The military art of evading questions

This article states that Chloe Wootten was a Commander in early 2014, based on publications in the Navy website. Navy has since amended its website to show that Chloe Wootten was not a Commander at that time. She was promoted to ‘Temporary Commander’ in September 2015, three years and nine months after becoming a Lieutenant Commander. Navy policy is that promotion to Commander cannot occur until after four years service as a Lieutenant Commander. I have kept the original text of the article, as it explains what was known at the time based on publicly available sources.


The Vice Chief of Defence Force, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, has an interesting history.

He has been recognised by DEFGLIS as an ‘LGBT Champion’.

He gives up his busy time as 2IC of the Australian Defence Force to ‘Wear it Purple’.

He appointed Mona Shindy to be the Navy’s Islamic Advisor and allowed the hijab to become part of the uniform of the Royal Australian Navy.

Ray Griggs Mona Shindy

Ray Griggs poses with Mona Shindy before she was announced as the Telstra Businesswoman of the Year in 2015. Ray Grigg’s future wife, Chloe Wootten, was promoted rapidly and authored the article that went with this picture.

And he’s defended the more than $1 million spent by Defence on transgender surgeries and medications.

So with Griggs’ interesting background it was also interesting to read an article in The Australian this week that led to some rather interesting questions about Griggs in Senate Estimates yesterday.

The Australian’s story began with these lines:

Defence is refusing to make public a 271-page investigative report examining events associated with a change in the marital status of Australia’s second highest ranked military officer.

Vice-Admiral Ray Griggs, the Deputy Chief of Defence, separated from his wife Kerrie several years ago and in 2016 married ­fellow naval officer Chloe Wootten. Commander Wootten is the current director of communications and media for the navy. In 2014 she was a lieutenant commander and in 2015 she was promoted to commander, according to navy publications.

The Australian understands that after their separation, Vice-­Admiral Griggs’ former wife Kerrie was asked to leave navy supplied accommodation in Canberra.

That last sentence is interesting too, especially as I forgot to mention that Griggs is also an ambassador for the pro-abortion-for-any-reason-until-birth lobby group, White Ribbon. And the White Ribbon website states that this is a sign of abuse:

‘locking a woman out of the house or in the house’

I’m guessing that the ex-Mrs Griggs was probably happy to see the back of her virtue-signalling husband but, unlike the White Ribbon definitions, do not infer abuse in any way. Rather, I do believe we need a good rethink about the dollar-filled trucks that are sent by the government to organisations like White Ribbon courtesy of blokes like Griggs.

According to its ridiculous definitions, almost everything can be classified as violence against women, including buying the wrong sort of ice-cream. However, this definition of including everything does have its limits. Aborting a child just because she happens to be female is not an act of violence against women according to White Ribbon.

Anyway, Defence claims that Griggs has done nothing wrong. Indeed, the Chief of Defence Force, Air Chief Marshall Mark Binskin, told Senate Estimates that two separate inquiries were held into Griggs and both made no adverse findings.

You can watch the evidence presented below (apologies for the technical glitches in it):

However, it is not clear what these inquiries were asked to investigate and they seemingly focused on the issue of Ray Griggs’ housing entitlements after his marriage breakdown.

The Chief of Defence Force refused to answer any questions about whether Ray Griggs’ relationship with his new wife (and current Director of Communications and Media for the Navy) began while he was Chief of Navy.

The question is an important operational one and goes to the heart of confidence in the Chief of Navy’s office and its ability to effectively ensure our nation’s maritime security.

In the military, command is important and sexual relations between commanders and other Defence members (especially those in the chain of command) can (and often do) lead to tensions and conflict of interest. That’s why the Australian Defence Force has policies to prevent relationships within the command chain, as detailed briefly before Senate Estimates by the Chief of Defence Force.

One can see why questions about this relationship are being asked. And one can also wonder why they are not being answered transparently. And that’s a pity because if nothing wrong has been done it’s likely that this approach will give a far different impression.

Between 4 July 2013 and 19 November 2015, Chloe Griggs (nee Wootten) authored at least six stories for the Navy that featured her future husband prominently. There is no information publicly available about whether Griggs, who was Chief of Navy from June 2011 until June 2014, gave any direction in relation to these stories or what role Chloe Griggs may have had in other publicity provided by the Navy’s media division for Ray Griggs. No one will answer any questions about the command chain, the relationship timeline or what measures were undertaken to prevent a conflict of interest in these circumstances.

I should point out, however, that it is not uncommon for one Defence ‘partner’ to use Defence resources to promote the other ‘partner’. Let me know if you can find the example in the 14 March 2013 edition of the RAAF newspaper.

But one of Grigg’s last acts as Chief of Navy was to post this to Twitter:

And there was this earlier exchange in 2013 about the International Fleet Review:

Chloe & Ray Griggs

Chat discussion between Ray Griggs and the then Chloe Wootten on a fundraising page for ‘Ocsober’.

Furthermore, the Navy newspaper detailed that Chloe was a Lieutenant as at 13 October 2011:

13 October 2011 Chloe Griggs

Screenshot taken from the 13 October 2011 Navy newspaper showing the then Chloe Wootten held the rank of Lieutenant.

By 19 July 2012, Chloe was promoted to Lieutenant Commander:

19 July 2012 Chloe Griggs

Screenshot taken from the 19 July 2012 Navy newspaper showing the then Chloe Wootten held the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

And then she appears as a Commander on 13 January 2014:

13 January 2014 Chloe Griggs

Screenshot taken of the Navy website showing that Chloe Griggs held the rank of Commander on 13 January 2014.

That’s two promotions in two years and three months, equating to a pay rise of about $40,000 per year.

There is no information available as to who promoted Chloe or for what reasons. I make no inferences about these promotions and remind readers that two investigations have made no adverse findings.

But I was advised by an administrator of the Royal Australian Navy’s official Facebook page today that:

For promotion to Commander, four years seniority as a Lieutenant Commander is required.

Talented high-flyers might be promoted to Commander after four years. The average time is usually far longer, as demonstrated by the many biographies of Commanders on the Royal Australian Navy website where it often took a decade to achieve promotion.

Given the publicly available information in the Navy’s own newspaper and Defence’s refusal to answer questions, I would not expect this issue to go away.

And I will raise this point of comparison between Ray Griggs and Barnaby Joyce.

The former Deputy PM was rightly criticised as being hypocritical for publicly defending marriage while walking away from his own.

But the virtue signallers of the Left have no leg to stand on. They are not disappointed that those high standards were not kept. Rather they rejoice in the face of failure. There is nothing virtuous about that position at all.

Ray Griggs, on the other hand, is an LGBT champion. But are his actions hypocritical?

I think not. He has chosen to wallow in a sea without standards. His earlier marriage breakdown is not a fall from high standards but fits right in with the monogamy-is-an-optional-extra and marriage-equality-is-the-first-step-to-the-abolition-of-marriage-altogether crowd that he chooses to champion…


Here are some selected tweets from the official Twitter account of Vice Admiral Ray Griggs. It’s always interesting when an admiral speaks…

Given all all of this, one can hardly be surprised that both Liberal Senator Linda Reynolds (who wants front-line female infantry and women in NRL teams) and Labor Senator Kimberly Kitching were quite happy to see questions in Senate estimates shut down. Ray Griggs is the kind of admiral that has leftists salivating at the mouth.

Chloe & Ray Griggs Wedding

Ray and Chloe Griggs on their wedding day in 2016. Source: Facebook.


Author: Bernard Gaynor

Bernard Gaynor is a married father of nine children. He has a background in military intelligence, Arabic language and culture and is an outspoken advocate of conservative and family values.

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  1. Griggs and Shindy are two of the reasons I left the Navy after 37 years service. I subsequently moved to live in Thailand because I cannot abide the nanny state that is Australia in 2018!!

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  2. Ray Griggs is a strong supporter of traditional marriage. He loves it so much he has done it four times. Chloe is the fourth Mrs Griggs.
    Isn’t there a public interest in knowing that the VCDF is not trustworthy and is capable of betraying those closest to him?
    He did not leave his wife and then find a girlfriend. Not a case of breakdown of relationship.

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  3. What people are failing to see is “influence”. While the military talks about “Command Chains” and “Defence policy” it fails to accept responsibility of allowing a situation to occur that could / can / has influenced others.
    Lots of Australians who are together as couples are employed in the same industry media, police, finance to name a few. Yes workplace relationships exist and people act professionally but where other workers are “influenced” or feel they are being “influenced” to agree, succumb or even just ignore decisions or work practices because they believe it will impact against them. This is where it is unacceptable.
    I don’t know if this admiral had an affair and I don’t care. What is apparent is that Defence is avoiding the issue where I am sure people in either work place has felt in the least awkward if not pressured or even bullied to accept this situation.
    Mrs Griggs may be a capable professional but while her husband is the deputy of the defence force there will always be perceived “influence” which is what is unacceptable in an organisation that has a set of values and a code of conduct that contradicts this type of behaviour.

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  4. We do not know the full story of Barnaby Joyce, but I thought he does support and defends true Marriage himself.
    Just because his marriage failed does not mean he is truly a hypocrite to such at all.

    Barnaby in his position of government made it hard to go against the grain, now he is not the leader or deputy leader his hands are not tied as much and I hope now come back out with conservative points of views stronger.

    It’s just the way it is nowadays, that Satan who leads all astray is now in powered over the world and we see all this Satanic filth having such powerful influence over us all, the ADF and the Governments peddle it schools and the Church now, it’s sad to see just how nasty such Satanic degenerates get when one points out how degenerate they truly are, fact is the PC are just spoilt brats that will never listen at all, such dip sticks demand all must embrace their foolish whims and tantrums, just because they claim to be offended.
    Fact is that such does not cut it with their Political Correct bastard god that they idolise.
    History has never supported such degenerate twats like that in control, as such always fails but at what cost to society will all this childish nonsense reap ? promoting such degenerate filth, championing even abortion on demand, as being hero to do such things.
    It’s appalling to see how deluded people are nowadays. just being brainwashed sitting back floating in a sewer that the Satanic Political Correct comrades peddle day in day out.

    What gets me is this mob of PC Satanist has got so powerful and they are so underhanded, they are just like moronic thugs in forcing such depravity over all who stand up to them, yes they are totally like the Nazis and Communist were, who were glad to go about pushing people around for their delusions of brainwashed conviction.

    Why do the Political Correct mob have to go about in forcing everyone to do their bidding, fact is they are Marxist Socialist Satanic good for nothing depraved morons who are like Cain in the Bible, who could not control his ego and has to lash out.

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  5. Disgraceful..but not surprised.This sort of behaviour has been going on since Adam was enticed.It will continue.But..good news..We reap what we sow !..PS wedding photo,they don’t look too happy !!

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    • What a disaster the Navy has become, with Griggs in charge!! He runs amok with PC garbage, allowing gender changing, hijab wearing moslems……where in her early days WENT WITHOUT a hijab, no extra benefits because of ”religion’.. Promotion for his wife, twice in as many years……and yes, Cheryle Dempster, not a happy wedding snap, I’ll be betting he makes her salute him each night before bed.

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  6. Yet another ADF “Senior Sir” who has triple helpings of PC pills every morning for breakfast.
    No bloody wonder the Navy in particular – and the ADF in general – are fast going down the gurgler.

    Can’t see the well-padded Griggs even dreaming of replicating the actions of LCDR Robert William Rankin who was killed in action in the sloop HMAS Yarra on 4 March 1942 when that tiny vessel charged four large Japanese cruisers, in order to protect the three merchant ships it was escorting to Australia.

    Different times – different men.

    Rankin was a naval warrior whose focus was fighting Australia’s enemies.

    Griggs is a navel-gazer whose focus is collaborating with rainbows and islam.

    Rankin should have been awarded the VC – but wasn’t.

    Griggs should not get anything but brickbats and derision due to the PC damage he has helped inflict on the ADF – but will be showered, no doubt, with every bauble under the sun.

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    • Well said Jim from Boomba, soft times and very different from a real man leading his Navy. LCDR Robert William Rankin deserves a VC, but, sadly, Griggs and his rainbow/islam/PC/gender bending Navy, will probably get that, and more. NO trust in todays Navy, NONE at all.

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    • I should also add this observation:

      One of Michael Jackson’s most notable lines in one of his songs was “I’m a lover, not a fighter”.

      Given the extent to which Ray Griggs loves women, loves diversity, loves rainbows and loves islam – the same thing can very much be said of him.

      PS – Cheryle Dempster’s hit the nail on the head!

      That photo!

      The exquisite bliss and radiant happiness of young lovers tying the knot, and plighting-thee-my-troth-forever more until death do them part!

      Oh, the rapturous vision of pure, unadulterated love!

      Husband and wife forever and ever amen.

      Or until they decide to up sticks and move on to greener pastures.

      Which ever comes first.

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