Sunday, 9 February 2014

I'm sorry Messrs Abbott and Morrison, I need proof given the Royal Australian Navy's history in recent years

In January 2014 two Royal Australian Navy vessels, HMAS Parramatta (a frigate commanded by Cmdr. Simon Cannell) and HMAS Glenelg (a patrol boast under rotational command) were identified in the media in relation to allegations of asylum seeker abuse.

The Sydney Morning Herald 22 January 2014:

The allegations relate to a boat that sailed from Kupang, in West Timor, bound for Darwin in late December.
Yousif Fasher, one of the passengers, said at the time the boat had reached a small island near Darwin before the engine broke down and they called the United Nations for help.
Two Australian navy ships, HMAS Parramatta and HMAS Glenelg, had come to take them from the island...

I note that at least one of these ships, HMAS Parramatta, is included in the list below, as is the frigate HMAS Ballarat which is also performing border protection duties involving asylum seeker boats.

The Prime Minister, Immigration Minister and Defence Minister have all defended the Navy with regard to the abuse allegations, however they have offered no proof of innocence or proof of a properly conducted investigation.

Given that both onshore violence by RAN members and onwater violence aboard naval ships is known to occur, the Abbott Government needs to fully investigate the asylum seeker allegations and publish the results of such an investigation.

Brief history listing certain allegations, criminal charges and/or convictions involving serving members of the Royal Australian Navy between 2011-13

Sky News 8 November 2013:

A woman claims the 'inappropriate behaviour' that prompted the navy to launch an investigation into sailors involved sexual assaults on young male sailors on HMAS Ballarat.
The Navy has confirmed the ship involved in the allegations is Anzac Class Frigate HMAS Ballarat, which is currently deployed on border protection operations.
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, said the navy was being as open and transparent as it could within the limits of its investigation processes.
'Allegations such as these are serious and it is critical that the investigative process is properly followed. As such I will not speculate on any aspect of the allegations,' he said in a statement on Thursday.
'We have dealt with the allegations swiftly and I reiterate that inappropriate behaviour is not consistent with our values and is not tolerated in Navy.'
The woman who made the sexual assault claims is a former navy member who alleged younger male sailors were set upon and sexually assaulted by their crewmates.
'People were set upon by other members, stripped off and had things essentially put in their bums,' the woman, identified only as Bridget, told Network Ten on Thursday.
In one instance, a sailor was left with a bleeding rectum after being anally penetrated by a whiteboard marker, she claimed.
Bridget said her friends still serving in the navy had asked her to get the truth out, because people were scared.
'If it happened in a normal workplace, the police would be called, charges would be laid,' she said.
The Australian Defence Force opened a formal investigation on Tuesday after allegations against some members of an unnamed ship's company were made by a sailor.
However investigators will not be able to join the ship for several days.
HMAS Ballarat responded to a distress call from an asylum-seeker boat off the coast of Indonesia.
Australian Customs and Border Protection and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority could not comment on Thursday. The federal government is not scheduled to brief the nation on border protection until Friday.
However Indonesian search and rescue agency, BASARNAS, has confirmed to AAP that a distress call had been received from a vessel in the Sunda Strait earlier on Thursday.
The Indonesian spokesman said HMAS Ballarat had responded to the distress call from the boat.

AFTER 20 years of an unblemished naval career, and having completed his technical engineering exams only last Friday, a 37-year old lieutenant has been convicted of committing an act of indecency by using a mirror to spy on a shipmate in the showers on board HMAS Parramatta this year.
Lieutenant James McLaren stood to attention as the court-martial panel, headed by Commander John Peterie, handed down its verdict in Sydney yesterday. The panel heard the accused man had been shaving on January 2 when the victim, a sailor in her 30s, entered the bathroom.
After exchanging greetings they stepped into adjacent shower cubicles. There were no other occupants at the time.
The woman was drying herself inside the stall when she noticed a mirror being angled in her direction from underneath the cubicle occupied by Lieutenant McLaren.
She fled the shower and ran into the ship's doctor, who testified she was in such a highly distressed state, he initially thought she had witnessed something ''catastrophic'', like a suicide.
Prosecutor Lieutenant-Commander Darren Musgrove said the accused had committed a ''breach of trust'' while the ship was in Dubai, at a time when the crew needed to act with maximum cohesion.
Sentencing will take place this morning.

Dept of Defence 15 April 2013:

A Navy member was convicted on 15 Apr 13 of five charges including one charge of aggravated robbery, one count of deprivation of liberty, one count of serious assault and two counts of assault following an appearance in the Northern Territory Supreme Court.
The member had previously appeared in the Northern Territory Supreme Court on 5 April 2013 pleading guilty to all charges. The sailor has been remanded in custody since his arrest.
The member has been cumulatively sentenced to eight years imprisonment, with five years suspended and five months already served.

Dept of Defence 13 December 2012:

A senior Navy member was found guilty on 12 December 2012 on four counts of obtaining financial advantage and three counts of obtaining a financial advantage by deception following a General Court Martial.
On 13 December 2012, the Court Martial imposed a loss of seniority in his current rank of Captain and fines in relation to each count. In addition, a reparation order was made in relation to the entitlements improperly claimed.

Department of Defence 31 August 2012:

A member from a Major Fleet Unit has been arrested by local police following an alleged aggravated assault.
 The member remains in police custody. Charges are pending interview of those involved and review of CCTV vision.
Naval police are working with local Police on this matter.
Legal and divisional support is being provided to the member.

Dept of Defence 7 August 2012:

A Naval member has been charged by State Police with offences relating to intimidation and damaging property.
The charges relate to a matter between the member and his female civilian partner who is currently 17 years of age.
The matter will be brought to the Local Magistrate Court on 15 Aug 12 for mention.
Command is currently considering suspending the member from duty pending the outcome of court proceedings.
The member is being provided with divisional and legal support.

Dept of Defence 13 July 2012:

A sailor was arrested by State Police and charged with a range of serious offences alleged to have occurred on 12 July 2012.
The sailor appeared in a local Magistrates Court on 13 July 2012.
Media reporting occurred on 13 July 2012 following the court appearance, but there was no mention of the Navy.
The sailor has been released on bail and will reappear on 2 August 2012.
The sailor is scheduled to discharge from the Navy on 26 August 2012 for unrelated reasons.
The sailor is being provided with divisional and legal support.

Dept of Defence 28 March 2012:

Allegation of sexual assault made by one sailor against another whilst serving together in a shore establishment.
The report was made on 26 March 2012, however the assault was alleged to have occurred approximately 18 months ago.
The sailor making the allegation is presently overseas on leave.
Both sailors currently serve in different establishments.
The ADF Investigative Service investigation will continue following the sailor's return from leave on 2 April 2012.
The matter will likely be referred to State police.
Both sailors will receive appropriate divisional, legal and medical support.

Department of Defence in response to questions asked by Channel 7, 11 January 2012:

In regard to the specific incidents you have raised:

A Feb 26 allegation of indecent assault aboard HMAS Success.
The Australian Defence Force Investigative Service investigated the alleged incident. The matter was subsequently referred to the Director of Military Prosecutions. The matter has been finalised and the accused was demoted in rank to Able Seaman.

Allegations reported in Sept 2011 of a senior officer aboard the Success in inappropriate relationships with junior sailors, including filmed acts of sex.
This matter is the subject of an ongoing ADFIS investigation.

Allegations of Sexual assaults aboard the HMAS Newcastle, Diamantina, and Darwin – all within the last year.
HMAS Diamantina – Matter was referred to NSW Police for investigation.
HMAS Newcastle – Matter referred to South Australian Police for investigation.
HMAS Darwin – this matter relates to sexual misconduct and is pending referral back to the Chain of Command.

The Age Editorial 8 February 2014:

We call on the government to commission a full and independent investigation into the incident that allegedly occurred on January 3 and to reveal the results of that investigation in their entirety. There is nothing to lose by doing so and much that might be gained. Indeed, the transparency provided by an independent investigation may well bolster confidence in the work being done by the navy and border control.
It is important to recognise that the interception of desperate people on boats can be very dangerous, but the navy and border control personnel are dealing with unarmed civilians seeking assistance here, not combatants. We are not at war, nor are we in a state of national emergency, despite the hysteria whipped up by the Abbott government. The point of a democracy is that we, the people, vest oversight of our institutions in the hands of an elected government. That oversight of institutions must be transparent and rigorous. It must never become captive to the political interests of the executive arm. And the oversight must not be lessened or curtailed merely because to probe deeper may reveal an inconvenient truth.

** Hat tip to the NCV reader who phoned me last night and gently nudged my memory**


On Page 3 of The Canberra Times on 31 July 1979:

Navy News 5 October 1979:


John Fraser said...


The rest of the world catches up to North Coast Voices :

Congratulations again on beating the MSM to the truth.

Anonymous said...

See H.M.A.S. Adroit : a case study in modern piracy by Paul Andrew Willee.