ADF responds on Griggs, at last
PARTNER’S PROMOTION TIMEFRAME REVEALED
The officer who had a relationship with the Vice-Chief of Defence, Ray Griggs, received a “temporary” promotion to a commander’s role in a shorter time than it would normally take to be appointed to the rank permanently.
Navy public affairs officer Chloe Griggs was appointed to the ‘’temporary’’ rank of commander in three years and nearly nine months — three months quicker than it normally takes to reach the rank on a permanent basis, Defence has revealed.
Defence detailed the promotions in answers to Senate questions released on Friday — just four days before Malcolm Turn- bull revealed that Vice-Admiral Griggs was retiring.
Vice-Admiral Griggs, who was considered a contender for the chief’s job, became the subject of secret reviews after he left his wife, Kerrie, in 2014 to start a relationship with navy public affairs officer Chloe Wootten, whom he later married.
When announcing Defence leadership changes on Monday, the Prime Minister indicated the personal situation did not have any bearing on Vice-Admiral Griggs missing out on the chief of defence role.
The role, which has not been held by a naval officer since 2002, went to Chief of Army Lieutenant General Angus Campbell.
Since February, Defence has refused to respond to questions about exactly when Chloe Griggs’s promotions occurred.
Last month, Nick Xenophon Team senator Rex Patrick queried the timing of the relationship and the promotions.
On Friday in a response to the questions, the ADF said while it did not normally release details of promotions below star rank, it would release the information, having been given the “express permission” of the individual concerned. The response said Commander Griggs received substantive promotion to lieutenant in January 2004, substantive promotion to lieutenant commander on January 1, 2012, and then substantive promotion to temporary commander on September 18, 2015, and then substantive promo- tion to commander on July 1, 2016.
Asked what the average time to rise from lieutenant commander to commander was, Defence said four years’ seniority as lieutenant commander was normally required for substantive promotion to commander.
Defence also said it was “important to note that from time to time, earlier or temporary promotions may be granted if there is a capability requirement”.
“The average time for any rank varies significantly between branches based on position availability, branch size, promotion targets and navy capability requirements,’’ the response said.
A Defence spokesman said the timing of the release of the answers was unrelated to the announcement about the change of ADF leadership.
A Defence guideline to pay rates published last year indicated a navy lieutenant commander’s salary, depending on factors such as time and qualifications, could range from $88,000 to $139,000.
A commander’s salary was from $125,000 up to $174,000.
Vice-Admiral Griggs was appointed chief of navy on June 7, 2011, and Vice-Chief of Defence on July 1, 2014.
Defence has said he was not in Commander Griggs’s chain of command at the time the relationship began and had no role in her promotions. He informed Defence bosses of his change of circumstances in October 2014.
Defence says two reviews of Vice-Admiral Griggs’s change of personal circumstances found no breaches of policy. Defence has refused to release the reviews sought by The Australian under Freedom of Information laws.
Defence couple ... Ray and Chloe Griggs