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[Statement on unacceptable behaviour in the Navy]

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MEDIA RELEASE Senator the Hon. Robert Hill Leader of the Government in the Senate Minister for Defence


15 Feb 2002 MIN 50/02



As a result of allegations of misconduct involving HMAS Arunta crew at Christmas Island, Rear Admiral Adams (Deputy Chief of Navy) ordered an inquiry under the Defence (Inquiry) Regulations.

The Inquiry was conducted by Colonel T. McCullagh.

The Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral David Shackleton, has advised me that he has accepted the report of the inquiry.

Admiral Shackleton has further advised that as a result of the report, he has directed the Maritime Commander to conduct separate Defence Force Disciplinary Act Investigations into two incidents.

Allegations of an act of indecency against a female sailor 1. The destruction of a video tape which may have contained material evidence relating to a separate incident of unacceptable behaviour. 2.

Investigations will be conducted by service police and the report is due to be completed by March 8, 2002.

As a result of allegations of misconduct by Royal Australian Navy personnel during a visit by HMAS Kanimbla and HMAS Adelaide to Diego Garcia, Admiral Shackleton ordered an assessment under the Administrative Inquiries Manual to determine the facts. He appointed Group Captain I. Meyn to conduct the inquiry. Admiral Shackleton has advised me that he has now accepted the report.

As a result of the report, the Admiral directed the Maritime Commander to conduct an investigation under the Defence Force Disciplinary Act. The investigation will be conducted by service police.

Admiral Shackleton has also advised me that he will be issuing further guidance relating to the reporting of such incidents through the Navy command chain with the intent of ensuring that all allegations are investigated in a timely and formal manner.

Furthermore, he has informed me that whilst he is satisfied there are no systemic difficulties in the Navy in relation to unacceptable behaviour, more will be done to reinforce Navy’s values. He intends to do this through enhancing the Navy values program and by directing Rear Admiral Adams to directly report to him on these matters.

Senator Hill said he was satisfied with the way in which the issues were being handled.

"It’s a great pity that the poor behaviour of a small minority reflects badly on the Service. The vast majority of Navy personnel are doing a great job for Australia and deserve community appreciation and support," Senator Hill said.



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