Update - allegations of unacceptable behaviour onboard HMAS Ballarat

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File image: HMAS Ballarat. (photo: Unknown)
File image: HMAS Ballarat.

The Chief of Navy (CN), Vice Admiral Ray Griggs has confirmed his strong stance against unacceptable behaviour in his latest update on the allegations relating to HMAS Ballarat.

“Navy does not tolerate unacceptable behaviour. It is inconsistent with its values. Unacceptable behaviour by individuals damages our people and our effectiveness to conduct operations and achieve our mission,” he said.

He advised that the Australian Defence Force Investigative Service (ADFIS) investigation team have made substantial progress in their investigation into matters surrounding the allegations of unacceptable behaviour in HMAS Ballarat.

As a result of this ongoing ADFIS investigation there is a reasonable suspicion that three members of HMAS Ballarat ship’s company have committed serious service offences. Pursuant to the Defence Force Discipline Act these three sailors were recently suspended from duty.

CN would not go into details about the allegations, making the point that “due to the serious nature of these allegations, maintaining the integrity of the investigative process remains my principal concern.”

“That said, I am keen to remain as open and transparent as possible without compromising the investigative process,” Vice Admiral Griggs said.

Similar to civilian criminal investigative processes, evidence gathered will now be referred for prosecutorial review. The ADFIS team is continuing their investigation and will prepare a brief of evidence for the independent Director of Military Prosecutions (DMP) to consider.

In the same update, CN has announced that a separate Administrative Inquiry into certain aspects relating to the HMAS Ballarat allegations has commenced. This inquiry is being run with the full agreement of the ADFIS and is designed to identify any broader procedural or cultural issues that may require further action by Navy.