11 February 2010

New inquiry directed into HMAS Success sex betting book

A review of a grievance by a Royal Australian Navy sailor has led to Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston today directing that a fresh inquiry be made into a range of matters arising from equity and diversity issued on board the HMAS Success. This blog has previous discussed the HMAS Success sex betting book scandal here, here and here.

In a press release Houston said "I hae taken this decision following legal advise that the initial administrative inquiry is flawed due to bias. The flaws were identified during a review of a Redress of Grievance raised by a sailor involved in the initial inquiry. I am very disappointed that the inquiry was flawed; however, it is imperative that serious matters such as this are dealt with thorougly."

Defence Minister Senator John Faulkner told a Senate committee hearing today that he was "extremely disappointed that this inquiry has been found to be flawed. Last October Senator

Both Faulkner and Houston have indicated that a retired senior judge will be appointed to conduct a new inquiry. The judge's "terms of reference will be comprehensive and include a complete review of the circumstances surrounding the range of matters arrisng from the equity and diversity issued on board the HMAS Success" said Faulkner in prepared statement.

Chief of the Navy Vice Admiral Russ Crane weighed into the issue. "Ensuring that my personnel behave appropriately, ashore and at sea, is fundamental to the cultrual reform that I am driving as part of the New General Navy program. Equally important is my commitment to ensuring that all my personnel have access to a fair, robus and just inquiry system and that they are supported throughout the process," said Crane.

Defence is making no further comment about the issue at this time. Thus far the opposition has not issued any statements on today's hearing according to their website, which can be found here. Last October Senator David Johnston (Liberal-WA), the Shadow Minister for Defence, issued a press release criticizing the government's handling of the case. I've previously discussed that here.

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