Dr Gary Rumble will face HWL Ebsworth today in the Federal Court, Sydney, alleging that the national firm unfairly dismissed him after he made public statements concerning the Australian Defence Force.
The comments surrounded a 2011–2012 review he led into allegations of sexual and other abuse in the ADF, which found that there were numerous cases of degrading sexual, physical and psychological abuse inflicted on boys as young as 13 in the Army, Navy and Air Force from the 1940s until the 1980s.
Dr Rumble claimed HWL Ebsworth did not want him to speak to the media about the review and says he was sacked from firm shortly after the publication of a Fairfax Media article, which stated that the ADF “is still failing the victims of abuse”.
His action against HWL Ebsworth is, among other grounds, under S 351 of the Fair Work Act, which prohibits dismissal because of the exercise of one’s political views.
A statement sent to Lawyers Weekly from victims highlighted support for Dr Rumble in the proceedings, saying he is to be congratulated for his public advocacy.
“The dead will judge us by our indifference. The dead will judge us by our silence. The fact that abuse in the Australian Defence Force has been going on since Federation is a crime against the proud history of the Australian Defence Force. The fact that it is ongoing is a crime against humanity," added Jennifer Jacomb, secretary and public officer.
"We will not be silent and will be proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Dr. Rumble at the Federal Court on Monday.”