Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide formally established
Federal Member for Herbert and Afghanistan veteran Phillip Thompson has welcomed the formal establishment of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.
The Royal Commission will inquire into systemic issues and common themes related to defence and veteran death by suicide, including the possible contribution of pre-service, service, transition, separation and post-service issues, and other matters believed by the Royal Commission to be relevant to its inquiry.
“This is something the Townsville defence and veteran community has been wanting for a very long time and I’m very glad we’ve reached this milestone,” Mr Thompson said.
“We need to shine a light on where failings have happened. People aren’t dying for nothing. People are dying because of some sort of failure.
“We need this Royal Commission so that the deaths of these fathers, mothers, sons, daughters and mates aren’t in vain – but also to make sure we don’t lose any more.”
The terms of reference had been formed based on 3,000 submissions received during an extensive consultation process. The Royal Commission will be able to inquire into any previous death by suicide, including suspected suicide. It will be conducted independently of Government, including the Departments of Defence and Veterans’ Affairs.
“It’s good to see that the Royal Commission will be able to inquire into any previous death by suicide, and include suspected suicide. There’s no date range – there shouldn’t be limits on this.
“We’ve had more than 400 of our people succumb to their war within since 2001 – that’s 400 too many. This is a way we can get to the bottom of why these deaths have occurred and how more can be avoided.”
Mr Thompson said the National Commissioner into Defence and Veteran Suicide would be the permanent body to implement the Royal Commission’s recommendations.
“The Royal Commission will investigate and report, then the National Commissioner will permanently work to make real changes to our systems and cultures,” he said.
“This won’t be a one-off report at a single point in time that amounts to nothing.”
The Royal Commission is due to provide an interim report on 11 August 2022 and a final report on 15 June 2023.