ADF re­sponds on Griggs, at last

PART­NER’S PRO­MO­TION TIME­FRAME RE­VEALED

The Australian - - THE NATION - RORY CALLINAN DE­FENCE WRITER

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

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