Premier of Victoria, now President of the Hawthorn Football Club and Chair of the national depression initiative Beyondblue. Kennett made comments in 2008 which appeared to equate homosexuality with pedophilia in reference to the sacking of a bisexual sports trainer, Ken Campagnolo, by the Bonnie Doon Football Club.[8] A conciliation hearing was held in NSW, with Kennett refusing meet Burns’ key demands: that he apologise publicly to the gay community and donate a sum of money to a nominated GLBT youth charity, Twenty10.[9]

In 2010, Burns took action against Channel Nine over a skit broadcast on The Footy Show which he claimed incited violence against homosexuals.[10] On 10 November 2010, the Administrative Decisions Tribunal dismissed the complaint, finding that while the skit was “tasteless, offensive and unfortunate,” it was “not capable of inciting hatred, or severe contempt or serious ridicule of homosexual men or of the Applicant [Burns].”[11][12]

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