Update to investigation into allegations of inappropriate behaviour

11 June 2014 | Media Release

The Royal Australian Navy has initiated administrative action against eight members, as part of the ongoing process associated with the Administrative Inquiry into allegations of unacceptable behaviour in HMAS Ballarat first reported by Navy in November last year.
Proposed actions range from termination from the Navy to formal warnings.  The eight personnel now have an opportunity to submit a response to Notices to Show Cause in coming weeks.
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, said the decision to commence administrative action demonstrated Navy’s commitment to address unacceptable behaviour.
“We have worked to clearly articulate what behaviour is appropriate in our workplace.  Accountability is a feature of our cultural change program.  All personnel are aware that Navy will not tolerate unacceptable behaviour,” he said.
While the inquiry report recommended action against eight individuals, the inquiry found that there is no clear evidence of a pattern of systemic unacceptable behaviour or a deep-seated culture of hazing ceremonies or rituals within the ship.
Separate to the Administrative Inquiry, the Australian Defence Force Investigative Service (ADFIS) also conducted an investigation.
ADFIS referred a brief of evidence to the independent Director of Military Prosecutions (DMP), who determined that there was insufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction.
Vice Admiral Griggs confirmed his commitment to providing transparency on the matter.
“I will continue to provide updated information when there is no risk that it may prejudice the integrity of the investigation or administrative proceedings.  While I am pleased the report has found no clear evidence of a pattern of systemic unacceptable behaviour, Navy takes all allegations of this nature very seriously,” he said.
At the time of the initial allegations in HMAS Ballarat, VADM Griggs called for members of the Navy to come forward if they knew of other instances of the alleged behaviour. One instance from several years ago was brought to light as a result of this call and this matter is subject to an ongoing ADFIS investigation. As it is an ongoing matter Navy will not make any further comment at this time.
Defence will continue to provide updates on the progress of these matters when it is appropriate to do so.
Media contact:
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999

Issued by Ministerial and Executive Coordination and Communication,
Department of Defence,
Canberra, ACT
Phone: 02 6127 1999 Fax: 02 6265 6946

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