Sacked Ballina RAAFboss wins compo


FORMER Ballina man Peter Criss has won a five-year battle for compensation from the Australian Defence Force.

Retired Air ViceMarshal Criss was sacked without warning from his post as Air Commander in the Defence Force's East Timor campaign in 2000.

He was dismissed after allegations he was a 'control freak' but was never given any other reasons for his removal or the opportunity to challenge it.

He was later forced to retire.

A statement released by the Defence Force said the mediation process had finished and Mr Criss would be awarded compensation, but the size of the payout would remain secret under a confidentiality agreement.

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However, Mr Criss has not won the apology he had sought.

"Defence acknowledges shortcomings in its handling of AVM Criss's complaints in relation to failures of administration in the handling of his removal and of subsequent investigations and appeals," the statement said.

"Defence has taken steps to reinforce the appropriate application of the principles of procedural fairness."

Mr Criss left the Northern Rivers to join the Royal Australian Air Force after graduating from Ballina High School in the 1960s.

He was also a cadet at Lismore's Air Training Corps and was awarded the Air Force Cross in 1982.

Mr Criss was named Air Commander Australia in April, 1999, making him responsible for all of the RAAF's operational squadrons and air assets, which included 10,000 people and 220 aircraft.

Opposition defence spokesman Robert McClelland said Mr Criss had waited an 'unacceptably long time' for some form of justice.

The chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, and Defence Department secretary Ric Smith said they were disappointed by the failings revealed by the handling of the matter and the amount of time taken to resolve it.

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