Prime Minister announces Royal Commission into veteran suicide
Following substantial public pressure, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced his intention to recommend a Royal Commission into deaths by suicide in the veteran community.
The government has released a draft of the terms of reference, which will be consulted on over the next four weeks.
It will address the support servicemen and women receive before and after deployment, the quality of health services and issues veterans face as they transition back into civilian life such as family breakdown, housing and employment issues.
It will not investigate potential civil or criminal wrongdoing, or manner of death.
The Prime Minister stressed the earlier establishment of a National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention “remains an important reform”, and will be “complementary” with the Royal Commission.
While the Royal Commission will look retrospectively at past deaths, the National Commissioner will have a “forward-looking role”, including the unprecedented responsibility of implementing the the Royal Commission’s recommendations.
“There is no politics in this … we all want to do what is right for our veterans,” Mr Morrison said.
“I hope it will be a healing process … by which veterans and families can find some comfort.”
He also assured veterans “the Royal Commission will not be done to replace the need for ongoing work … we must continue to act now”.