Man holding his head in his hands

The Australian Government is establishing a Royal Commission into Defence and Veterans Suicide. It will begin no later than July of this year.

Prime Minister Morrison made the announcement in response to community calls for a national inquiry. Systemic issues faced by Australian Defence Force members and veterans too often result in loss of life to suicide.

“Suicide prevention is a key priority for the Federal Government,” the Prime Minister said.

 Prime Minister Morrisson said the Government has always acknowledged that "the rate of suicide of Australian Defence Force members and veterans is unacceptably high,”. Many veterans and current Defence force personnel are affected by their service, resulting in both physical and mental disabilities, including PTSD and depression which may lead to suicide ideation and even death or acquired disability due to suicide. 

“In recognising the sacrifices made by our serving and former members and their families on behalf of the nation, we owe it to members, veterans and their families to continue to take action.”

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester says the inquiry was another step in efforts to build confidence, trust and hope for current and future veterans and their families that they will be supported.

“This will provide an opportunity for us all to reset, further increase our understanding of this issue, and unite the Parliament, the ex-service community, and the families who have been affected by suicide,” Minister Chester said.
“As a nation, we take great pride in the men and women who have served our nation in uniform, and as a Government, we have committed to help them with any mental or physical issues that are a result of that service.”

The Attorney-General, Michaelia Cash said the Attorney-General's Department will provide administrative support to the Royal Commission.

"Reducing lives lost to suicide is a priority for the Morrison Government."
"Our aim for this Royal Commission is that it will shed light on the critical steps we need to take so that we can reduce these heartbreaking cases of suicide."

The Government intends that the Royal Commission and the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention will be established together and operate in a complementary way to achieve long-term change.

The Royal Commission will look at past deaths by suicide (including suspected suicides and lived experience of suicide risks) from a systemic point of view, while the National Commissioner will have a forward-looking role, including overseeing the implementation of the Royal Commission’s recommendations.

The National Commissioner Bill currently before the Parliament will be amended to ensure their work complements the work of the Royal Commission and examines deaths by suicide in the defence and veteran community that occur after the Royal Commission has handed down their final reportMinister Chester will lead a public consultation process on the draft Terms of Reference

Help is available. If you are affected by this topic, please reach out to the services listed.

Open Arms

Phone: 1800 011 046 (24 hours)
Web: openarms.gov.au

Lifeline

Phone: 13 11 14 (24 hours)
Web  lifeline.org.au 

IDEAS does information so you can do life.