Navy News

From: Bill Krause

Sent: Thursday, February 09, 2012 6:48 PM

Subject:  Media Release – Remembering the Voyager disaster

Please find attached a media release from the Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader of the Opposition on the Centenary of ANZAC, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, regarding the anniversary of the sinking of HMAS Voyager on 10 February 1964.

For further information please contact Robert Hardie on 02 6277 3582.

Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson

Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader of the Opposition on the Centenary of ANZAC

Liberal Senator for Victoria

M E D I A   R E L E A S E

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Remembering the Voyager disaster

The anniversary of Australia’s worst peacetime naval disaster is a timely reminder of the service and sacrifice of Australia’s defence forces outside periods of conflict.

Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, paid tribute to the memory of 82 sailors killed on 10 February 1964, and expressed his support for the survivors of the tragedy, and their families.

“The Voyager disaster remains Australia’s worst peacetime naval disaster in our history”, Senator Ronaldson said.

“At 8.56pm on 10 February 1964, Daring Class Cruiser HMAS Voyager collided with the naval aircraft carrier, HMAS Melbourne.  The much larger Melbourne cut the Voyager in two, resulting in the loss of one in four members of the Voyager crew.”

“Two Royal Commissions were held into the circumstances of the accident.  This is the first time in Australian history that one incident has been inquired into by two separate Commissions.”

Senator Ronaldson extended his thoughts to the families of the deceased and the survivors of the accident.

“On behalf of the Coalition I extend my sympathy and thoughts on the 48th anniversary of the sinking of HMAS Voyager“, Senator Ronaldson said.

______________________________
Robert Hardie
Adviser

Office of Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson

Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs | Liberal Senator for Victoria

Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader of the Opposition on the Centenary of ANZAC

Suite S1.32 | Parliament House | CANBERRA ACT 2600
( 02 6277 3582 | 7 02 6277 5761

Level 17 | 90 Collins Street | MELBOURNE VIC 3000

( 03 9650 0255 | 7 03 9650 9031

From: Bill Krause
Sent: Thursday, February 09, 2012 9:26 PM
Subject: HMAS Success

Flawed command contributed to Success troubles

The World Today

By Sabra Lane

Updated February 09, 2012 19:02:11

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Map: Australia 

The Defence Department is dealing with revelations that a flawed chain of command contributed to poor behaviour onboard HMAS Success.

HMAS Success was on deployment to South East Asia thee years ago when allegations were raised of inappropriate conduct towards women, bullying and a tribal culture onboard the ship encompassing drunken and disreputable behaviour.

A censored report from the Commission of Inquiry into the affair found individual failure by those in the chain of command to take disciplinary action contributed to the problems that arose.

Disciplinary action against 55 individuals onboard the ship has been considered, with action taken against 18 of them ranging from a reduction in rank to formal censure to counselling.

Commissioner Roger Gyles who investigated the case says there was a good deal of bad behaviour on and off the ship and that there was a view that “what happened ashore, stayed ashore”, a view he says must change.

He says Defence should adopt a zero-tolerance attitude towards of unacceptable behaviour while sailors are on shore leave until the message that such behaviour is not tolerated gets through.

Mr Gyles has already handed down two reports regarding the episode.

In Parliament this morning, Defence Minister Stephen Smith outlined what had happened since those reports were handed down last year.

“Adverse administrative action, including termination of service, formal censure, reduction in rank, formal warnings and formal counselling, was considered against 55 individuals and initiated against 18 individuals who ranged in rank from Able Seaman through to star-ranked officers,” he said.

“Decisions relating to nine of these individuals have been made.

“Some of these decisions are subject to the redress of grievance process, but the outcomes have included formal censure, reduction in rank and formal counselling.

“In two instances, no further action was considered warranted.

“I’m advised decisions relating to another four individuals will be made in the coming weeks.”

Gun-shy

Audio: HMAS Success report finds breakdown in respect(The World Today)

The third and final report into the affair was released this morning. It deals with discipline and how the justice system operates within Defence.

Mr Gyles found there was little willingness from those in the chain of command onboard HMAS Success to take action, and that inaction may have contributed to the problems.

He wonders if reforms to military decision-making over the past 15 years have over-reached their mark, that maybe the pendulum has swung too far in favour of individuals, impinging upon the traditional role of command.

Mr Gyles wonders if the result is that commanders throughout the Navy are gun-shy when it comes to taking action against individuals behaving badly.

He found at the time of the incident, some of the poor behaviour onboard the ship was regarded as an equity and diversity issue when it should have been regarded as unacceptable behaviour.

This report makes a suggestion that having made changes in the past to the relationship between military justice and command decisions, it’s probably time to have a look at that to make sure that lines and chains of command haven’t been unduly interfered with

Defence Minister Steven Smith

And he concludes as a consequence, individuals were not subject to disciplinary or administrative action which resulted in unacceptable behaviour being “swept under the carpet”.

Improve

Mr Gyles suggests a range of changes to improve the conduct of inquiries, the application of military justice and administrative procedures within Defence.

The Government says they are under consideration.

“This report makes a suggestion that having made changes in the past to the relationship between military justice and command decisions, it’s probably time to have a look at that to make sure that lines and chains of command haven’t been unduly interfered with, that military justice is working efficiently and smoothly, and that we don’t allow things like the equity and diversity process to get in the way of the command structure or the military justice system,” Mr Smith said.

The Chief of Navy has apologised to the senior sailors who were landed in the immediate aftermath of the episode.

Defence has offered them compensation.

Mr Gyles says the decision to land them was too hasty, that the apology was appropriate but that the sailors must be called to account for their wrongdoing.

The Opposition and a Senate committee have been given an uncensored version of the report.

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