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FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DEFENCE AND TRADE REFERENCES COMMITTEE—REFERENCE

Senator Johnston, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved business of the Senate notice of motion no. 2—That the following matters be referred to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee for inquiry and report by 18 March 2010:

 (a) the nature, scope and purpose of an `Equity and Diversity Health Check' in the Royal Australian Navy, and under what authority such an investigation is conducted;

 (b) the equity and diversity issues at large on board HMAS Success (Success) giving rise to the `Equity and Diversity Health Check' which was carried out on board Success between 21 April and 9 May 2009 including inter alia all disciplinary issues, the transfer of a Royal Navy exchange sailor, the management of equity and diversity issues by the ship's Commanding Officer and his Executive Officer both before and after the `Equity and Diversity Health Check';

 (c) the nature and veracity of complaints and allegations made by a Petty Officer or any other person concerning equity and diversity issues on Success;

 (d) the reasons and factual evidentiary basis for the ship's Commanding Officer resolving to land a Chief Petty Officer and two Petty Officers (the senior sailors) at Singapore on 9 May 2009 from Success and the circumstances of that landing and removal from the ship including whether the Commanding Officer acted under the direction of any superior officer;

 (e) whether the senior sailors were informed of the full nature of the allegations and factual evidentiary basis for the subsequent landing in a timely fashion or at all, and whether procedural fairness was provided to those senior sailors;

 (f) the circumstances and events that led to the Commanding Officer of Success addressing members of the crew in relation to the landing of the senior sailors, whether the Commanding Officer referred to the senior sailors by stating words to the effect of `there was a rotten core on this ship and the core has now been removed' and if so, the extent that those comments may have prejudiced any subsequent inquiry;

 (g) whether the Inquiry Officer as appointed pursuant to terms of reference, dated 15 May, and as set out in Minute S1804843, dated 10 July 2009, declined to interview any relevant witnesses in circumstances where the senior sailors were prohibited from attending Success and or contacting any of the ship's company;

 (h) the way in which the inquiry into the events on Success was conducted, whether the method of questioning witnesses and gathering evidence was conducted according to the principles of justice, whether the inquiry process was free from any perception of bias, and whether any witnesses were threatened with disciplinary or other action during the course of giving evidence;

 (i) whether the senior sailors requested access to evidence gathered during the inquiry into the events on Success, whether any such request was denied, and whether any subsequent finding is reasonable in the circumstances;

 (j) the facts and circumstances of the treatment of the Legal Officer (the lawyer) assigned to the management and defence of the case of the senior sailors including any threats, bullying, adverse conduct and prejudice generally, including any threat of posting to Western Australia, and whether any such conduct constituted an attempt to compromise the lawyer's capacity to represent the best interests of the senior sailors without fear or favour;


 (k) the knowledge and awareness of the ship's Commanding Officer, the Australian Defence Force Investigative Service investigators and the broader naval chain of command of the facts and circumstances relating to the Channel 7 News reports on 4 July and 7 July 2009 (the media reports) and the dates and times of such personnel being availed of such knowledge and awareness;

 (l) the knowledge and awareness of the media reports by the responsible Minister and the dates and times of the Minister being availed of such knowledge and awareness; and

 (m) all and any other matters relating to the justice and equity of the management of the senior sailors in their removal from the ship and the subsequent administrative process or processes, including their complaints as to the flawed process as set out herein.

Senator Xenophon, by leave, moved the following amendment:

 At the end of the motion, add:

 (2) That the committee not conduct any hearings until after 1 February 2010.

Statement by leave: The Minister for Defence (Senator Faulkner), by leave, made a statement relating to the motion.

Question—That the amendment be agreed to—put and passed.

Main question, as amended, put and passed.